Columbus, Ga. (WRBL) – The Springer Opera House is an icon in Columbus. The 152 year old theater has built a reputation for being one of the best in the country. Many credit its success to Artistic Director, Paul Pierce. After 35 seasons the longtime Artistic Director has decided to step down from his role, and let a new regime take over.

“They are younger than me. They are more energetic than me. They have more tread on their tires than I do, and they’ve got new ideas. I just felt like I’ve gotten a point where they need to be able to run. I’ve been here for 35 seasons now. This has been the greatest honor of my life,” said Pierce.

Stepping up to some key leadership roles will be Danielle Patterson-Varner to become the Executive Producer and CEO. Keith McCoy will become the Springer Opera House’s new Artistic Director. Both believe that Pierce’s leadership has been vital to the Springer’s success.

“You can’t think about the Springer without thinking about Paul Pierce. When you see Paul Pierce you see talent, innovation and above all else you see kindness. He is the kindest person and he has been the best mentor, friend and leader the Springer has ever had,” said Patterson-Varner.

“Paul is definitely part of the story, and history of the Springer Opera House. Everything we do from this point on is because of Paul. Every single person in this building would not be here if it wasn’t for Paul,” said McCoy.

When Pierce arrived in Columbus in 1988, it was a city where businesses like AFLAC, TSYS and Columbus College wasn’t Columbus State just yet. The Springer was also in shambles. Fast forward to today the Springer has gained national attention for their excellence.

“There are people that come and go and work and are entertained and they learn here and it’s part of their lives. I’m gratified that they give me the credit but the truth is the Springer is essential for the life of people here,” said Pierce.

Another priority for Pierce was developing talent, and giving them a place to shine. He credits a big part of the Springer’s success was finding the talent right here in the Fountain City.
“Our relationship with CSU, particularly the theater has been a huge part in our growth and development. And part of the reason why we have such a deep bench because a lot of the young people that graduated from the CSU theater department I was able to hire,” said Pierce.
The show must go on without the longtime Artistic Director. Pierce says he’s ready to turn the page to the next chapter of his career, there are some things he will miss.

“What I’ll miss the most is being in the rehearsal hall with wonderful artists and collaborating with designers and choreographers and technicians to make magic on this fabulous stage,” said Pierce.

Patterson-Varner and McCoy will officially move into their new roles on October 1st.