Straus to oversee Next Stage in the interim

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PUTNEY — Billy Straus has been appointed the interim director of Next Stage Arts Project as the organization conducts a national search for a new executive director.

Straus is one of the co-founders of Next Stage and previously chaired the nonprofit's Board of Trustees. He will immediately assume operational duties for the presenting arts venue and help facilitate the leadership transition when Maria Basescu departs at the end of August for her new role as managing director of Yellow Barn.

A job description for the executive director position will be advertised in the coming weeks, with the goal of making a hire before the end of the calendar year.

Next Stage Arts Project was formed in 2010 when a group of community members recognized the potential of a former church in the village center of Putney. Next Stage now houses a 200 seat, state-of-the-art theater inside an historic, 1841 landmark building, as well as a commercial-grade community kitchen, the Next Stage Art Gallery, and additional, flexible community space. The organization now engages a range of constituents through the presentation of over 100 events annually including performing arts, music, theater, spoken word and film, in addition to educational collaborations in the community.

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