Laura Lee Everett
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Areas of Responsibility Include:
Liaison to the Board of Directors
Oversight of Institute Operations and the National Office
Major Gift Development
LAURA LEE EVERETT joined USITT as its Executive Director in early 2023. She was introduced to the membership at the Annual Conference & Stage Expo in St. Louis. She was previously the Chief Programs Officer for OPERA America.
Joining OPERA America in 2012, she facilitated the creation and opening of the National Opera Center in New York City. She created the public programming series Onstage at the Opera Center and established the curating cycles for the production design galleries featuring the work of celebrated scenic, costume, lighting, projection, wig, and production designers’ work in opera. Additionally, she produced professional development programs at the National Opera Center to facilitate composers and librettists, singers and pianists, and leadership training for future leaders in non-profit arts administration. She produced all programming and content for the bi-annual New Works Forum, gatherings of up to 400 producers, presenters, creators and collaborators of new music.
For OPERA America, she executive produced the Opera America Songbook (a collection of 50 commissioned songs for the opening of the National Opera Center), and Fierce Grace: Jeannette Rankin, a commissioned song cycle about the first U.S. congresswoman, written by an all-woman team of composers and librettists. In 2015 she launched the Women’s Opera Network and in 2022, produced the inaugural Awards for Digital Excellence in Opera, recognizing the best work created for digital platforms by artists and producers across the U.S. and Canada.
As the program officer for all of OPERA America’s granting programs, annually funding more than $2M for new work creation and development, innovation in programming and production, and civic practice initiatives, Everett was instrumental in the 2014 creation of the Opera Grants for Women Composers programs, awarding more than $1M to 98 composers, and to companies producing their work. She was essential in cultivating the funding and creation of the 2019 and 2020 IDEA grant programs offering developmental grants for work and residencies by BIPOC composers and librettists.
Everett spent 10 years as the managing director at the Maryland Opera Studio at the University of Maryland and eight seasons with the Aspen Opera Theater Center. In both positions, she cultivated support for programs developing new work, training the next generation of performers, directors, designers, and technicians, and giving students in the performing arts the essential opportunity to gain experience in classic repertoire and contemporary work.
She spent more than 20 years of her career as a stage and production manager specializing in opera and in this capacity has overseen productions and worked with many of the leading companies across the U.S.
Everett is no stranger to USITT, having been actively involved as a volunteer for a number of years. Before taking on her current role, she served as the Management Commissioner.
Said USITT President Carolyn Satter, “I am confident that Laura Lee is the visionary thought-leader that we sought to create a robust future-proof organization that can achieve success at the next level. Along with her copious industry knowledge is her fund-raising expertise which will be a critical component in advancing the Institute while basing all that we do on our bedrock Core Values of inclusion, excellence, and responsibility.”