NLT no longer has director

Published 12:16 am Sunday, December 30, 2018

NATCHEZ — The Natchez Little Theatre no longer has an executive director in charge of artistic productions and bookkeeping as of last month.

The former Executive Director, Layne Taylor, said he retired when the NLT’s board of directors decided not to renew his contract.

Email newsletter signup

“Their decision was a strange one,” Taylor said, adding that he does not believe anyone on the board has any business or theatrical experience. “A lot of people don’t realize the amount of work and time that goes into it. … It’s hard work and can be very thankless work. … It’s entertainment, but it’s also a business.”

Chris Borum, president of the board of directors, said the theater, which has been in operation since 1932, did not have a salaried position for a director until 2002, when Taylor came on as president of the board himself.

“We’ve made a few changes, and we’re doing pretty well,” Borum said. “Without a salaried person running it, we were able to save a lot for productions. … Financially, we weren’t able to hire him for another year. … It wasn’t that he did anything wrong, it was just that we were spending money that we didn’t have.”

Borum said the position may come available again, but not for a while at least.

“This was something that we had to do if we wanted to keep the theater open,” Borum said. “Everything that we bring in now is becoming profit at this point. … I can see where, in the future, we may have another executive director. We just weren’t able to do that at this point in time.”

Taylor said he intends to continue teaching and directing at Copiah-Lincoln Community College and may assist around the Natchez Little Theatre as needed on a volunteer basis.

Meanwhile, Borum said the board is handling the theater’s operations for the time being and will have a volunteer director for the next production, “Mary Poppins.”

“The entire board helps with everything,” Borum said. “If someone can’t do something, someone else steps in to do it for them. … I’m very proud of our board for all of the hard work that they’ve done.”

Taylor, who said he has been involved in the theater since 2001, said he was disappointed with the board’s change of direction.

“It makes me sad to see something that I and so many in our community worked to make the best in the state just not be the best anymore,” Taylor said.