LIVERMORE -- As the city of Livermore and Alameda County discuss the possibility of acquiring the Bankhead Theater, the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center is on the hunt for a new interim executive director.
The center's executive director, Ted Giatas, who took the job in mid-October, has resigned for personal reasons, according to the nonprofit. LVPAC President Joan Seppala said Giatas gave the board no reason for his departure after just two months on the job.
"We've got a great staff," Seppala said. "We're all disappointed to not have Ted with us at this time."
Giatas, 65, was lured out of retirement in Palm Desert to replace LVPAC's original executive director, Len Alexander, who retired in August. Giatas could not be reached for comment.
The abrupt resignation comes at a time of uncertainty for LVPAC, which operates the 500-seat Bankhead Theater in downtown Livermore. The nonprofit recently lost a lawsuit it brought against the state seeking to recover more than $120 million in redevelopment funds for a planned 2,000-seat regional theater in downtown Livermore.
LVPAC is $23 million in debt to the Bank of New York Mellon for the Bankhead.
According to Shawn Wilson, chief of staff for Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, the city and the county have been discussing behind closed doors ways to acquire the theater from the bank.
In the wake of the court's ruling on the redevelopment funds, Wilson said the move could bring a "beacon of economic activity" and key component to a thriving downtown under local control. Talks with the bank, he added, have not yet begun.
"At the end of the day we're fortunate to have it," Wilson said. "This is a way to help save the theater and make right what the state has done wrong."
While remaining tight-lipped about discussions, Livermore Mayor John Marchand said the city doesn't want to run the Bankhead, and that both the city and county recognize the community importance of the theater.
"There are a lot of moving pieces here," Marchand said. "We want the Bankhead to continue to be successful."
LVPAC's board has begun a search for an interim executive director, appointing Ed Estrada, formerly the Bankhead's production manager, as interim theater manager. Seppala said LVPAC expects to have a new interim director by early next year.
"We are continuing fundraising activities," Seppala said. "We have sufficient funds to continue operations, and we have a plan to bring long-term financial stability to LVPAC."
Since opening in 2007, the Bankhead has produced more than $8.5 million in ticket sales and has drawn in excess of 400,000 attendees. According to LVPAC, the theater generates an economic stimulus to the area of $3.9 million per year.
Contact Jeremy Thomas at 925-847-2184. Follow him at Twitter.com/jet_bang.