Suffolk Theater’s first executive director is ‘let go’

Downtown Riverhead, Suffolk Theater, East End Arts
BARBARELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Former theater executive director Bob Spiotto inside the renovated downtown Riverhead theater, near the main stage, before the theater re-opened last year.

On the heels of what Suffolk Theater officials have described as a shift of focus from nightly events to larger, weekend events, the theater has parted ways with a top executive.

Executive Director Bob Spiotto was hired in July 2012 after a long tenure with Hofstra University, but was recently released, theater officials said Monday.

“As part of the re-organization and re-structuring efforts of the Suffolk Theater, it is unfortunate we had to let Mr. Spiotto go,” said the theater’s general manager, Anna Maria Villa, who was hired last month. “He is a fine professional and had contributed much of himself to the theater.”

Mr. Spiotto could not be immediately reached for comment.

A Holbrook resident and former executive producer and art director for Hofstra University’s Hofstra Entertainment program for nearly 22 years, Mr. Spiotto was hired by Suffolk Theater owners Bob and Dianne Castaldi to run the theater’s programming.

He came on board during the renovation phase of the historic theater, which re-opened in February.

Ms. Villa, who was hired July 22, said the theater is not hiring another executive director.

Ms. Villa was hired as the executive director of Riverhead’s Industrial Development Agency in August 2009, a position she held until September 2010, when the IDA board voted 4 — 1 to terminate her employment.

At the time, IDA chair Kathy Wojciechowski said the move was “not about Anna.”

“We decided to terminate the independent consultant agreement that we had with her and we’re going in another direction, which is to hire a full-time person,” Ms. Wojciechowski said in a 2010 interview.

The IDA offers a number of tax breaks and other incentives aimed at attracting businesses to the area. Its budget is entirely funded by feed paid by the businesses it assists.

Previous to working for the IDA, Ms. Villa, who was born in Italy and grew up in Rochester, N.Y., spent a few years running her own marketing and consulting firm, which developed marketing strategies and sales programs for small to mid-sized businesses and non-profit firms.

She has a degree in business and economics from Empire State College, and also worked as a disc jockey, a singer, a civil service investigator, a television reporter in Italy and a behind-the-scenes worker in Italy’s National Theatre Company.

[email protected]