RED WING -- After about five years, Sheldon Theatre Executive Director Bonnie Schock is stepping down and moving to Tucson, Ariz., where she will become the executive director of the Fox Theatre.

“It’s an amazing opportunity for me, in both in my career and also just my personal life. It’s warm. I’ve made no secret with folks around here and everyone that I know that winter and I don’t get along particularly well,” Schock said.

During February, Schock has spent time going back and forth between the Sheldon and the Fox, working to ensure a smooth transition for both theaters.

“It’s juggling,” said Schock when talking about the change. She later added, “You do a little bit of building the airplane while it’s flying or whatever kind of metaphor you want to say.”

One of Schock’s conditions for taking the Tucson job was that she would have sufficient time to transition from one theater to the other. Two weeks, she explained, was not nearly enough time to leave the Sheldon in the best place that it could be.

Schock emphasized: “For me professionally and personally, the work that we’ve done here is really important and making sure that we set the circumstances in place that allow all of that good work to continue without major interruption was very, very important to me.”

Bonnie Schock started as the director of the Sheldon Theatre in 2015. Friday, Feb. 28 will be Schock's final day as the executive director of the Sheldon before she moves to Tucson, Ariz., to direct the Fox Theatre. Photo courtesy of the Sheldon Theatre.
Bonnie Schock started as the director of the Sheldon Theatre in 2015. Friday, Feb. 28 will be Schock's final day as the executive director of the Sheldon before she moves to Tucson, Ariz., to direct the Fox Theatre. Photo courtesy of the Sheldon Theatre.

Currently Schock is helping to introduce Jeff Larson, interim executive director, to the Sheldon. She also helped the theater’s board to find an organization to conduct a search for the next director. Other than that, Schock is mostly hands-off the transition logistics.

“This transition isn’t about me as an executive director, it’s about the board’s ongoing leadership and the community’s ongoing care of this place,” Schock said.

During her time here, Schock had a major influence on the place but also people.

In 2018, the theater reopened after being revitalized and renewed.

Along with the physical improvements to the building, Schock oversaw performances including The Revolution, Cantus, Cirque Mechanics, Tom Papa, The Second City and many, many more.

Stephanie Rogers, the director of the Anderson Center in Red Wing, told the Republican Eagle:

“I have enjoyed getting to know Bonnie and working alongside her to promote Red Wing and the vital role that the arts play in our community. As an audience member, it’s also been wonderful to enjoy some of the innovative programming that she and her team have brought to Red Wing. I wish her all the best in her new role and look forward to working with the next leader of the Sheldon Theatre to further build the reputation that Red Wing has: a thriving arts community within a beautiful and historic town.”

Jennifer Staley, the Sheldon Theatre’s development and community relations coordinator, wrote:

“Bonnie challenged us to bring a little more than expected to our audiences. She has shown us all what is possible for a rural performing arts organization and the impact the Sheldon has on our community. I have no doubt about the positive future of this breathtaking place and look forward to continuing to watch it thrive.”

Nancy Dimunation is the Sheldon Board president.

"Bonnie embraced the historical perspective of the Sheldon Theatre as Red Wing’s jewel box and imagined its future possibilities. This vision gave birth to innovative programming that would expand our reach, bringing national and international artists to Red Wing and was rewarded by unprecedented numbers of energized patrons who filled our theater," she said. "To quote Bonnie, 'Memories are made at the Sheldon.' This has been a pivotal moment in the Sheldon’s history. The memories she helped create far exceeded expectations."

As Schock’s final interview with the Republican Eagle came to a close, she was asked if she had any final thoughts that she wanted to share. Tearing up she said. “This place is, it’s a gem, it really is. And the way that people hold it is what will keep it going. So, just keep taking care of her, and she will take care of you.”