Grand Opera House in Macon has new director

Gram Slaton
Gram Slaton

Veteran arts administrator Gram Slaton has been named the new executive director of The Grand Opera House.

Slaton, who is scheduled to begin work there April 25, succeeds retiring Executive Director Roseann Swiergosz.

A native of Charlottesville, Virginia, Slaton most recently served as executive director of the Piedmont Council for the Arts, which advocates for the arts, arts education and cultural tourism in central Virginia, according to a release on his selection.

Before returning to his hometown last year, Slaton managed historic theaters in Aspen, Colorado, and Williamsport, Pennsylvania, for more than 20 years.

From 2005 to 2014 he was executive director of the Wheeler Opera House, a 504-seat, 1889 historic theater owned by the city of Aspen. During his tenure in Aspen, Slaton oversaw more than $7 million in renovations, including a major balcony reconstruction. He was involved in creating the Aspen Songwriters Festival and the Rooftop Comedy Festival/Aspen Laff Festival, among other initiatives.

"We could not be more thrilled with the appointment of Gram Slaton," said George McCanless, chairman of The Grand Opera House board of governors and president and CEO of the United Way of Central Georgia. "He brings outstanding financial management, programming, community relations and fund-raising skills to The Grand. He has a track record of creative and visionary leadership and, as we look at future major capital improvements at The Grand possibly being included in Macon-Bibb's next SPLOST program, he brings capabilities that will position the theater well" for the future.

The opera house is a performing arts center of Mercer University.

"Macon has such a dynamic future being put in place right now that it's an honor to be selected by Mercer for this vital post," Slaton said. "I truly look forward to working with everyone in Middle Georgia, as well as the national entertainment community, to make The Grand the finest venue of its kind in the Southeast."

A playwright and actor, Slaton is a two-time Jerome Fellowship recipient at the Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

He graduated with honors from Ohio's Dennison University, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.