Richard St. Peter is no longer working as the artistic director of Actors Guild of Lexington.
Two weeks ago, St. Peter had announced he was resigning and would leave by the end of the forthcoming season to work on a doctorate in theater. But Friday afternoon, St. Peter said that the financial strain of working without pay and the prospect of being a lame-duck director prompted him to go ahead and leave the organization.
He also said he believed removing his approximately $45,000 annual salary from the theater’s financial picture might help it recover from a loss of funding from LexArts. In June, the united arts fund declined to give the theater an annual allocation for general operating funds, citing concerns about the theater’s ongoing financial difficulties.
“I’ve got kids, and I need to find work,” said St. Peter, who said he has only received one partial paycheck since July 1.
Actors Guild board president Jennifer Miller said two weeks ago that theater employees had been working without pay so the theater could concentrate on settling accounts with outside vendors and other creditors.
In addition to St. Peter’s departure, which St. Peter said the board approved Monday, Actors Guild also lost Bo List as the director of its season-opening production, Beguiled Again, a show based on the music of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. List said in an e-mail, “the agreed-upon terms of my employment were changed dramatically after I began my work in a manner that was unsatisfactory.”
List has been replaced by Stephen Currens, a Lexingtonian who enjoyed Off-Broadway success with Gorey Stories, a musical based on the illustrations of Edward Gorey. He appeared in last season’s AGL production of The Fantasticks.
Beguiled Again has been moved back to Sept. 24-Oct. 11, and AGL associate artistic director Eric Ryan Seale said he is looking at how the date change will affect the remainder of AGL’s season. Seale said that the original dates had been set to accommodate an out-of-town director who had to bow out before List took on the show, and that the date change was partially responsible for List having to bow out.
List said, “I hope that Beguiled Again is the success that AGL needs right now and my best wishes are with the company.”
St. Peter is scheduled to direct Actors Guild’s second production, David Hare’s The Vertical Hour, and he said he still plans to do that.
St. Peter’s departure leaves Seale and AGL managing director Kim Shaw running the company. Despite the challenging nature of the theater, both said they were upbeat.
“Everybody has been picking up the slack,” Shaw said Friday afternoon. “Our first priority is to get Beguiled Again up.”
Seale said, “This is probably going to sound crazy, but I feel pretty good. I’m used to the catastrophe curve of theater, and I have a new office here on Manchester Street, and I like coming in to work every day.
“If people are willing to bear with this initial season postponement and any other season adjustments, we’re going to be fine.”