New Hires Supported by The Steelcase Foundation

Tuesday, March 21, 2023


Grand Rapids Civic Theatre announced today that two new team members will join the School of Theatre Arts staff. Jared Graybiel has been named Outreach Manager, and will serve as the key team member in the launch of Civic Theatre’s newest educational endeavor: the City Wide Drama Club program. Josh Kurchinski has been named Education and Marketing Coordinator, and will assist in supporting the day-to-day operations of the School of Theatre Arts and the marketing efforts of Grand Rapids Civic Theatre. Both positions are made possible by The Steelcase Foundation.  

Jared Graybiel has served West Michigan as a special educator for the past thirteen years, with employment through Success Virtual Learning Centers, Grand Rapids Public Schools, Black River Public Schools, and Hamilton Community Schools, and has worked with students nationwide in academic coaching and private teaching through his company Lakeshore Educational Services. He is also vastly familiar with Grand Rapids Civic Theatre where he has worked with School of Theatre Arts students as a Teaching Artist for many years.”I am over-the-moon excited to be a part of the growing education program at Grand Rapids Civic Theatre,” said Graybiel about his new venture as Outreach Manager, “Not only are the initiatives of the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre education department fun and exciting, they are vital for the progress of our community as a whole. Theatre is for everyone and should be made accessible to every single person in our vibrant city!”

Jared Graybiel, Outreach Manager

As a part of his role as Outreach Manager, Graybiel’s efforts will be largely focused on the development of Civic’s upcoming City Wide Drama Club program. His work will include fostering relationships with local schools through communication with school administrators, teachers, students, family members, and key community members; identifying and training Teaching Artists, ensuring high-quality curriculum and program content, and collaborating with Civic Theatre staff to produce the City Wide Drama Club production starting in the 2024-25 school year.

Assisting in the day-to-day operations of the School of Theatre Arts is Josh Kurchinski, Education and Marketing Coordinator. Josh is no stranger to Civic; he has spent the 2022-23 season as a Customer Service Associate and House Manager, assisting patrons at the Box Office and in the theatre lobby on performance nights. He is an accomplished musician who has been a part of dozens of musicals in the orchestra, including local productions, regional houses, national tours, and at Grand Rapids Civic Theatre. He’ll combine his background in customer service and a comprehensive knowledge of theatre to provide communication to students and parents, and oversee database management, classroom material preparation, and physical classroom management support to the School Administrator and Director of Education and Outreach, as well as assisting the Director of Marketing and Communications with various tasks and projects.

Josh Kurchinski, Education and Marketing Coordinator

The appointments of Graybiel and Kurchinski double the School of Theatre Arts administrative staff from two individuals to four individuals. The two new hires join the ongoing efforts of Director of Education and Outreach, Jenna Betka-Pope, and School Administrator, Deb Wright. The expansion of the School of Theatre Arts Staff is necessary to keep up with its increasing growth; the school saw a 47% increase in the fall 2022 term enrollment. Continued growth in the School of Theatre Arts has been made possible by new spaces created and renovated over the course of the past four years, including a new rehearsal hall/classroom. The School of Theatre Arts provides the most comprehensive community theatre education in the nation, serving 1,600 students annually with more than 100 classes available for individuals age two through adult in the areas of acting, dance, musical theatre, improv, properties design, makeup design, and other areas of theatre tech, as well as special workshops and summer camps.  “Over the past few years, we have worked hard to continue evaluating and developing our programming both inside and outside our physical building;” said Betka-Pope, Director of Education and Outreach, “the addition of these two positions will allow us to dream big and make these changes happen.”  

Allyson Paris, Artistic Director, and Jenna Betka-Pope, Director of Education and Outreach, share a laugh with School of Theatre Arts students and teaching artists during Young Artist Studio interviews

The Steelcase Foundation has generously supported the creation of these two new positions at Grand Rapids Civic Theatre to expand outreach and educational programs. “It’s inspiring to look back over the years at Civic’s relationship with The Steelcase Foundation. They truly work to understand organizations’ needs and how they can align their own mission to help communities here in West Michigan grow and thrive,” said Kimberly Vincent, Civic’s Director of Development, “This gift ensures that students who have a passion for the theatre arts can obtain an education that is equitable and accessible for all.”