The Southern Theater launches into its next chapter with hiring of new executive director


February 26, 2018


Hailey Colwell, The Southern Theater,, (651) 403-0884

MINNEAPOLIS — The Southern Theater announced today that Janette Davis has been hired as the theater’s acting Executive Director. Davis, a nonprofit consultant and experienced arts and marketing professional, will manage the theater's day-to-day operations and will work to revitalize the theater’s strategic plan to expand its programming and facility capacity.

Theater board chair Mike Grosso said Davis’s history of success in theater and her business acumen make her the right fit for the organization. “She has experience building a program from the bottom up. The Southern needs her fresh ideas and can-do attitude to take the organization to the next stage,” he said.

Davis began her career working on stage and behind the scenes for a variety of professional organizations including the Guthrie Theater, American Conservatory Theater of San Francisco, and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE). She was also the driving force behind Bridge View Center Inc., a 92,000 square foot performing arts and event center in southeast Iowa. Davis founded the 501(c)(3) organization, advocated for the Vision Iowa Program to develop facilities and advance state tourism, and secured a multi-million dollar grant to get the event center built. Davis owned and was Creative Director of the award-winning advertising and public relations firm Direct Impressions. Most recently, she has been a principal consultant at The FightDeck One Group, directing strategic planning and execution for nonprofit and entrepreneurial organizations.

Davis is looking forward to working with the board, artists, community members and the theater’s staff to revive its legacy and build for the future. She said she is inspired by how many people have a deep connection to the organization. “Anytime I mention The Southern, I am greeted with smiles and heartfelt memories. People are willing to fight to keep this beautiful historic theater alive and part of our community. I am honored to be part of that journey,” she said.

Grosso is also enthusiastic about the theater’s future. “The Southern is focused on bringing new art to a broader audience while supporting local artists. Our primary goals include introducing The Southern to new audiences, improving financial stability and updating our historic building."

The Southern also recently welcomed two new board members: Seng Soumpolpakdy and Levi Weinhagen. Soumpolpakdy is currently a business data analytics analyst for Patterson Companies and has experience producing film projects. Weinhagen is a writer, producer, performer, podcaster and educator. He currently serves as a program manager at the Minnesota Council on Foundations.

The board continues to actively recruit new members. Anyone interested in joining the board is encouraged to email

About The Southern Theater

A historic Minneapolis theater, The Southern opened its doors in 1910, offering a variety of entertainment. Throughout the 20th century, The Southern played many roles: arts venue, warehouse, antique shop and restaurant, to name a few. The Southern resumed its role as a theater when the Guthrie Theater renovated the space for use as a second stage. With the assistance of the Minneapolis Arts Commission, The Southern Theater Foundation emerged in its present nonprofit structure in 1983.

Today The Southern remains a performing arts venue offering almost 50 weeks of programming to its patrons. In 2018, The Southern's signature ARTshare initiative will collaborate with more than 25 artists and companies to present a rich variety of programming from tap dance, taiko drumming and trapeze to more traditional music and theater productions. Audiences can purchase ARTshare memberships for a monthly ticket price which provides access to all ARTshare performances. Learn more at


Posted in Announcements, News, Press.