Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Playhouse on the Square Founder Steps Down Following Sexual Misconduct Investigation

Posted By on Tue, Mar 13, 2018 at 2:21 PM

click to enlarge Jackie Nichols - JUSTIN FOX BURKS
  • Justin Fox Burks
  • Jackie Nichols
Playhouse on the Square founder and executive producer Jackie Nichols has retired* following an investigation into sexual misconduct according to a report by The Commercial Appeal.

Nichols' statement of retirement:

"My colleagues and I founded this company 49 years ago because we loved great theatre and we believed that our hometown of Memphis deserved a place where great theatre would thrive. In the last several decades, Playhouse on the Square has evolved from this simple notion into one of the most successful performing arts organizations in the country, with annual gross revenues approaching $3-million and more than 40,000 audience members attending our 16 yearly productions. Our education and professional training programs have given rise to multiple generations of performers, designers, administrators, and artists of all disciplines. From our home in Overton Square, we have driven a modern renaissance of Midtown and now anchor one of the most successful economic and community development projects of the last several years. I am proud of what we have built together.

Several years ago, I began a discussion with my family about what the next chapter of my career might include. My mentor and friend Andrew Clarkson believed that all of us have an obligation to 'learn, earn, and return;' that is, we should work hard to learn as much as we can about our chosen career path, make an honest living in that field, and then give back to the communities that make our success possible. I have reached the point in my life where it is important to me to share the insights I've gained and lessons I've learned with my colleagues and peers so that I may contribute to the professions that have given me so much happiness and fulfillment. Therefore, today I am resigning my position as Executive Producer of Playhouse on the Square so that I may devote my full energies and attention to consulting for the arts and nonprofit sectors.

I am more excited about where Memphis and its amazing arts community are going than I have ever been. I look forward to doing whatever I can to continue that momentum and I am excited about what the future holds... Thank you for the opportunity you have given me to serve, and for the many incredible moments — onstage and offstage — that we have shared together."

The Flyer has been following this story from the beginning. We've interviewed some of the people who spoke to the investigator and will have a more detailed report soon.

*Note: This post has been modified to reflect an inaccuracy. The media release was finally delivered along with the note "You have used the wrong word in your lede. Pay attention. He didn’t resign. He retired. There is a difference." We regret any inaccuracy, although the initial report did reflect actual language used in the quoted text above. More to come.

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