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April 10, 2020

Matt Lesinski
Mount Baker Theater
(360) 734-0680

John Purdie named Mount Baker Theatre Executive Director

After serving as Mount Baker Theatre’s Interim Executive Director since January 2020, John Purdie has been appointed by the Board of Directors as the new Executive Director.

MBT’s Board President, James Twining states, “as our Interim Executive Director, John has risen to the challenge of running the Mount Baker Theatre in the most trying of times. He has navigated a complex and rapidly changing situation, while building solid relationships with the stakeholders both within the theatre and in the larger community. The board of directors unanimously and enthusiastically appoints him to the role of Executive Director.”

Having served as MBT’s Development Director since 2016, Purdie is no stranger to the programs provided by the Bellingham Theatre. “I am absolutely thrilled to serve our community as a steward of this treasured community resource,” says Purdie.

Purdie takes over for Brad Burdick, who served as Executive Director for 23 years and retired in January of this year. His immediate responsibilities include overseeing the administration, programs, and strategic plan of the organization. Beyond this scope he is also taking the leadership role in ensuring the financial stability of the organization while finishing the Continuing the Legacy Capital Campaign and Project. 

His scholastic achievements include a Bachelor of Arts from Western Washington University, a Master of Arts from Michigan State University, and finally a PhD in Leadership & Policy Analysis from the University of Missouri-Columbia. This path allowed him to take key leadership roles in higher education institutions across the country before finally returning to WWU in 2006 to serve as the Associate Director for University Residencies. In summation, Purdie’s 25 years working in higher education and 12 years volunteering at Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth and the Bellingham Theatre Guild were focused on organizational leadership and fundraising, which naturally led to his transition to MBT. 

“John Purdie has demonstrated the ability to lead the Theatre with a great deal of energy and intelligence,” states Board President James Twining, “his educational and experiential background make him the ideal choice to be our Executive Director.”

The Mount Baker Theatre ignites the imagination of audiences of all ages by presenting national tours and regional acts to audiences from throughout the North Puget Sound region. The Theatre, beautifully restored to its original splendor, anchors the arts district, acts as a community gathering space, and provides economic impact through tourism.

        We acknowledge that Whatcom County is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. They cared for the lands that included what we’d call the Puget Sound region, Vancouver Island and British Columbia since time immemorial. This gives us the great obligation and opportunity to learn how to care for our surrounding areas and all the natural and human resources we require to live. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
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