Playground Stage

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Staff and Board of Directors

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Leslie Putnam - Executive Director

Leslie Putnam grew up in the Buncombe County school system, earned a degree in Musical Theatre from Western Carolina University and has worked professionally as an actor, director, administrator, choreographer, costumer, and an array of other hats throughout her career. Her theatre education career began while she trained under the education department at Wayside Theatre in Middletown VA. She then served for six years as the Head of Early Childhood Development at one of the nation's leading children's theatre: Adventure Theatre in the Washington DC area. She continues to be an active teaching artist with a national leader in arts education: Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning through the Arts. Through Leslie's leadership, we at Playground Stage wish to bring quality theatre arts to the children of the Asheville/Buncombe County area.

Emily McCurry - Board President

Emily McCurry is a native of Western NC. A Financial Advisor with Edward Jones, Emily holds a MBA from Western Carolina University. When not working in the financial industry, Emily performs professionally with local WNC theatres. She served on the HART Theatre’s Board of Directors from 2014-2017. Emily lives and works in Waynesville, NC with her husband, cocker spaniel, and two cats.

Amanda Farooqi - Board Secretary

Amanda Farooqi grew up in the arts of Asheville and Buncombe County.  At Asheville High school, Amanda became heavily involved in the theater, dance, and choral programs, and then continued to study at Western Carolina University where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Theater.  After college, Amanda spent 4 years as the Production Manager of Parkway Playhouse in Burnsville, NC, and also served as an educator/production director for Parkway Playhouse Jr.  Since then, Amanda has stepped into a second career and works as an attorney, having settled down in Huntersville, NC, with her husband, Imran.  Even in a brand new field, Amanda recognizes the work ethic and skills that she was blessed enough to glean from her experience in theater, and is beyond proud to be part of an organization that aims to provide that to the next generations!

Travis Lane - Board Treasurer

Travis Lane moved to Asheville from Washington D.C. where he worked in the credit union world. During his time there as a business intelligence analyst he received the Miriam Lieb Emerging Leader Award from the MD/DC Credit Union Association. When he wasn’t crunching data he could be found volunteering at the local children’s theatre by selling concessions, gluing, cutting, building, and chaperoning the occasional field trip where he continues to expand his knowledge of show tunes. He is excited to do his part to give back to his new community here in Asheville.