Clear Space Theatre Company Announces New Managing Director Joe Gfaller After National Search

Accomplished arts leader will relocate to Rehoboth Beach to assume new role in November 2023

Rehoboth Beach, DE (September 26, 2023) – Clear Space Theatre Company (CSTC) announces that its Board of Directors has unanimously selected Joe Gfaller, currently Managing Director for St. Louis MO’s Metro Theater Company, to join the company as Managing Director after the conclusion of a rigorous national search. Gfaller will join Artistic Director David Button as co-leader at CSTC, which marks its 20th anniversary in 2024.

“I am thrilled at the opportunity to help Clear Space Theatre Company grow its civic and philanthropic footprint as it begins a third decade of serving the community in coastal Delaware,” Gfaller shared. “Rehoboth is a special place to all who call it home, both year-round and seasonally. It is an extraordinary honor to work with such a creative and dynamic team as the CSTC staff and board to help the company grow to represent and reflect the fullness of this community. I cannot wait to begin and to get to know everyone in coastal Delaware whose energy and commitment have helped to sustain CSTC for its first 20 years. I know together, we’ll be able to bring great things to life in the decades to come.”

At Metro Theater Company (MTC), which is St. Louis’s primary professional theater for youth and families, Gfaller guided campaigns that helped grow the company’s revenues by 40% over 4 years, even in the face of the challenges of the pandemic. In addition, there, he launched MTC’s first endowment campaign, secured its largest government contract in its 50-year history, managed national research projects, grew box office revenue, and expanded programming into “arts deserts” across the St. Louis region. Prior, in marketing and development roles at the Tony Award-winning Alliance Theater, American Repertory Theater, Opera Theater of Saint Louis, and 7 Stages, he received notoriety for creative audience-building programs that welcomed new, young, and diverse audiences, out-of-state travel audiences, and national media. A case study on his Opera Tastings program was published by the Wallace Foundation and broadcast by WNYC, the New York NPR affiliate.

In volunteer roles, he has served as a leader for national networks of peers for both Theater Communications Group and Opera America. His previous board and volunteer leadership service includes work with Doorways (a St. Louis social service agency providing housing to those living with HIV/AIDS), Gateway Men’s Chorus, Webster Arts, Leadership St. Louis, LEAD Atlanta, and the Harvard Club of St. Louis. He has directed two dozen professional productions for the stage, including regional premieres by David Mamet, Caryl Churchill, Christopher Durang, Addae Moon, and others. Over his career, he has also taught as adjunct faculty at Webster University, Clark Atlanta University, and Berry College. He graduated with honors from Harvard University.

Clear Space Board chair Laura Lee Mason shared, “Joe brings a wide range of theatre experiences to the position and is sure to make an immediate impact on the company. His impressive track record and visionary leadership will undoubtedly elevate Clear Space to new heights. Joe shares our dedication to providing the community with outstanding education and theatrical experiences, and we look forward to collaborating with him to achieve those artistic aspirations”.

CSTC Artistic Director David Button shared, “I look forward to Clear Space Theatre Company’s growth alongside Joe Gfaller. Not only will Clear Space benefit from his talent, but so will the community and state arts industry as a whole. Clear Space is proud to be able to facilitate Joe’s entrance into the Delaware arts scene and I look forward to collaborating as we build our future.”

Search Committee Co-Chair John Pitchford added, “In partnership with CSTC’s Artistic Director and Board of Directors, my fellow Co-Chair Kathy Davison and I led an extremely dedicated team of Clear Space advocates and community members in the search to identify the most qualified candidate to lead the organization into its next chapter. We were beyond excited to identify and recommend Joe, who brings to this position an extraordinary toolbox of leadership experience, innovation, and creative ideas, especially in the areas of development and marketing, youth and community engagement.”

Gfaller will begin full-time in residence in Rehoboth Beach in mid-November. During an October visit for the opening of Young Frankenstein at CSTC on Oct. 13, there will be opportunities for the public to meet him during the CAMP Rehoboth Street Festival on Oct. 15. For his move, he will be joined by his husband Kraig and their two dogs, Sprout and Emmit.

About Clear Space Theatre Company

The Clear Space Theatre Company, is Delaware’s second-largest professional non-profit theater. A 501(c)3 cultural organization, CSTC was founded in 2004 and is currently located at 20 Baltimore Avenue, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971. Each year, the company produces a 10-13 production season of plays and musicals, including a summer repertory festival and a series featuring young artists. Through the Rebecca Luker Theatrical Partnership, CSTC is paving a path forward to create a more inclusive space for future arts leaders of color while honoring the company’s mission and Ms. Luker’s commitment to racial justice. The company’s Performing Arts Institute reaches students of all ages, building self-confidence, inspiring collaborative problem solving, and awakening creativity. Under the current leadership of Artistic Director David Button and Managing Director Joe Gfaller, Clear Space Theatre Company is comprised of a remarkable team of full-time, part-time, and volunteer administrators, artists, and educators.

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Delaware Division of the Arts

This organization is supported, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

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