YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Youngstown Playhouse’s executive director is leaving after guiding the organization through the pandemic and its return to live performances.

Kayla Boye is taking her talents to Chicago, according to Playhouse Board President Dr. John Cox.

“She lives in Chicago, and with theatre picking up, she is still a performer and getting professional work. During the downtime, she had more free time so I took advantage of that. She was lightning in a bottle and I knew it would be a short-term thing. Wish it was longer though. She was excellent,” Cox said.

Since joining the Playhouse as development director at the start of the pandemic, Boye helped to sustain the entirety of its operating budget via contributed revenue sources while completing Phase One of its ongoing capital campaign and overseeing the establishment of its first endowment fund.

She said it has been an honor to work with the Board of Directors.

“Overcoming enormous challenges, I am deeply proud of the significant strides we have made to position the organization and our community for a bright future, and I am excited to see the next chapter unfold,” she said. “I am personally grateful to all of the individual and institutional funders such as the NEA who have supported the Playhouse through this crucial time. A vibrant theatrical landscape is essential to our community’s continued economic and cultural growth.”

Cox said a new executive director hasn’t been selected yet.

“We are evaluating multiple alternatives — national search for an individual or possibly a management team approach. COVID has changed the entire theatre landscape. Meantime, the exec. board is filling in,” he said.

Also announced Tuesday, the Youngstown Playhouse has been approved for its first grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The $10,000 grant will support its 2022 Youth Theatre Program.

The Youth Theatre allows participants to perform in fully staged productions with no participation fees, complemented by regularly scheduled workshops and classes.