Starting Sept. 24, Per Janson will take over as executive director at Opera House Arts in Stonington. PHOTO COURTESY PER JANSON

Opera House Arts hires new director

STONINGTON — Per Janson, co-founder of New York’s The Light Fantastic Theater Co., will become Opera House Arts’ new executive director, on Sept. 24. He succeeds Interim Artistic Director Peter Richards.

Janson brings 15 years of experience as a producer, director, actor and educator. Based in Brooklyn, N.Y., the Light Fantastic stages dynamic productions of classic plays to community centers, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, senior centers and other nontraditional venues.

He directed The Light Fantastic’s production of “The Glass Menagerie,” which was performed in 2017 at Opera House’s Burnt Cove Community Church venue. Janson is also known to local theatergoers for his acting roles in several productions, including “Orlando,” “R&J&Z,” “Antony and Cleopatra” and the title role of Romeo in “Romeo and Juliet.”

“Per’s deep theater experience, artistic vision, commitment to community engagement and his love for the Opera House make him a perfect fit to carry out our mission,” said board co-chairs Debbie Weil and Ray McCaskey. “We are very excited that a theater artist and manager of his caliber is taking the reins of OHA.”

Janson also has worked previously at The Public Theater, Ten Thousand Things, Trinity Repertory Co., The Guthrie Theater, Cherry Lane Theatre, Company of Fools and The Abbey Theatre in Dublin. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Grinnell College, his master’s in theatre and performance studies from Brown University and his master’s in acting from Brown University/Trinity Rep.

Janson has taught workshops at Opera House Arts and in the Deer Isle/Stonington schools, and he served recently as adjunct assistant professor of drama at CUNY: The College of Staten Island and as artist-in-residence at Grinnell College.

The Search Committee completed a five-month national search that drew several dozen candidates. Three finalists each spent two days in Stonington in July for extensive in-person interviews and conversations with staff, the Community Advisory Board and other community members.

Said Janson, “I am thrilled to be joining forces with OHA’s hard-working staff and board, Janson said. “And, with the vibrant community of Deer Isle/Stonington, as we build on OHA’s legacy of wide-ranging, high-quality, ambitious programming, and as we continue to welcome old friends as well as new audiences and artists to this unique organization.”

Richards has served as interim artistic director for six months following the resignation of Producing Artistic Director Meg Taintor in January of 2018.

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