Kristen Coury, CEO and producing artistic director of Gulfshore Playhouse, Naples’ premier professional regional theater, has been appointed to The Greater Naples Chamber board of directors for a three-year term beginning June 1. The Greater Naples Chamber is the largest of 25 in the five-county Southwest Florida region, and recognized as one of the top 300 chambers in Florida.
In addition to Coury’s appointment on The Greater Naples Chamber board of directors, she is a former board member of the Theatre Communications Group, the national service organization for the professional, not-for-profit American Theatre. She is also a frequent investor in Broadway productions, including the Tony Award-winning revival of “Once On This Island.” Coury previously worked on Broadway for Walt Disney Theatrical’s production of “Beauty and the Beast” and for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s company, The Really Useful Group. She has also produced an album and directed a feature film, “Friends and Family,” which was released around the U.S. and Europe.
Coury has received numerous recognitions, including a previous Top 40 Professionals Under 40 by Gulfshore Business, a Star in the Arts by the United Arts Council of Collier County, one of the Men and Women of the Year by Gulfshore Life in 2013, and named a Leading Lady by Naples Illustrated in 2018. She is also a graduate of The Greater Naples Chamber’s 2020 Leadership Collier class.
As the founder, CEO and producing artistic director of Gulfshore Playhouse, Coury’s leadership has cultivated the Playhouse to grow debt-free to an annual budget of $4.2 million, while also undertaking construction of the 40,000-square-foot Baker Theatre and Education Center on the Gulfshore Playhouse Cultural Campus. Destined to be an iconic landmark at the gateway to downtown Naples, the Gulfshore Playhouse Cultural Campus will feature two new state-of-the-art theaters – a 350-seat Mainstage Theatre and a 125-seat Studio Theatre – and spur more than $20 million annually in anticipated economic activity within the City of Naples.
Coury has directed over 35 Playhouse productions to date, including “My Fair Lady,” “The Merchant of Venice,” “Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol,” “The Price” and the world premiere of “The God Game.”
“Serving on the board for The Greater Naples Chamber is an honor,” said Coury. “I’m so proud to collaborate with other business leaders in making Collier County the best place to live, work and play.”
Under Coury’s direction, Gulfshore Playhouse also recently raised $1.4 million at the annual Gala, which will support the creation of professional theater and provide for continued access to live, performing arts for the community. The Playhouse will also continue their 2021 season next month with the opening of “Maytag Virgin” on March 20, starring real-life spouses Karen and Ian Merrill Peakes, and directed by Broadway veteran Jeffrey Binder. The theater is one of only 20 organizations nationally to receive Actors’ Equity Association approval for productions since the pandemic.
Gulfshore Playhouse is passionately committed to enriching the cultural landscape of the region by producing professional theatre to the highest artistic standards and providing unique educational opportunities to diverse groups of people in a spirit of service, adventure and excitement. The Playhouse’s work is inspired by a belief in the magic of theatre to expand the imagination, challenge the senses, provoke discussion, and revitalize in audiences an understanding of their common humanity. This belief drives the care with which Gulfshore Playhouse treats its artists, audiences, students, staff, and members of the greater community.