Theatre Projects believes in reaching beyond the brick and mortar. Our firm, primarily known for space and technology design, has reimagined its services in recent years to heighten focus on AV and strategic planning. Strategic planning, notably, has seen tremendous success, forging stronger connections between us and the communities that make our venues thrive.
“Attentively understanding how venues live and breathe leads us to ask the right questions in the right way. This is critical during the planning and design process,” says Gena Buhler, head of strategic planning. “From firsthand experience, our planning team understands what it means to overcome challenges and to succeed in spaces, whether large or small. As recent venue managers and executives, environmental sustainability stewards, artistic programmers, and community collaborators, we focus on engaging with our clients in meaningful and experience-centric ways, acting—as many clients have put it—as ‘their people’ at the planning table.”
After just two-and-a-half years with us, Gena has been recently promoted to associate principal—a testament to the dynamic growth of her department and her vision for a company that serves the diverse ecosystem of venues across North America.
Gena is a venue management professional with far-reaching experience in executive leadership, artistic programming, event planning, operational logistics, festival and program development, community engagement, project visioning, needs assessment, feasibility analysis, management consulting, and more. She offers clear insight into local need, measured growth, sustainability, and operational impact, and she has helped our firm continue its approach to life-long client relationships. “We work at the early stages of the renovation, expansion, or new construction planning processes and beyond, engaging with partners through operational support, management coaching, staff training, artistic programming, and more,” adds Gena.
“Gena’s unforeseen success and the growth of her team is a result of Gena’s passion and her ability to understand clients’ needs,” says Daniel Ordower, Theatre Projects general manager. “It also comes from her willingness to listen to and genuinely hear clients’ concerns and to work with them to develop solutions that specifically work for the stakeholders and their communities.”
Gena’s transition to associate principal comes on the heels of other exciting advances for her team. This summer, strategic planning brought senior consultant Ashley Keen on board. Ashley joined us after ten years in various operational roles with the Mesa Arts Center in Arizona. A venue and service industry professional with experience in theatrical production, events, and design, Ashley focuses her expertise on developing plans for small to mid-size organizations, municipal venues, and hospitality-based venues.
To enforce the importance of sustainability in the arts, senior consultant Molly Braverman also recently joined the team. Molly is currently the director of the Broadway Green Alliance, a Broadway stage manager, a former theatre company managing director, and a globally recruited speaker on the subject of sustainable theatre.
“I am focused on working at the intersection of arts and social change,” Molly shared, “and I look forward to bringing this passion to Theatre Projects, a company committed to sustainability and the holistic support of cultural spaces.”
Daniel also extends his services to the strategic planning team. He carries experience as general manager and CFO with Pilobolus, as COO/CFO with an experiential marketing agency, and as the owner of a theatrical lighting and technical management company. Daniel further works on strategy with non-profit boards to support communities with disabilities and to seize opportunities for inclusion and access. All of this, coupled with his theatrical design background and law degree, makes him a valued asset in a broad range of client conversations.
As we continue to partner with organizations and venues at different stages in their lifecycle, strategic planning looks to provide real-world and realistic planning support, while understanding that communities require researched, data-specific recommendations—local, custom solutions crafted alongside each partner.
“As a former Theatre Projects client, I came to value a consultancy with first-hand experience engaging with the same struggles and opportunities as the venue’s staff, artists, and community. Moving from venue management to consulting has allowed us to offer this same level of real-world experience and support, as a unified voice,” notes Gena. “Challenging the status quo, finding opportunities to better engage communities, and creating welcoming, accessible, and thriving spaces and programs are all at the forefront of our vision for the future.”
Theatre Projects strategic planning team (L-R: Daniel Ordower, Ashley Keen, Molly Braverman, and Gena Buhler)