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story.lead_photo.caption Courtesy Photo Joanna Bell says she looks forward to forging new directions with TheatreSquared in her position as director of marketing and communications.

"We were blown away by the interest, from here and across the country, in joining the T2 leadership team," says Martin Miller, executive director of TheatreSquared. "We had more than 70 candidates apply, many deeply experienced."

The professional company welcomed Joanna Bell to the position of director of marketing and communications at the beginning of October. Bell has a Master of Arts in arts administration and nonprofit management from New York City's Columbia University and most recently worked as the director of programs for the American Theatre Wing.

"Joanna stood out in our conversations because she always had something incisive to add -- a new insight or approach that we hadn't considered," Miller says. "Given that, along with her experience helping to lead one of the most high-profile organizations in American theater, her national network of artist and producer relationships, and her excitement about what's happening here in Northwest Arkansas -- it was a perfect fit. We're very lucky to have her."

"I had been working in theater in Washington, D.C., and I decided I needed a little more education so that I could be of more use in the regional theater industry," says Bell, who adds that she landed an internship at the American Theatre Wing that turned into a permanent position upon graduation. "In my decade in New York City, though, I was always looking for an opportunity to invest again in the regional theater scene."

Bell says TheatreSquared first came to her attention when they were the recipients of a American Theatre Wing 2011 National Theatre Company Grant. According to the American Theatre Wing's website, these grants are earmarked for regional theater companies "that innovate and shape their local community through the performing arts."

"One of the things that I loved about working for the American Theatre Wing is the national focus of the organization, even though we were based in New York City," says Bell. "I've been following TheatreSquared for about six years -- I was aware of the works that were being done here, and how unprecedented it was." Bell says when TheatreSquared was chosen to be one of the theaters featured in the American Theatre Wing's documentary series "Working in the Theatre," she got an even closer look at what the theater -- and the area -- offered.

"We had asked the National Endowment for the Arts to give us examples of really amazing theater work going on across the country, and TheatreSquared was on their list," she says. "When I saw the footage, and learned more about Fayetteville, I saw the intersection of the work and the community."

Bell says she's excited about playing a part in TheatreSquared's continued growth.

"There are other regional theater markets that are crowded, but here, we're poised to grow a new audience and change what regional theater looks like," she says. "We have a lot going on, which is really exciting -- the capital campaign, and the new space. I want to make sure I can do whatever I can to make sure that the new space is accessible to all of the community, that the community knows what's happening in that space, and I'm really focusing on creating a true regional reach for the theater, making it sort of a center, a hub, for Northwest Arkansas."

NAN What's Up on 11/26/2017

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