NEPA Scene Staff

F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre nominated for Theater of the Year Award, undergoes staff and website changes

F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre nominated for Theater of the Year Award, undergoes staff and website changes
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From a press release:

For the second year in a row, the IEBA, the International Entertainment Buyers Association, has nominated the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts in Wilkes-Barre for the prestigious Ryman Auditorium Theater of the Year Award. The Beacon Theatre in New York City, the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, and the Paramount Theatre in Denver are also nominated.

“The F.M. Kirby Center is excited to be nominated by our peers in the industry,” said Artistic Director Anne Rodella. “We look forward to continuing to work with and learn from our theater partners.”

The F.M. Kirby Center has also unveiled a newly designed website. has been updated to a more modern and sleek design. The new look is based off the signature “Kirby Heart” and the color block style of the Kirby Center season brochures designed by MLB Advertising.

The new website represents the shift the F.M. Kirby Center has made in recent years towards being a more accessible performing arts facility.

“In increasing our overall programming, in growing our audiences, and in creating new artistic opportunities in downtown Wilkes-Barre, the F.M. Kirby Center has consistently been moving forward in keeping our lights on and our hearts open! The new web look clearly reflects our wish to invite everyone to the theater,” Rodella stated.

In addition, the F.M. Kirby Center will undergo a staff change. Lauren Pluskey McLain, who was appointed as the managing director of the Kirby Center this past spring, has accepted a position at King’s College as the Associate Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Sr. Director of Development and Campaign.

“This was a difficult decision for me, as I love the Kirby Center and the programs we have developed,” said Pluskey McLain, “However, this is a great career opportunity for me that allows me to continue to help advance the community I care so much about.”

With Pluskey McLain’s departure on Oct. 4, Drew Taylor, who has been with the Kirby Center for over 17 years as the director of operations, has been appointed by the board of directors as the new managing director. Taylor has been responsible for day-to-day and future planning of the building’s operations, activity, and maintenance. Other duties included contract development for outside promoter shows, lobby rentals, catering and hospitality requirements for both the Kirby Center and guest artists, as well as the security needs for both the performers and patrons.

During Taylor’s tenure, he also oversaw the following capital improvement projects for the center: the 2006 restoration of the venue’s four lobbies and bars, auditorium seating, carpeting, box office and Daktronics scrolling marquee, the installation of a state-of-the-art Meyer Line Array sound system in 2012, and the current remodeling project of the performers’ dressing rooms.

“I’m looking forward to the challenges of my new position,” said Taylor, “and keeping the excitement alive here at the Kirby Center for both our patrons and staff. We have an excellent staff who are all committed to the center being the best it can be, and we all look forward to its future!”

Learn more about the Kirby Center, how they book shows, the theater’s history, and more in Episode 10 of the NEPA Scene Podcast:

Photo by Rich Howells/NEPA Scene