Robbins named new Legacy Theater director

Carthage group expands director's position to full time


CARTHAGE - As The Legacy Theater moves into 2024, it is with the leadership of the theater’s first full-time professional. Thomas Robbins began as executive director of The Legacy Theater in Carthage on Dec. 15.
Working with the theater board, Robbins will have a hand in all parts of the theater’s work – performance recruitment, marketing, fundraising, and daily management.
“My role is to build on the traditions set by those who preceded me. To use the facility to its maximum potential,” Robbins said. “We can have an important impact on the quality of life for all tri-state area citizens.”
He noted that the board of directors have established a solid base, mission and purpose for The Legacy Theater.
“It is now poised for future growth and development. It’s my job to help nurture a long-term model for arts, culture and entertainment with the theater at the core of our vision.”
The timing of Robbins joining the theater could not be better, according to Doug Groth, chairman of The Legacy Theater Foundation board.
“Having recently taken ownership of the theater property, we are in a position for Tom and his experience to guide us forward,” Groth said.
To begin, Robbins is blending remote work from Dubuque, Iowa, with days in Carthage each week. He will emcee the Showcase 2024 planned at the theater Jan. 20, a free show featuring live entertainment and video previews of the full 2024 schedule.
“Interestingly enough, my background includes both college and non-profit arts venues which The Legacy’s history combines in a very unique way…an auditorium with a vibrant past linked to two former colleges,” said Robbins. “Ironically, my wife’s parents are alums of the original Carthage College campus here, class of 1959.”
He is especially interested and experienced in bringing the arts to area youth.
“The arts transcend time, age, and space, giving everyone the capacity to dream, imagine, and power past perceived limitations,” Robbins said.
“I am excited about the potential of The Legacy Theater to continue to grow in service of all citizens of the region through performance and education.”
Robbins brings a wealth of experience to his work at The Legacy Theater.
For the past 11 years, he was executive director for Heritage Center, a multi-venue performing arts center at the University of Dubuque. The center included a 1000-seat main hall, a 250-seat black  box theater, a cafe stage, art gallery and support spaces. He was special assistant to the Dubuque University president for strategic planning in campus arts initiatives.
He served for 12 years as executive director of Schauer Arts and Activities Center in Hartford, Wis.; two years as assistant director at Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, for university programming and activities; five years as acting associate director of Irvin L. Young Auditorium at University of Wisconsin, Whitewater; and many positions in marketing and arts management at universities and arts organizations in Wisconsin and Iowa as he completed his education.
He earned a bachelor of arts degree in business management at Central College, Pella, Iowa, and a masters of arts degree in business administration at University of Wisconsin at Madison.
Robbins is a commissioner and past vice-chair of the City of Dubuque Arts and Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission; and is current chairman of Iowa Presenters Network, a statewide association of performing arts presenters.
Robbins sees the importance of The Legacy Theater to the region.

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