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Merrell retiring from Davidson Community Players; replacement named

June 28. Steve Kaliski, a professor of theater at Davidson College, will take over executive director duties at Davidson Community Players from Matt Merrell, who is retiring, early in July.

Kaliski’s web site says he is artistic director of New York’s Adjusted Realists and co-founder of Charlotte Conservatory Theatre in addition to studying English and theater at Davidson College.

Merrell: Passion and commitment

Merrell took the helm of DCP in 2011, making it not just a community theatre but a creative hub where art, culture, and community coalesce.

Board Chairman Stuart Jonap said Merrell’s “passion, vision, and commitment” have been a guiding force for the Davidson Community Players. “His leadership and dedication have left an indelible mark on our organization and community,” he said.

Merrell started full-time at DCP in 2011, having played Bill Sykes in DCP’s summer production of Oliver! 15 years earlier.

It wasn’t always smooth sailing, though. He began his tenure with DCP by inheriting an organization in need of financial guidance and artistic inspiration.

“We had the desire to expand programming but neither the facilities nor the staff to do so,” Merrell commented.

He turned DCP into an award-winning theatre, which has been recognized as both the NC Community Theatre of the Year and Youth Theatre of the Year by the North Carolina Theater Conference. DCP was also recognized as the Lake Norman Small Business of the Year this past April.