Welcoming New Leaders and Ushering in 20th Anniversary
Event to be held in the Gallery of ArtsWestchester
Westchester, NY – Axial Theatre’s annual spring benefit will be a special dual celebration this year as it welcomes the company’s new co-artistic directors, Catherine (Cat) Banks and Linda Giuliano, and ushers in a milestone year –the 20th anniversary of the professional theatre company based in Pleasantville.
The event will take place on Friday, April 6, from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Gallery of ArtsWestchester and will feature cabaret performances by Axial singers; gourmet bites and libations from Jean-Jacques Culinary Creations in Pleasantville; and a live auction featuring a luxury getaway to the Italian Riviera and a South African safari. ArtsWestchester is located at 31 Mamaroneck Avenue in White Plains.
The Banks-Giuliano duo will officially take over on September 1, 2018, the beginning of Axial’s 20th production year, joining Betsy Klampert, managing director and general counsel, as Axial’s leadership team. Howard Meyer, Axial’s founder and current artistic director, will remain the head of Howard Meyer’s Acting Program, and a member of the board.
Catherine Banks, who has performed leading roles and co-directed several Axial productions since coming to Axial three years ago, says, “Creating a theater company the caliber of Axial, nurturing it and sustaining it for 20 years takes a leader of diverse skills and irrepressible passion. It is an honor to carry on the legacy Howard Meyer has created. The original mission statement, creating collaborative, relevant and provocative theatre, is one that deeply resonates with me, and I believe that Axial will find its future by upholding these core values and beliefs in the next phase of its journey. I truly look forward to working with Linda to best interpret that mission in today’s dynamic world.”
Linda Giuliano, a playwright who is currently Axial’s literary manager and associate artistic director says, “Theatre is community. Great leaders serve. Howard has sustained 20 years of vision, theatre craft and leadership as artistic director. It is a responsibility and privilege for this role to be passed on to Catherine and me. We hope to serve the evolution of Axial’s present and future. We hope to bring stories to the stage that inspire, move and change artist, audience and our community.”
Banks began acting with her local award-winning children’s theater at the tender age of 11. Following college at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, she continued to study acting and founded her own production company, Bombshell Productions in New York City. She comes to Axial with over 20 years of high-level experience in business, having worked as senior vice president of operations for a financial services company prior to starting her own business in 2014. She is currently a member of Howard Meyer’s master class, a faculty member of the acting program where she teaches children and teens, and an Ensemble member of Axial Theatre. Banks will perform the role of Lenny in the upcoming Axial production of Beth Henley’s Crimes of the Heart this May. She appeared last fall as Audrey (one of the two leads) in Axial’s world premiere of Katie Baldwin Eng’s Nectar.
Giuliano, an Axial Ensemble member for 14 years, has had plays produced through Axial, such NYC groups as Playwrights Horizon and Midtown Festival and with companies in the U.S. and Canada. A founding member of WritersGroup, a 25-plus-year-old group of six playwrights who write, direct, produce and teach in New York and Maine, Giuliano currently runs the Sunday Writers series at Axial, as well as Axial’s staged reading series wherein new works and classics are presented at various local sites. She has worked in mental health for 34 years as a licensed clinical social worker.
Meyer notes, “After 20 years of guiding the organization, it is time to pass the baton to the capable and gifted hands of Cat and Linda. As we enter this milestone season, it is time for fresh ideas and new leadership.”
Managing Director Betsy Klampert echoes these sentiments, adding “I am thrilled to be part of this thriving theater community. Howard’s leadership has taken Axial to its 20th year and Cat and Linda will raise the curtain on another 20 years of theater magic. Stay tuned.”
The benefit’s cabaret singers will be accompanied by concert pianist Dan Forman; Axial Ensemble member Patrick McGuinness will serve as auctioneer. A silent auction also will be held.
General admission tickets for the benefit are $60, including all food, wine and other beverages.