Dozens sign letter about controversial decision to combine jobs - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Dozens sign letter about controversial decision to combine artistic director jobs

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Facebook page created for two part-time directors. Facebook page created for two part-time directors.

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Many in the theater community are taking to social media, upset about a recent decision to combine two part-time jobs. 

The Thalian Association decided to combine two part-time jobs: the Artistic Director who handles main stage productions and the Artistic Director who handles children's theater productions. The Thalian Association will combine these positions to create one full-time position.  A nationwide search for the new position is now underway.

Those in the theater community created a Facebook page showing their support for both artistic directors Tom Briggs and Jason Aycock. They are also signing a letter asking the Thalian Association board to put a hold on hiring a new artistic director and opening board membership to those in the theater community. To read the letter, click here: http://bit.ly/1jnlFys

Comments on the Facebook page ask board members to change their mind and keep both men, who many argue are irreplaceable on the job. As of Monday afternoon it had more than 600 likes. Some argued the roles are different and should not be combined.

"I was surprised, it was just personally, I feel that those are two very different positions with very different skills sets," said Troy Rudeseal.

With the two jobs being combined into one, and a search for the new position underway, it means either Tom Briggs or Jason Aycock, or both, will have to go. 

"It's a hard job and it's a thankless job and to just toss these guys aside is just cold," said Rudeseal.

"I was stunned and very emotional because both Tom and Jason mean the world to our family," said Tracey Torello. She said her daughters grew up doing community theater with both directors.

"They teach them to be responsible, to work hard, and they also let them know that they believe in them and they can do things," said Torello. "I think to either lose Tom or Jason would be a huge loss to the community, you can't say that you don't need them both, they both have been contributors on so many levels."

While many any the theater community are not happy about the change, the President of the Thalian Association Board says the change is necessary because the association is growing.

Danny Brock argued they are trying to do more community outreach and a full-time director is necessary.

"It's because of the community outreach we are now doing, we are doing Wilmington Boys and Girls outreach, we are doing outreach in our schools," said Brock. "At least we would have one person coordinating all of these jobs instead of two people coordinating them in two different areas."

"This is really good news because we have grown so much of the past several years, in fact this past year we've grown really a lot, so the fact that we've moved to a full time director I think is really exciting news," he explained during another point of the interview.

He says both Briggs and Aycock have been encouraged to apply for the new position.

(FULL DISCLOSURE: We do need to point out that one of the artistic directors is married to a WECT employee)

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