Lutcher Theater names new Managing Director as former director retires

Published 11:07 am Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Special to the Leader

For 28 years, Jim Clark has greeted Lutcher Theater patrons in the lobby as they gathered to experience performing arts events together. On April 15, 2017, Clark presented the National Tour of ONCE as his “finale” at the Lutcher and exited to begin retirement.

Jim Clark began his professional career as a high school educator. His theater administration work began at Lyric Theatre, a professional Summer Stock theater in Oklahoma City in 1980 after receiving his Master of Performing Arts at Oklahoma City University. He also worked at the Perot Theatre in Texarkana and as Managing Director at the Bartlesville Community Center in Oklahoma, before beginning his role as Managing Director at the Lutcher Theater in 1989.

Clark was highly instrumental in building a Performing Arts Series and Lutcher Theater brand establishing the Orange, Texas performing arts center as the prominent presenter of Broadway, dance, theater and performing artists for Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana. He also established the Lutcher Incredible Kids Events Series, which brings between 15,000-18,000 kids to the Lutcher each year to see a daytime performance produced by national and internationally renowned professional companies. Through the years, a total of 378,185 kids have attended daytime performances at the Lutcher.

Clark worked tirelessly to promote the arts in Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana and has done much to actualize the mission of the Lutcher Theater to present professional entertainment for the enlightenment of people living in the region. Lutcher Theater Inc. is a Program of the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation and both have benefitted considerably from the dedication and service of Jim Clark.

Clark is succeeded as Managing Director by Lynae Sanford. Sanford grew up in Orange, Texas and attended Lamar University where she obtained her Bachelor of Science Degree in Speech Communication and Theater, with a minor in Education. She also holds a Masters Degree in Theater, from Lamar University.

Sanford began her professional career in sales and marketing, but has continued to work in the theater throughout the years, directing and performing in productions at church and in the community. She has taught Speech and Theater on the junior high, high school and collegiate levels, having taught for 8 years with the Lamar University Speech and Theater Departments before joining the Lutcher Theater team as Marketing Manager in August of 2009.

From December 2015 to April 2016, she served as Marketing Manager for all the Stark Cultural Venues, including the Lutcher Theater, Stark Museum of Art, The W.H. Stark House and Shangri La Gardens. She began her new position as Lutcher Theater Managing Director, April 16, 2017.

“I am so honored to have the opportunity to step into the role of Lutcher Theater Managing Director, following in the footsteps of Jim Clark,” Sanford said. “Jim has been a great mentor and dear friend to all the Lutcher staff. There is no way I can fill his shoes, but I’ll do my best to fill mine as I stand next to where he did for 28 years. Jim always said, “I’ll see you in the lobby!” And I hope to see you there too!”

The Lutcher Theater is a 1450-seat, state-of-the-art, world-class performing arts facility and the prominent presenter of Broadway, national and international tours, award-winning artists, renowned dance and acclaimed children’s performances for Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana. The Lutcher presents the largest performing arts series between Houston, TX and New Orleans, LA.