Arts Leader Profile: Meet Andie Arthur, Executive Director of the South Florida Theatre League
As Executive Director of the South Florida Theatre League, Andie Arthur’s involvement in South Florida’s theater community is all-encompassing. For more than a decade, she has continued to expand her role in that world beyond her work as leader of the League.
Arthur is also the co-founding Artistic Director of Lost Girls Theatre, a contributing editor of the nationally recognized theatre blog 2amtheatre and adjunct faculty at New World School of the Arts. She has previously served as the Florida regional representative of the Dramatists’ Guild and as a board member of the Southeast Cluster of the Unitarian Universalist Association.
In her 12 years working as Executive Director of the South Florida Theatre League, Andie has reinstated the League’s Unified Auditions, implemented audience development programs (such as Free Night of Theatre and Summer Theatre Fest), and created professional development workshops for both artists and administrators.
Arthur has a BFA in Playwriting from The Theatre School at DePaul University. Her plays have been produced by Eclectic Full Contact Theatre, Lost Girls Theatre, The Alliance Theatre Lab, Marquette University, and the Theatre School at DePaul University. She is currently working on a brand-new play for the college students at New World School of the Arts.
She sat down with Artburst Miami to chat about her current and future projects, path to leading the South Florida Theatre League and what excites her about Miami.
Artburst: Tell us about your path to becoming Executive Director of the South Florida Theatre League.
Arthur: I moved to Florida from Chicago, where I graduated with a BFA in Playwriting from The Theatre School at DePaul University. I worked at Florida Stage for a year in a variety of capacities, from house manager to dramaturg, before I landed at the South Florida Theatre League. As with many arts administrators, I started out as an artist and I’m very lucky that I’m able to continue with my artistic practice. I think there’s a tremendous value in having executive directors of arts organizations who intimately know the artistic process and have the capacity to do the traditionally administrative work.
Artburst: What do you think makes a vibrant community and what role do the arts play?
Arthur: My utopian vision of a vibrant community is one where everyone’s needs are met, and everyone feels celebrated. A vibrant community in our actual world works to get closer and closer to that ideal. An ideal artistic community would be one where no matter who you are – you have access to an artform that speaks directly to you. Miami’s creative community is actively working towards this goal, which is amazing.
Artburst: What excites you about Miami?
Arthur: Our creative community is constantly involved in regeneration and reinvention. Sometimes I’m exhausted by the constant churn of the South Florida Theatre Community, but it’s ability to reinvent itself over and over again is an amazing resiliency. Many of the theatres that were big names when I first moved down here no longer exist (Florida Stage, Caldwell Theatre, Promethean Theatre, Mosaic Theatre, and more), but many other theatre companies have sprung up in their places, doing completely different types of work. We now have Thinking Cap, New City Players, Juggerknot, Miami New Drama, and I suspect that five years from now the scene will look completely different. Instead of looking at this as a problem, I now see it as a constant cycle of rebirth and look forward to the new incarnations.
Artburst: What is something exciting you are currently working on?
Arthur: I’m in the process of writing a brand new play for the college students at New World School of the Arts. I’ve been teaching playwriting at New World for the past five years in addition to my work as executive director and I’m excited to write for my students and invite them to be a part of my creative process.
Artburst: From your perspective, how can we leverage the arts to build a more connected community?
Arthur: I think we collectively underestimate the value that performing arts have of bringing people together into a space to witness something. If I see a play, I’m having a shared experience with the actors and my fellow audience members. And that experience is a unique moment in time – if you attend a different show in the run, the chemistry of the room is completely different. In the non-profit arts world, we talk a lot about the economic impact of the arts to persuade funders, but I feel we could talk a lot more about the value of how being in a room together to witness a performance builds a community.
Learn more about the South Florida Theatre League and the work they do by visiting their website https://southfloridatheatre.org/