UPDATED: Strange resigns from Turnage-AOP, stays on as consultant

Published 1:10 pm Friday, March 24, 2023

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Beth Strange announced her resignation as executive director of the Turnage Theatre/Arts of the Pamlico (AOP) on Wednesday, March 22; however, she’s taken a role as a business strategy consultant for the organization. 

Her reason for transitioning into a different role is “timing.” She felt it was the right time to “pass the baton” to another person to be the executive director. 

“It’s a good time now, because I’ve accomplished what the [AOP Board of Directors] brought me in to do,” Strange said. Now, she’s able to pursue other professional opportunities, to spend some time with family and take time to enjoy the beach, she said.   

According to Strange, in nine months she was able to accomplish her responsibilities as executive director which were to create sustainable business and financial models. 

According to Strange, the Turnage Theatre/Arts of the Pamlico sold more than 6,000 tickets for an increase of 808%; increased earned revenue by 730%; developed sustainable business and financial models, completed improvements to the historic theater building; created and developed a credentialed and skilled staff; hosted over 100 ticketed and free events, showcased local visual and performing artists and booked multiple Grammy Award winning and internationally acclaimed performers. 

For context, in a seven months-over-seven months comparison, the Turnage sold 661 tickets for $18,000 in earned revenue. After Strange was hired last June, the Turnage sold 6,000 tickets for $154,000 in earned revenue. 

During the interview, the Turnage/AOP is projected to sell closer to 7,000 tickets and its upcoming show, “Motortown All-Stars” is on track to sell out, she said. Since last June, the Turnage has held multiple sold out shows including but not limited to an Ultimate Variety Show with performers from Las Vegas, a concert by the Glenn Miller Orchestra, a concert by the Embers and a performance by Elvis Presley tribute artist Stephen Freeman. 

Strange said it wasn’t surprising that she was able to make those achievements. “I’ve always worked hard and I always go big. Am I surprised? No, I am not surprised. The staff and I worked really, really hard.” 

In her new role as a business strategy consultant she will work with the AOP Board of Directors to “ensure AOP and the Turnage continue in the right direction,” she said. 

Current AOP Board Chair, Joan Gayle Watson “is the right person to be leading at the helm at this time,” Strange said. “As I work with her in a consulting role, The Turnage will not miss a step, a beat in this transition.” 

She will also work closely with the new executive director, even assisting the Arts of the Pamlico Board of Directors with selecting her replacement. At this time, Strange does not know when the Board will choose a new executive director. 

Strange has three pieces of advice for the person who will assume her former role. “Number one, keep their eyes on the business strategy. If there’s no money, there’s no mission. That’s what makes everything happen. Number two, get ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work. Most of all, seek the joy every day.” 

Reflecting on her experience being executive director for the Turnage Theatre/AOP, Strange said it was a “joy and delight every day.” She added that it was “intense work,” because she clocked more than 60 hours per week. She attributes her long hours to being a highly detailed person and having to do “a lot of course-correcting” with assistance from her “exceptional” staff.  

“It was a labor of love,” Strange said, “but very joyful and intense at the same time.” 

In June of last year, Strange succeeded Virginia Finnerty as executive director. Strange was tasked with engaging the AOP’s Board of Directors and community to form a “progressive Strategic Plan,” an AOP press release announced last year when she was hired. 

“Beth has spent 25 years assisting high-profile and emerging corporations, academic institutions, groups, and individuals in defining and refining their businesses and presence by applying proven principles in strategic management, reputation, brand, public relations, and image management. In addition, she is an internationally Certified Image Professional and Brand Analyst with extensive certifications, education, and experience in Presence Management industries,” the press release shared. 

Strange and her husband Michael moved to Washington three years ago. They have lived in North Carolina for more than 10 years.