Whidbey Children’s Theater announced a succession in artistic leadership for the youth theater. Current Artistic Director Rose Woods has given formal notice that she will step down as artistic director of Whidbey Children’s Theater in March 2013 to pursue a place with the Island Shakespeare Festival.
“I feel it’s a part of a leader’s responsibility to look to the long-term of an organization you’re asked to lead,” Woods said in a press release, adding that succession has been in her thoughts for awhile.
Toward that end, Woods recommended Kenneth Martinez to the board as a highly qualified successor. After a thorough review, the board voted unanimously to hire Martinez as interim artistic director.
“Ken has become a familiar face here at WCT since he took to the stage in ‘Little Women,’” Woods said. “His first directing assignment, ‘Winnie the Pooh,’ was a clear hit with audiences, and as he continued as assistant director of ‘Snow White,’ the kids here — and their parents — grew to love and trust him as I have.”
Martinez has a history as an experienced performer, director, designer, administrator and educator. Martinez made his performing debut in a parks and recreation show at age 6. Since that time, he has accrued scores of performing credits in plays and musicals throughout Southern California and in Western Washington; he has also performed with a variety of vocal groups, from choruses to professional Christmas caroling groups.
“In the past year,” Martinez said, “as I have become deeply involved with Whidbey Children’s Theater,
I have come to know what a unique and priceless place it holds in the education, development and culture of our community.”
“Working with the community, parents and children to continue to provide the essential experiences already in place, and to carry that vision forward for a new generation of South Whidbey children, will be both a creatively stimulating and deeply satisfying professional challenge,” Martinez added.
Martinez will be directing the WCT production “Willy Wonka” during October and November and will work side-by side with Woods before assuming the artistic director role upon Woods’ departure in late February.
Woods said her departure is bittersweet.
“I have uncountable joys and memories these past years,” she said. “I’ve been excited to witness continued growth with the children and their families as well as a newfound appreciation and enthusiasm in the community for WCT. I think there is much more richness and joy ahead as WCT continues to grow and thrive.”
Woods has offered to return to Whidbey Children’s Theater on a project basis as a guest director and instructor. She will also join the Advisory Board of Whidbey Children’s Theater.