SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — South Orange Performing Arts Center board of governors Chairperson Paul Bartick regretfully announced on Oct. 26 a change in executive leadership at SOPAC due to budgetary cutbacks brought on by COVID-19. Craig Sumberg was relieved of his duties as executive director last week. Sumberg began his tenure at SOPAC in January but by mid-March the pandemic caused entertainment venues to close their doors, resulting in a devastating loss of revenue.
“We are sorry to see Craig go,” Bartick said. “We wish him all the very best as he pursues new opportunities, and we are grateful for the steady presence he brought to SOPAC as we faced the impact of the epidemic.”
SOPAC’s director of external relations, Dee Billia, has been named acting executive director, a position she held for seven months in 2019 as well. Billia has a long history in the New Jersey arts industry, and has held positions at the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, and Appel Farm Arts and Music Center. She is a chairperson for the Jersey Arts Marketers association and has been at SOPAC for seven years.
The board of governors will start a search for a new executive director once the landscape of performing arts organizations becomes more favorable for robust programming and return of audiences to live events.