A headshot picture of a white woman with long brown hair wearing a grey sweater over a black shirt.

[Seattle, Wash., March 31, 2022]— Book-It Repertory Theatre (Book-It) and its Board of Trustees are pleased to announce Jeannine Clarke (she/her) as the company’s new Managing Director. This decision is the culmination of a five-month intentional search process to find and develop a cross-functional leader with the creativity and management experience to direct the organization at an ever-changing time in the theatre world.

Ms. Clarke joined the Book-It staff as Director of Development in 2019, having to quickly adapt to a changing global landscape as she began this new role. Her deep experience and expertise in theatre fundraising and administration enabled her to raise almost $400,000 in response to the onset of the COVID crisis, ensuring that Book-It could remain operational, retain staff, and support the shift to producing audio dramas for the first time. Moreover, Jeannine brings a life-long love of theatre and 20 years of nonprofit arts experience to her new position with Book-It. She has previously worked with Jet City Improv, Northwest Girlchoir, and Village Theatre, where she oversaw $1.1 million in annual fund donations and fundraising events. She holds a BA in Drama from the University of Washington, from where she also received a Business Administration Certificate in 2020. Jeannine has also been a professional improviser for 15 years and is a current cast member at Unexpected Productions in Pike Place Market.

“We so appreciate the work she has done for Book-It over the last two and a half years,” says Board President Christine Stepherson (she/her). “Jeannine’s leadership of the development team and ability to take development to an entirely new level has shown us a lot of what she can do. We greatly appreciated her thinking about stewarding the organization as we recover from the pandemic. We value her resilience, problem-solving skills, deep knowledge of theater production processes and community and, of course, her passion around theatre and literature.”

Ms. Clarke takes the reigns of the theatre’s administrative functions from outgoing Managing Director Kayti Barnett-O’Brien (she/her). Ms. Barnett-O’Brien came to Book-It first as General Manager in 2015, transitioning to Managing Director in 2017 and leading the organization through the new Artistic Director search in 2019 and the pandemic crisis since 2020. “I had the honor of hiring Kayti,” says former Board President Stuart Frank (he/him). “She joined Book-It at a pivotal time, stepped into a bigger job than expected and rose to the challenge. After six years leading Book-It, Kayti leaves a legacy of leadership, sacrifice and growth. She’s made a huge impact and will be missed.  We are proud to have had her and wish her all the best for the future, which is very bright.”

As Book-It opens its first in-person show since the pandemic began, the company is poised to utilize this time of organizational, industry and global change to evaluate its company structures and processes. This work is an extension of the reevaluations began when Artistic Director Gus Menary (he/him) came on board in 2020.

“Though this is an exciting time in American theatre, we, as a field, are emerging from the pandemic at reduced capacity, experiencing smaller audiences, and recognizing systemic inequities baked into the foundations of our industry that need to be addressed and changed,” Menary remarked. “I look forward to partnering with Jeannine on solidifying Book-It as a stalwart of the Seattle theatre scene, committed to great art that is equitable and inclusive. Jeannine has continued to show her personal and professional commitment to this work, and I can’t wait to move forward in artistic and community partnership with her.”

Book-It is currently in its 32 season, having opened “Mrs. Caliban,” by Rachel Ingalls, on March 23, beginning rehearsals for Amy Tan’s “The Bonesetter’s Daughter” in the coming weeks and finishing the season with the COVID-postponed production of “Beowulf” in July.

Book-It Repertory Theatre, founded in 1990, is a non-profit organization with over 150 original adaptations to its name. Its mission is to transform great literature into great theatre, through simple and sensitive production, and to inspire its audiences to read.