ImprovBoston managing director resigns

Zach Ward, managing director of ImprovBoston, is ending his full-time role July 1.
Zach Ward, managing director of ImprovBoston, is ending his full-time role July 1.

ImprovBoston, the Central Square comedy theater and school, is losing its managing director July 1, according to a letter posted Tuesday to the club’s extended community.

Zach Ward, who came aboard full time in June 2011 as managing director after performing, teaching and directing at the theater in the previous months, will taper off responsibilities in the next three months “back to his original relationship” to provide a transition period, said the president of ImprovBoston’s board of directors, Blair Howell.

“Zach brought to the table an ingenious and aggressive five-year plan to fulfill the board’s vision. We are really very pleased to report that under Zach’s leadership, we have achieved our biggest goals in just two years,” Howell wrote. “Zach’s incredible impact on our overhauled infrastructure, significantly increased audience numbers, capacity Comedy School enrollment, expanded performance opportunities and solid financial standing will have a lasting and positive impact on our theater, performers and audiences for many years to come.”

The change was brought about by his growing family and “other professional callings,” Howell said.

Even while serving as managing director in Cambridge, Ward held on to responsibilities in North Carolina, where he founded and ran the North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival about 14 years ago and the DSI Comedy Theater roughly eight years ago.

As a result of Ward leaving, ImprovBoston would carry out a national search, Howell said, but he stopped short of saying there would be another managing director. He said it would be for a “full-time management staff member.”

In October, the club hired the comedy stage’s first full-time artistic director, Michael Descoteaux, who came on full time in January.

Ward’s time at the theater was not without controversy, as he pursued an agenda of protecting its intellectual property – motivated by one or more board members, in one telling of the story – and sparked clashes with two comedy festivals and a boycott by many area stand-up comedians.

Howell said Ward’s departure and other ImprovBoston community issues would be talked about at a 6:30 p.m. Wednesday town hall meeting at the club, 40 Prospect St., Central Square.

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