Shakeup at TPS.
Shake-up at TPS. Theatre Puget Sound

Monday night, staff at Theatre Puget Sound sent a letter to all of its board members calling for their resignation. If this is the first time you've seen the words "Theatre Puget Sound" before, you should know they're a group that advocates for regional theater and provides essential services (rehearsal space, educational opportunities, audition services) to its members.

In the letter, which was published this morning to TPS's website along with the group's whistleblower policy, interim executive director Zhenya Lavy claims that board members have "failed to fulfill [their] duties of obligation to the organization and its mission, acted outside the scope of [their] authority, acted in secrecy outside the normal mechanisms of accepted board governance." The letter has since been removed from the site. But screenshots are forever.

Screenshots are forever.

Whistleblowin in the wind.
Whistleblowin' in the wind.

Lavy also cites board members openly discussing "dissolving the organization" and considering resigning from their own posts at an April 7 meeting as evidence that they should resign.

"We stand united to inform you that we will not continue working under your governance. Should you reject this request for your resignation, we will discontinue our employment by May 7," Lavy writes.

In a Facebook post published this morning, Karen Lane, who stepped down as TPS's executive director in November 2016, also expresses her wish for the board to resign. "As a collective body this board has not been serving the mission for quite some time," she writes. "Ask them to resign."


If the board doesn't respond to the letter by April 18 at 5 p.m., Lavy threatens to "go public" with a bit of information that may provide the answer to the question on the minds of some in the Seattle theater community: WHY? How has the board acted outside the scope of their authority? In what way were they acting in secrecy? What are they being so secretive about?

I've written to Lavy and TPS board secretary Tony Beeman for comment, and I'll update this post if I hear back.

A couple bits of possibly related intrigue in the meantime:

In an e-mail apparently mistakenly forwarded to Lavy and sent to The Stranger, TPS board treasurer Jane Lynch suggests that the board was preparing to terminate Lavy.

"Allowing [Lavy] to stay continues to put the organization at risk with her conduct," Lynch writes.

Earlier this morning, TPS sent out a press release announcing a search for a new executive director.

Also this morning, Seattle theater actors and organizers showed an outpouring of support for TPS's membership programs associate, Shane Regan, who Lavy fired yesterday.

"When I hear that [Regan] was let go from his long-time position today, I'm not just angry; I am furious, not just at Theatre Puget Sound's decision, but at its lack of transparency surrounding the firing," writes Seattle Public Theatre marketing manager, Julia Nardin.


Stay tuned.