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Introducing Sara Nealy

Kahilu Theatre Appoints Sara Nealy as new Executive Director


A person smiling for the cameraDescription automatically generated with medium confidenceAfter a nationwide search, the board of directors of The Kahilu Theatre Foundation is pleased to announce the appointment of Sara Nealy as Executive Director.

Sherm Warner, Board President said, “On behalf of the board, our staff and our search committee, I am excited to welcome Sara Nealy to the Kahilu Theatre ‘ohana as our Executive Director. Her background in arts administration, her imagination, her knowledge of our community and her respect for Hawaiian culture guided our deliberations as we chose Sara to be our co-leader. In partnership with Artistic Director Chuck Gessert, Sara will lead Kahilu Theatre as it meets the challenges of the present and embarks on a future that offers broader access to our rich offerings in performing arts, visual arts and arts educational programming.”


“I feel tremendously honored to join the board of directors, staff, and stakeholders to sustain and nourish this jewel, especially at this time of challenge. The Kahilu Theatre serves as a cultural hub and the artistic heart of the community,” said Sara Nealy.

During Sara’s leadership of two San Francisco Bay Area arts organizations, she implemented critical financial management, expanded engagement with diverse cultural communities, developed strategic artistic collaborations and partnerships, and introduced an increasingly ambitious program of productions.

Sara was selected by Musical America for their “MA:30 Profiles in Courage” roster for her cogent leadership.

Before moving to San Francisco, Sara resided with her family in North Kohala, where her children attended Parker School, and Sara danced with Halau ‘o Ha’alelea under the direction of the late beloved kumu hula, Raylene Ha’alelea Kawaiae’a Lancaster.

Sara’s work in Hawai’i included marketing communications and film production for a variety of cultural organizations and corporate clients, particularly for the Earl and Doris Bakken Foundation, North Hawaii Community Hospital, Nā Kālai Wa’a, the Kohala Center, Friends of the Future, Five Mountains Hawai’i, and Cyanotech. In 2009, she was the Director of Sales and Marketing at Kona Village Resort.

“I am looking forward to creating even more access to the arts for our community,” said Nealy, “and to working with Artistic Director, Chuck Gessert, to develop the exciting possibilities presented by the new Kahilu.TV streaming programming.”

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