Boston Children's Theatre And Executive Director Part Ways Amid Investigation Into Artistic Director
The Boston’s Children’s Theatre board announced in an email Friday afternoon that the theater and the organization’s executive director Toby Schine have decided to no longer work together.
This comes a little over two weeks after Jim Solomon, the interim president of the theater's board, forwarded an anonymous email to authorities with allegations of inappropriate behavior by the now-former executive artistic director, Burgess Clark. Clark resigned two days before Solomon received the email.
The Boston Globe first reported that more than a dozen former students at the Boston Children's Theatre made allegations against Clark. The newspaper also reported that Clark delivered his resignation to Schine and that the now former executive director shares a home in Beverly with Clark and Clark’s partner. In that original story from Nov. 2, a spokesman for the theater said Schine had the board’s “full confidence.” The Essex District Attorney's Office is now investigating the allegations against Clark, which were forwarded by the Beverly police.
The Friday afternoon email from the board expressed "great sadness" over the decision to part ways with Schine and thanked him for his contributions.
“We are grateful to Toby for his many years of service to BCT,” it reads. “He has played an important role in the lives of our children, and we wish him the best of luck in the future.”
The email said that the theater is also suspending the planned production of “A Charlie Brown Christmas."
“We simply do not have the staff or funding to support the quality of performance for which our company is known, and we owe our children nothing less,” the email said. “Unfortunately, in light of recent events, our focus as an organization must be rebuilding. We are profoundly saddened by the allegations made against Burgess Clark and we have great compassion for the brave men and women who have come forward. Although we are heartbroken, there will be disruptions to the programs that our children love so dearly because we want to move forward as an organization with new leadership that can carry our mission into the future.”
On Sunday, Nov. 10, members of the board of directors met with parents, many of whom were skeptical about the allegations against Clark. Most told WBUR that they were committed to the children’s theater’s programming.
In the Friday email, the board shared its hope to begin programming again in the "immediate or near future."
"Starting now, we will be hard at work finding leadership that can continue to produce the quality of children’s theater education for which BCT has long been known; that will nurture our children’s creativity, passion, and deep friendships; and will do all of that with the full confidence of our parent community,” it read.