Alumnus Tom Burmester Chosen as Executive Director of Historic Woodland Opera House
Alumnus Tom Burmester (B.A., dramatic arts, ’01; PhD, performance studies, ‘22) has been named as the new executive director of The Historic Woodland Opera House (WOH). He replaces the outgoing director Angela Baltezore who will retire in June.
“We are very excited to have Tom join our WOH family,” said Lou Anderson, WOH Board of Trustees President. “Tom is well experienced and up to the challenge of continuing the WOH legacy of presenting excellent theatre productions and outstanding education programs, especially for youth, to our community.”
Burmester will begin work at the WOH in May and, in his new role, he will manage all day-to-day operations for the nonprofit. His substantial experience in working with a variety of theatrical venues and programs has well prepared him for the position. In Los Angeles, as audience experience designer for Center Theatre Group, he created participatory experiences for audiences at the Ahmanson Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, and Kirk Douglas Theatre.
He was the founding artistic director of the Los Angeles Theatre Ensemble (LATE), where he produced and directed over 30 new plays and developed “one of the finest and most committed ensembles performing on any Los Angeles stage,” according to Backstage. During LATE’s residency, he served as managing director of the historic Powerhouse Theatre in Santa Monica. His work as playwright, director, and producer of The War Cycle earned awards and recognition, including three Ovation Award nominations and a Special Citation from LA Weekly for “Excellence and Breadth of Vision.”
At UC Davis, Burmester was a founding co-director and producer of the Ground and Field Theatre Festival, which invited international playwrights to create new plays and musicals that centered on narratives of environmental, economic, and social sustainability. Burmester is an adjunct professor of performing arts at St. Mary’s College, where he teaches Science Fiction Theatre and Season Planning. He has also taught acting, directing, design, and theatre studies at UCLA and UC Davis. He received his M.F.A. in Directing from UCLA.
Located in downtown Woodland, WOH was built nearly 127 years ago. It is a California State Park, a California Historical Landmark, and on the National Register of Historic Places. In addition, it is one of only four fully functioning 19th century opera houses in California. Known for providing “A Quality Live Theatre Experience in a Landmark Venue,” the WOH produces an annual season of musicals, plays, and family-oriented shows, as well as concerts. Its TADA location, just blocks away from the theatre, serves hundreds of students (both youth and adult) with an array of Dance and Musical Theatre classes. A School Outreach Program is also in place, partnering with Woodland and Esparto Unified School Districts to provide theatre education to 10 local schools.