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Olney Theatre director to bow out in '08

The Baltimore Sun

Jim Petosa, who shepherded a troupe of actors from a summer theater to a regional company with a $5.2 million budget, has announced that he will step down as artistic director of the Olney Theatre Center.

But he's not leaving until December 2008 and, even then, will remain on the board of directors.

For years, Petosa has divided his responsibilities between Olney and Boston University, where he heads the theater program.

"My life in Boston has been getting more and more complicated," Petosa said yesterday. And Olney "really needs a full-time artistic director."

Petosa joined the troupe as a director in 1979 and was appointed artistic director - technically part-time - in 1993.

He said he is most proud of the "successful transition from a summer theater ... to a mainstage, regional company."

Two years ago, Petosa played an instrumental role in a capital campaign that culminated in a new, $12 million mainstage for the Howard County arts center.

Next year, Olney will put on eight plays in its subscription series, while its touring troupe will mount works for schools in 25 states. The company will stage a Summer Shakespeare Festival, and it will produce a four-play family theater.

"The whole focus of the OTC has grown just tremendously in the past 15 years," Petosa says.

Mary Carole McCauley

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