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Founder of Tampa's Stageworks Theatre announces retirement

Anna Brennen has been with the Tampa theater  company for three decades.

Anna Brennen has been with the Tampa theater company for three decades.

TAMPA — Stageworks Theatre founder Anna Brennen says she will retire at the end of the year after three decades with the vagabond company that has performed plays all over Tampa.

Brennen worked as an actor and playwright in London with Sir Laurence Olivier, Peter Brook and Peter Hall before continuing her career in New York and moving to Tampa in 1979.

The company rented various locations in Tampa, such as the Shimberg Playhouse at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts and the University of Tampa's Falk Theatre before moving to a permanent home in the Channel District in 2011.

Stageworks' mission, shaped by Brennen's time in London, is "to provide the highest quality professional theatre which respects, ignites and celebrates the human spirit while challenging the thresholds of intolerance and insensitivity."

As such, the company produces plays championing themes for women, gays and lesbians, religious minorities and people of color.

The organization also focuses on educational outreach programs with local youth, seniors and incarcerated juveniles.

Associate artistic director Karla Hartley will succeed Brennen as producing artistic director at the end of the year.

"Karla is ready to lead Stageworks to even greater heights over the next 30 years," Brennen said in a statement.

Caitlin Johnston can be reached at cjohnston@tampabay.com or (813) 661-2443.

Founder of Tampa's Stageworks Theatre announces retirement 12/29/13 [Last modified: Sunday, December 29, 2013 8:12pm]
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