Sunday, July 28, 2013

Scottish Rite Theatre Fires Emily Marks, Cuts Short Charlotte's Web

Following is the Statesman article of July 26, only 79 words of which are available outside the www.mystatesman. subscriber pay wall:

Austin Statesman


Shows canceled, camps moved amid leadership changes at Scottish Rite Theater

By Andrea Ball, American-Statesman Staff

‍Scottish ‍Rite Theater fired its executive director this week, forcing the group to cancel eight performances and throwing into question the fate of its summer camps.

Emily Marks, who served as the group’s leader and artistic director since January 2012, was terminated by the board of directors Tuesday. Since then, the board has canceled its remaining performances of “Charlotte’s Web.” The ticketing agent has been contacted and all customers will get their money back, said board President Todd Smith.

Meanwhile the summer camps have been disrupted. Girls Thrive Theater has been relocated to the Salvage Vanguard Theater, Marks said. Arrangements are not yet made for Puppet Pandemonium.
Marks — who also did not publicly discuss the reasons behind her departure — said she is proud of the work she did at the nonprofit. Before working at the theater, Marks founded Girls Rock Austin, a nonprofit focused on female empowerment through music.

“I am incredibly proud of the work our team accomplished at the ‍Scottish ‍Rite Theater,” she said. “We have served over 12,000 children since January 2012. I am incredibly grateful to the original board and organizational infrastructure for hiring me, and remain proud of the excellent programming we provided in an incredible space.”

Smith also declined to comment on Marks’ firing.

“The ‍Scottish Theater has a long history of providing quality child programming over the years and it is our intention to continue providing high-quality, wholesome entertainment for children and their families,” Smith said.

The theater was built in the late 1800s and was purchased more than 100 years ago by the Austin ‍Scottish ‍Rite fraternity, which started the children’s theater in 2004 as a family programming venue.
Although the organization was created by the ‍Scottish ‍Rite, the theater is an independent nonprofit with an annual budget of about $300,000.

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