Longtime Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center (WHBPAC) staff member Julienne Penza-Boone has been named WHBPAC Executive Director.
“I am so honored to be named Executive Director of an institution that I cherish and feel so passionately about,” Penza-Boone shared. “The current times are certainly strange and uncertain, but I am so confident in our community and steadfastly believe that WHBPAC’s best days are ahead.”
Penza-Boone, a Massachusetts native, started out at Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center in 2008 as Arts Education Program Manager. She was named Education Director in 2014, and has served as Interim Executive Director since October 2019.
As Arts Education Program Manager, Penza-Boone helped turn the Arts Education Program into a year-round Arts Academy – with the launch of an after-school theatre program that has welcomed more than 500 students. Open to ages 6 – 18, the program has put on over 25 full-scale productions – many of which Penza-Boone helmed as director.
She also expanded WHBPAC’s summer educational programming – a beloved experience for more than 300 students each year – establishing original workshops such as Teen and Tween Theatre Troupes.
While serving as Education Director, she spearheaded WHBPAC’s School Day Performances Series – a course that highlights performances from around the world.
“Our goal is to make the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center the premier performing arts venue and arts education center on Long Island, while remaining firmly rooted in our community-based values,” Penza-Boone added.
Penza-Boone’s focus has not solely been on budding stars. She also co-created WHBPAC’s landmark creative aging program, Melodies and Memories, an original music and theatre program created to “foster the continuous development of skills and knowledge throughout the lives of older adults.” Additional educational initiatives Penza-Boone has championed include public speaking and music classes for adults.
“Julienne has shown great leadership, and wonderful commitment to the theatre over the past ten years. She was our only choice to lead us through the next evolution for the theatre. Her poise in leading her very loyal staff through this difficult time has been extraordinary,” said WHBPAC Chairman of the Board, James Kuhn.
Penza-Boone earned a BA in Theatre and Sociology from Boston College and an MFA in Performance and Society from Rhode Island College. She resides in Center Moriches with her husband Emmett, daughter Ryleigh, and a miniature schnauzer named Millie.