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Dana Harrison New Managing Director at Theatre Bay Area

Jacob Coakley • Changing Roles • December 21, 2011


Dana Harrision will fully transition into her new role as managing director at TBA by the new year.

Dana Harrision will fully transition into her new role as managing director at TBA by the new year.

Theatre Bay Area has a new managing director, who bring experience from Charles Schwab, Bank of America and…Burning Man. Dana Harrison began transitioning into her new role as MD of TBA in early December, and brings not only years of success of corporate finance to the position, but certainly the temperament to work with artists and theatre geeks. She worked as the director of business services for Black Rock City, the umbrella organization that produces the Burning Man Festival. Both skill sets should serve her well in her new position.

Theatre Bay Area Welcomes Dana Harrison as new Managing Director

Former financial services executive succeeds 15-year veteran Cara Chrisman

SAN FRANCISCO, December 19, 2011—Theatre Bay Area, one of the country’s largest regional arts service organizations and the Bay Area’s support organization for theatre and dance artists and companies, is pleased to welcome Dana Harrison as its new managing director. Harrison, a former executive at Charles Schwab and Bank of America, brings 30 years of experience building and managing large-scale operations to Theatre Bay Area and will oversee a multiyear expansion of programming for theatre and dance artists, companies and patrons in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Harrison succeeds Cara Chrisman, a 15-year veteran of the organization who rose from a ticketing services staff member to become deputy director of Theatre Bay Area and whose careful accounting has helped Theatre Bay Area flourish during the economic downturn. Harrison will pick up where Chrisman left off, using her extensive business background in finance, accounting, technology and strategic planning to assist executive director Brad Erickson and Theatre Bay Area’s staff to maintain and expand the organization’s ticketing, mentorship, research and journalism programs.

“I am passionate about the role the arts play in creating a thriving cultural environment and a richer community,” says Harrison, “and look forward to the opportunity to contribute to the stability and growth of Theatre Bay Area and to be a part of this vital organization’s leadership team.”

In addition to a substantial background in corporate finance, Harrison also served as the director of business services for Black Rock City, the umbrella organization responsible for the Burning Man festival and helped that organization to grow into a larger, more stable organization.

“While I am truly sad to be losing my colleague, Cara Chrisman and want to thank her for her fifteen years of service to Theatre Bay Area and wish her all the best, I am excited to begin a new partnership with Dana Harrison,” says Theatre Bay Area executive director Brad Erickson. “Dana’s background in both the for- and non-profit world and deep knowledge of best business practices promises to help Theatre Bay Area continue to thrive and grow in the coming years.”

Harrison began transitioning into her new role in early December and will be fully integrated into the organization by the new year.

For more info about Theatre Bay Area, please visit

Dana Harrison is the managing director of Theatre Bay Area, one of North America’s largest regional theatre services organizations. A 30-year veteran of various positions in financial, operation and systems management, Harrison specializes in managing large-scale operations, systems and communities across a variety of environments, from traditional business to alternative culture. Harrison began her career in the Electronic Brokerage division at Charles Schwab and making the Burning Man project profitable as part of its senior leadership team. Following that position, Harrison was brought in as a lead strategic and financial manager for the Financial Analysis & Planning division of Bank of America’s World Banking Group, where she unified policies and controls, developed major IT systems and managed upwards of 500 people. Following Bank of America, Harrison turned to the nonprofit sector, serving as the director of business services for Black Rock City, LLC, the parent organization of the Burning Man festival. There, Harrison was integral to transforming the then-fragile organization into the veritable community institution it is today. Harrison also directs her own production company, Post-Playa Productions and has, at various points, done fundraising, managed cash flow, developed material, created a web, PR and social media presence, worked with theatre partners and engaged in audience development.

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