WENATCHEE — The Performing Arts Center of Wenatchee didn’t have to look far for its new executive director. The PAC board of directors hired Matt Cadman, a high school teacher and longtime figure in the Wenatchee Valley theater scene.
“For him, it seemed like this was a dream come true,” board president Carolyn Griffin-Bugert said after the announcement Friday. “Whenever you have a candidate that’s so committed, you can’t go wrong.”
Cadman will replace Rita Brown, who resigned Jan. 1 for health reasons after more than a year on the job. The PAC board consulted Brown early in the hiring process, then worked with the PAC staff and community members to screen the 19 applicants, Griffin-Bugert said.
The vote to hire him was unanimous among the 18 board members.
Cadman is an actor, director and served as a board member for the Music Theatre of Wenatchee. Among his many productions, he directed “Bye Bye Birdie” with Mark Wavra last year at Eastmont, he played “Horton the Elephant” in Wenatchee’s all-district musical, “Seussical,” and he directed the 2008 Apple Blossom Musical, “Jesus Christ Superstar.”
Cadman also served on the PAC board 10 years ago, and his wife Camille has been a board member ever since. He said she plans to step down this year.
In his day job, the 58-year-old taught U.S. history and English at Eastmont High School for 12 years. A third-generation local, Cadman was an educator for 22 years in the Puget Sound area before moving back to the Wenatchee area in 2000.
“It was a tough day yesterday to realize that after 34 years, this was my last half hour in the classroom,” Cadman said in a phone interview last week. “With that sort of nostalgia, I also feel incredibly excited for the next season of my life.”
His first day at the PAC will be Monday.
Cadman said he wants to bring magic to the PAC stage — that moment when the people on stage connect with their audience in that spontaneous, immediate way that only happens with live performance. And not just theater — Cadman said his plans include ballet, comedy and music to the schedule.
“We’d bring in elephants and lions if we could,” he said jokingly.
He praised the PAC’s past efforts and said some of the best shows he’d ever seen were at the PAC. Griffin-Bugert said Cadman was hired in part because of his ideas for the future.
Cadman said it was too early to talk about specifics yet, but his goal is to make the community feel welcomed and celebrated, as much as the performers on stage.
“I want to infuse a lot of energy and pride,” Cadman said. “My one goal is to bring the best experience I can to the customer. If we can do that, everything else will flow — the seats will fill, we’ll attract better programs and that becomes a cycle of victory.”
Rachel Hansen: 664-7139