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STONINGTON – Opera House Arts (OHA) is pleased to announce its recent hires of Desiree Leadbetter as Development Associate and Kate Russell as Director of Communications & Engagement. Within these roles, Leadbetter and Russell will continue cultivating and nourishing relationships in the community, enabling OHA to better fulfill its mission.

“We couldn’t be more happy to have Kate and Desiree join us. Each brings unique skills and ideas that will allow us to grow, thrive, and connect with our community in new ways,” said Producing Executive Director Per Janson.

OHA Board of Directors Co-Chair Debbie Weil added, “We are especially pleased that two such highly qualified candidates have joined the Opera House team. They will both contribute so much to the success of our year-round programming.”

Leadbetter is the daughter of Jackie Pelletier, Memorial Ambulance’s paramedic, and David Pelletier, Director of Maintenance for Deer Isle-Stonington High School. She returns to Deer Isle with her young family after ten years in Portland, where she most recently worked as Office Manager for acclaimed restaurant Duck Fat. Leadbetter will work closely with OHA Director of Development, Pamela Dewell.

“You can never really leave the island. Once you have called a place like this home, it follows you everywhere and it will always call you back. It called me back. OHA embodies so much of what I love about this town: the arts are alive here, and so accessible to everyone. It’s amazing to me that I can take my whole family to see a professional live performance for under $30. That doesn’t happen everywhere,” Leadbetter said.

Russell returns to OHA after serving as the organization’s first Creative Producing Fellow in 2016-17. Most recently her company Threadbare Theatre Workshop was in residence at OHA to develop The Royal Tar, an original play devised and designed by over twenty locals under her direction last summer. OHA plans to build on her engagement work in the community, enriching the legacy of OHA as a gathering space and vibrant cultural hub for year-round families and summer visitors alike.

“I’m looking forward to upholding and expanding the mission of OHA in all the ways we communicate, as well as offering new ways for folks to engage with us, with one another, and with art,” said Russell.

About Opera House Arts

Opera House Arts, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, was originally established to restore the historic Stonington Opera House, on the National Register of Historic Places, to its original role as a center for performance and a community gathering space. Now in its 20th year, OHA produces theater, film, music and dance in both the Stonington Opera House, and on our second stage, the restored Burnt Cove Church Community Center.

Opera House Arts’ high quality, original, professional performance programs serve all of Hancock County’s winter and summer residents and visitors, of all ages, with special emphasis on the residents and students of Deer Isle and the Blue Hill Peninsula. We offer a full year-round schedule of professional theater, film, educational programs, digital media, concerts, and community events, serving as a civic gathering space rooted in the belief that access to and participation in the arts can change lives.

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