Adam Wagner is leaving his role as the first executive director of the Twilight Theatre, feeling like he accomplished what the community needed him to do.
Wagner tendered his resignation to the theater’s board of directors in December. His last official day with the Twilight is scheduled to be January 15.
“There are some personal wishes that will go unfulfilled, but ultimately my job was to assess what the community wanted, what resources were available and make decisions based on the facts. That assessment, for better or worse, led me to believe it was time to move on. It was also time for me to make a conscious effort to find balance between personal needs and the needs of my employment.”
He is happy to add to his resume that he opened a $3.6 million facility ahead of schedule with a profitable first year, implemented programs and policies and trained the board on non-profit standards.
Ki Gamble, president of the board, said, “We were very fortunate to get Adam when we got him and he did a great job getting us up and going and managing the theater and he worked his tail off.”
Wagner originally entered the entertainment industry on the performance side. He attended the University of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music on a full ride scholarship. He spent his early twenties in New York City where he worked as a professional actor, studied privately with Broadway composers and produced his own concerts showcasing his songwriting.
“I don’t know that I had one clue what I was going to do with my career when I graduated from college,” he said. “I spent five years in New York City pursuing the artistic side of my brain, but didn’t pay much attention to the analytical and strategic side. My curiosity about the mechanics of how productions get produced and how entertainment reaches people led me to a more administrative career.”
Prior to coming to Kansas, Wagner worked as director of the Grandstreet Theatre in Helena, Montana and the Cherry Creek Theatre in the Denver, Colorado area.
Wagner arrived in Greensburg in 2014 on the seventh anniversary of the May 7, 2007 tornado.
“He was absolutely the right person to get our doors open in April of 2015,” said Twilight board member Kim McMurry. “We were fortunate that he was interested in coming to Greensburg. It was a huge undertaking to get the theater operational, and his expertise was invaluable.”
As executive director of the Twilight, Wagner has emphasized that its mission statement includes the performing arts and education. He has promoted such events as discussions after educational films, behind-the-scenes looks at touring groups and acting classes.
“People can watch a movie anywhere, but to engage in conversation, learn a new skill or challenge one’s beliefs and assumptions by experiencing another culture – this is the Twilight’s mission,” Wagner said. Mike McBeath, IT director and projectionist at the Twilight, will step in as interim director until the board hires a new director. He talked about how Wagner helped establish partnerships between the theater and the Kiowa County Media Center and 5.4.7 Arts Center.
“The connections he built are long lasting,” he said.