The Board of Directors of Players by the Sea announces and welcomes Bradley Akers as its new Managing Director.
Akers returns “home” to Players by the Sea, where audiences and artists may be familiar with his presence after serving the theatre in a myriad of capacities, including Director, Designer, Actor, Communications Manager, Marketing Director, Associate Director, and Artistic Director, from 2014 – 2018. During his time at Players by the Sea, Akers championed people on and off the stage to unlock their fullest artistic potential through programming and engagement initiatives. One of his most notable accomplishments was developing the New Voices program, a yearlong new play development program which has since seen the world premieres of 8 plays and musicals by Northeast Florida writers.
“On behalf of the entire board of Players by the Sea, I am thrilled to announce the appointment of Bradley Akers as our new Managing Director,” says Delvina Wynn, Board President of Players by the Sea. “Bradley’s profound connection with Players by the Sea, his exemplary career in non-profit and performing arts administration, and his unwavering passion for the connective power of arts mark an exciting new chapter for our organization. His full-circle journey with us underscores a legacy that we have proudly built over 58 years. We are confident that under Bradley’s visionary leadership, Players by the Sea will continue to flourish as Northeast Florida’s premiere community theatre, offering a home for artists and unlocking the potential of the arts in our daily lives.”
Akers is a multi-disciplinary theatre artist and arts administrator based in Northeast Florida. From 2020 – 2023, Akers led The 5 & Dime Theatre Co. as its Managing Artistic Director, where he spearheaded the theatre’s return to production after the pandemic ceased operations. During his tenure with The 5 & Dime, Akers held a firm commitment to theatre for Jacksonville by Jacksonville by expanding programmatic opportunity through production, education, and outreach. Under his leadership, the theatre returned to consistent production post-pandemic, established a residency at The Florida Ballet, facilitated a budgetary growth of over 200%, and created accessible opportunities to further break boundaries of creating and experiencing theatre.
“I am overjoyed to return to PBTS in this capacity. So much of my formative time as an artist and an administrator was spent within these walls, and after a significant time away, I feel honored and prepared to bring my spirit and passion for this work back into this special place,” says Akers. “I love this theatre community with my whole heart, and I believe that we, as a collective whole, can continue to make Northeast Florida the place with the best community theatre in the entire world.”
“Without Bradley’s leadership, creativity, and ability to meet challenges head-on, our return to the stage would have taken longer and been much less enjoyable. He will be deeply missed,” said Kacy Hope, Board President of The 5 & Dime. “Our team supports him in his future endeavors and knows that wherever his career takes him, he will work tirelessly to celebrate the Jacksonville Theatre Community through his leadership.”
As a theatre artist, Akers has directed award-winning productions throughout Northeast Florida, including Doubt, Chicago, Parade, The Thanksgiving Play, The Harvest, Fun Home, The Robber Bridegroom, Heathers the Musical, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, The Walls, ‘night, Mother, Into the Woods, The Last 5 Years, Almost, Maine, AIDA, Godspell, and Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead. He also works as a scenic designer, lighting designer, sound designer, and stage manager. Akers looks forward to combining his artistic and leadership experience to guide the theatre into its next chapter, where artistic excellence, uplifting atmospheres, and community collaboration is at the forefront of the vision.
“Theatre teaches us about empathy, understanding, connection, and community. To myself and many others, it is as necessary as the air we breathe. I look forward to working alongside this community to celebrate and uplift the power of theatre and its necessity for a diverse and compassionate community. Through the stories we’ll tell, the connections we make, and the voices we celebrate, Players by the Sea will shine,” says Akers.
Akers begins his post as Managing Director on September 18, 2023. The remainder of Players by the Sea’s season includes Dot (Sept. 15 – Oct. 1), The Addams Family (Oct. 20 – Nov. 5), and The Winter Wonderettes (Dec. 1 – 17). Players by the Sea will announce its 2024 season in late October.
About Players by the Sea
For 58 years, Players by the Sea has presented productions that are engaging, thought-provoking, emotionally stimulating and entertaining through the extraordinary support and dedication from community volunteers – actors, directors, designers, backstage crews, carpenters, visual artists, etc. Boasting two theatre spaces—a 150-seat Mainstage theatre and an 80-seat Black Box Theatre—Players by the Sea is an artistic home for anyone who wants to engage with the community through interactive and incredible storytelling.