Springer Opera House’s Paul Pierce announces stepping down

Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 12:04 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - The Springer Opera House’s longtime producing artistic director announced on Tuesday, January 24, that he is passing the torch to a new director.

Paul Pierce has been with the Springer for 35 seasons, and is one of the longest-serving theatrical producers in the country with a professional career that has spanned 46 years with more than 500 productions.

“I’ve literally spent half of my time on Planet Earth at the Springer Opera House,” Pierce points out. “Leading the Springer has been the greatest honor and joy of my life but it’s time for younger, smarter people to propel this amazing theatre into the future.”

Danielle Varner and Keith McCoy will begin their respective roles on October 1, 2023 - both familiar faces to the Springer family.

Danielle Patterson Varner will step into the CEO portion of Pierce’s duties in the role of executive producer. Varner has served the Springer for 21 years, first in sales, then development and finally as managing director. For the past six years, she has been overseeing day-to-day operations, budget tracking, board relations and historic preservation.

And as for the new artistic director - Keith Patrick McCoy is well known among local audiences, actors, designers, technicians and Springer Theatre Academy parents. Over the past 13 years, the Virginia native has served the Springer as a guest director, actor, choreographer and teacher and has become a dynamic driver of the theatre’s artistic success. Pierce brought McCoy onto his team fulltime as a resident artist and then promoted him to associate artistic director in November of 2022.

“While recognizing the foundational contributions of Paul R. Pierce to the Springer Opera House over the past 35 years and his readiness to pass the baton, the Springer Board has made carefully laid plans for his transition into retirement,” said Dr. David Levine, chairman of the Springer Board of Directors. “While we considered searching the wide world of theatredom, we found the two best qualified candidates right here among our Springer family. Danielle Varner, new Executive Producer, and Keith McCoy, new Artistic Director, bring a wealth of skill and experience to their positions, as well as a love for and connection with Columbus and the Springer.”

As for 70-year-old Pierce, he says, “I’ll sort of be the living Springer Ghost. I might even direct or perform in a show from time to time. I still have a lot of theatre in me and my love of the Springer is a lifelong commitment.”