AURORA | Charles Packard, executive producer at the Aurora Fox Arts Center for the past eight years and a mainstay of the East Colfax theater for nearly two decades as both an artist and an executive, has stepped down from his post, according to a blog post on the Fox’s website.
Abraham Morales, spokesman for the city, confirmed Packard’s resignation in an emailed statement Tuesday afternoon.
In a blog post on the Fox’s website, Packard spoke of being burnt out, and needing time to “recharge.”
“I have grown tired, then exhausted and it has come time to close,” he wrote. “In the 19 years I’ve been at the Fox we have had a few failures, many successes and tremendous growth. The audience has changed and the neighborhood has changed. I have grown as an artist.
“I will be spending the next few months ‘in the sandwich.’ My parents are aging and my kids are growing fast. I will be with them while my artistic and public servant batteries recharge.”
Packard did not immediately return a request for comment.
A native of Detroit, Packard first came to the Fox as a contractor in 1998. He signed on as the theater’s executive producer and manager in early 2009.
Packard wrote in his May 23 post that the city has yet to tab a successor to fill his role. Morales said that the city will quickly begin a national search to fill The Fox’s top job, and that Gary Margolis, cultural services manager with the city, will serve as the theater’s interim executive producer.
The theater’s 32nd season, which closes this weekend with the final performance of “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,” has been a wobbly one, marked by both peaks and valleys. Late last year, The Fox’s adaptation of “The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess,” attracted 3,066 attendees and netted $62,829 in revenue, according to city budget documents. Packard said that was the most successful show in the theater’s history.
Later in the season, the theater’s world premier of “Myth” by local playwright Charles Wefso hit a hiccup after lead actor Jack Casperson suffered a knee injury on set. Several months later, Packard was forced to delay the opening weekend of “Priscilla” due to safety issues with the set.
All of that is underscored by the fact that theater was budgeted to receive about $80,000 less from the city’s general fund this year. The Fox’s budget was slated to shrink from $977,951 in 2016 to $888,626 in 2017, according to budget documents presented at a recent city council workshop.The city contribution was budgeted to dwindle from $469,324 last year to $390,626 this year.
Originally operated as movie theater, the Fox was built in 1947 and purchased by the city for $150,00 in 1983.