Garden Theatre names new chief organizational officer

Keith Davenport , 53, will serve as chief organizational officer of the Winter Garden theater

Keith Davenport will lead the theater as chief organizational officer. (Garden Theatre)

WINTER GARDEN, Fla. – Months after announcing its new partnership with Victory Productions, Garden Theatre has named its chief organizational officer.

Keith Davenport will lead the theater, located at 160 W Plant St., and step into the role immediately to ensure it achieves “annual and long-term goals for artistic excellence, financial sustainability and community engagement,” according to officials.

Davenport, 53, has been actively involved in community theater since childhood and the Garden Theatre specifically as a patron and donor for 11 years. Before this position, he served as chair of the theater’s programming and partnerships committee. He also has experience overseeing entertainment and programming at Walt Disney World and Olympic Ceremonies.

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“When a unique creative opportunity such as this comes along, it’s just hard not to pursue it,” Davenport said. “That’s how I feel about Garden Theatre, which is an important local institution that I have loved and supported for years. The theater has come such a long way in recent months and I’m looking forward to playing an active role in continuing to ensure that Central Florida has a theater where performers and audiences want to be.”

The theater also ushered in six new board members on June 1, including Rich Taylor, chair; David Baldree, vice chair; Todd Wheeler, treasurer; and David Romano, secretary.

This comes after Garden Theatre announced a new partnership with Victory Productions, a local entertainment company, in December 2022 after a public fight between the board and its employees put live shows on a six-month hiatus.

“(We) made the decision to leverage the near-term programming gaps and temporarily shift our operational focus to the organizational health of the Theatre,” the Garden Theatre Board of Directors said in a Facebook post back in August 2022. “The Board and Staff will spend this time conducting an in-depth review of our organizational structure and operations.”

To learn more about the Garden Theatre and check out the current season, visit its website.

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