A Thank You to Our Founders

Ten years ago, the founders of The 5 & Dime discovered a need for incredible storytelling and excellent theatre in Jacksonville’s urban core; they saw an opportunity to spark important conversations while challenging the traditionalism of theatre’s four walls.


Those founders are Caryl Butterley, Evan Gould, Judy Gould, Staci Grant, Lee Hamby, Craig Leavitt, Zeina Salame, Josh Taylor, and Josh Waller.


The success and continued support of the organization is a testament to the vision that the founders set forth. I started my journey with The 5 & Dime as an audience member, and with each production I found myself leaving the performance space moved, inspired, and ready for the next. As a young theatre artist in Jacksonville, the tenacity and bravery of this young theatre company showed me that anything was possible.


As we prepare to move into the next phase of our existence, I’d be a fool not to take a moment and express my sincerest gratitude to each of the founders. It is an honor to carry on their vision and continue creating a space for artists and patrons in Jacksonville to discover just how powerful our art form can be.


Fast forward to now...


When Zeina Salame, Josh Waller, Evan Gould, Craig Leavitt, and Lee Hamby first approached me to begin the passing of the torch, I could feel (through the computer screen) that they had the same love and passion for The 5 & Dime as they did ten years ago. I want to thank them for ensuring a smooth and efficient transition by creating an atmosphere that felt safe to chase new opportunities and amplify new voices. And while the transition of leadership is in full swing, it's comforting to know that they will still be around to share their insight and lend a hand in the next chapter of our story.


Finally, I want to give an extra special thanks to Lee Hamby who, along with being a founding member, served as the organization’s first Managing Director. Most reading this know how much he gave to The 5 & Dime over the past ten years, wearing so many different hats to make these productions come to life. I hope I can carry on the same energy and enthusiasm that he brought to the organization. And I thank him for being such a wonderful, guiding light — during my time as a director and graphic designer for The 5 & Dime and especially now. He will be missed, but he is always bound for greatness. Be sure to follow his exciting new journeys ahead!

Bradley Akers

Managing Artistic Director

The 5 & Dime