Center Stage officials announced Tuesday that they have hired a new managing director with impressive credentials as a fundraiser — Stephen J. Richard, who planned and managed the recent $125 million campaign to renovate Arena Stage in Washington.

Artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah will continue to determine the company's overall vision onstage and off, while Richard will be in charge of the management, fundraising and organizational responsibilities that can make those ideas reality. Both men will report directly to the board of trustees.

Richard spent the bulk of his career, 18 years, as Arena Stage's executive director. The campaign that he headed transformed the space housing one of the nation's flagship troupes into the Mead Center for American Theatre, and was one of the largest and most ambitious theater renovation projects ever undertaken in the U.S.

"We never expected to get someone with his level of fundraising expertise," says Jay Smith, president of Center Stage's board of trustees. "Stephen is the ideal partner for Kwame. We are very confident that we have two leaders who will work together for the benefit of Center Stage."

Currently, Richard is vice president for external relations at the new National Children's Museum in Prince George's County, and also teaches at Georgetown and George Mason universities. He begins his new job in Baltimore on March 1.

mary.mccauley@baltsun.com

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