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The 5 & Dime names Bradley Akers its new Managing Artistic Director

The 5 & Dime Theatre Co. drafts Bradley Akers as its new managing artistic director. The announcement coincides with the launch of the theatre’s 10th anniversary season and the exciting things to come in 2021 and beyond.

Akers (photo by: Andrew B. Carroll)

The 5 & Dime produced three shows in 2020 before the onset of the pandemic. The board, volunteers, and staff worked diligently to keep the theatre afloat during tough financial times, help move out of the downtown location, and make plans for returning to performances in 2021. The organization’s leadership trusts Akers to lead the theatre into this new yet somewhat familiar territory.

"Everyone on The 5 & Dime Board of Directors is thrilled to have Bradley helm the theatre's promising next chapter," said Board President Denise M. Reagan. "His combination of extensive theatre experience, artistic expertise, and small business acumen gives him the perfect skill set to take on the challenges facing our beloved community organization.”

Akers is an award-winning director and designer (both graphic and technical). After attending Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, he trained as a director and stage manager in Philadelphia, returning to Jacksonville to hold positions such as communications manager, associate director, and artistic director at Players by the Sea Theatre. As a director, his credits include “The Harvest,” “The Walls,” “'night, Mother” (with The 5 & Dime), “The Last 5 Years,” “Heathers the Musical,” “Fun Home,” “The Robber Bridegroom,” “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time,” “Almost, Maine,” “AIDA,” “The Lyons,” “Into the Woods,” and “Dog Sees God.” For the past four years, Akers has served several theatres and other nonprofit organizations as the managing and creative director of Studio A.12, a marketing and graphic design studio.

“It is an honor to join The 5 & Dime in this new role and I'm grateful to the founders and board for believing in me to carry on the great work set out before us,” Akers said. “The 5 & Dime has made an extraordinary impact on this community in just 10 short years by giving artists and audiences a safe space to explore the shared experience of humanity.

“I've long admired the theatre's high artistic caliber and innovative storytelling approach. Our future includes expanding our strong commitment to collaborative artistic growth, building more fair and equitable opportunities for people that have been historically marginalized and creating safe atmospheres for artists to discover their voice and impact.”

The founders of The 5 & Dime believe this 10th anniversary season is a pivotal point for the organization and are happy about the new leadership direction. After a decade of developing relationships, staging productions, and cultivating an inclusive and diverse theatrical community, the founders are ready to take a breath and invite new ideas and fresh eyes to the family.

”I am beyond proud to pass the torch to Bradley Akers as I start my exciting new theatrical endeavors,” said outgoing Artistic Manager Lee Hamby. “His brilliantly creative mind will take The 5 & Dime to the next stop on the journey. The decision to choose Bradley as the next leader of The 5 & Dime was a no-brainer. His overwhelming passion, vision, talent, and dedication is what made it an extremely easy choice for us. I couldn’t imagine a better person for the job!”

In the coming weeks, The 5 & Dime will have a lot of news to share, including a plan to return to the stage in 2021, keeping the safety of our patrons and volunteers a top priority. To kick off the season, Akers, along Hamby and founder/board member Josh Waller, will host a special edition of The 5 & Dime Happy Hour Friday, February 5.

“I look forward to working alongside the artists, this exceptional community, the new artistic team, the founders, and the board to challenge what theatre looks like and what theatre has the opportunity to do in Jacksonville,” Akers said.

To view the full statement from Akers on his new position and his vision for the future, click here.


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