Whidbey Children’s Theater Executive Director Cait Cassée is stepping down from her role after four years at the helm of the Langley-based non-profit organization.
The theater will reshuffle its administrative structure by replacing her with two current staff members, operations manager Ann Johnson and program and production manager Kathryn Lynn Morgen. Johnson will assume duties as managing director to deal with the administrative side of operations, while Morgen will take up the artistic director role.
Cassée said she was leaving her role as executive director to spend more time with her family and focus on her health. She plans to stay involved with Whidbey Children’s Theater as a volunteer, in order to help direct plays and help with stage set up when needed.
“It feels like the right time to me,” Cassée said. “One of the things that I’m really excited about is the team at Whidbey Children’s Theater is so strong, capable and full of good ideas.”
In addition to staying on as a volunteer, Cassée will act as a resource for the theater’s youth.
“I want to continue to do the things I was able to do before I was on the board as an executive,” Cassée said. “I’m not going to be officially connected to the organization, but I’ve been asked to be available for consultation.”
Under Cassée’s leadership, Whidbey Children’s Theater underwent sizable transformations. After years of struggling with finances, the theater signed a lease agreement with South Whidbey School District to utilize Langley Middle School’s auditorium. The move not only lowered expenditures for the theater but provided a solution to the budget cuts that dissolved most of the middle school’s arts programs.
The two replacing Cassée, Johnson and Morgen, are ready for what Morgen called a natural transition. The two think of things the other doesn’t, and are ready to sustain the healthy position Cassée left the organization in, Morgen said.
“I view Ann and I as the left and right brain,” Morgen said. “I’m the creative half and she’s the logistical half. It works, and it’s worked well during the time I’ve been here.”
Cassée is confident the two will seamlessly fill the void. The difference, she said, is that they not only are capable of doing the job, but they want to do it. Nonetheless, leaving the theater after eight years is difficult, said Cassée.
“I’ve loved every minute of it and these kids are like my own children,” Cassée said. “I’m so proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish here and I couldn’t have done it without them.”