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Culture notes: Zoo Atlanta to memorialize Ivan the gorilla; new executive director at Actor’s Express

TRIBUTE
Remembering Ivan the gorilla

A public memorial service for Ivan, the gorilla who passed away last month at age 50, will take place 11 a.m. Sept. 8 at Zoo Atlanta, 800 Cherokee Ave. S.E. Ivan came to Atlanta from Washington in 1994, after spending his adult life to that point in a cage in a Tacoma shopping center. Ivan’s remains will be cremated and returned to his original owners in Tacoma, in accordance with their wishes. BO EMERSON

THEATER
Actor’s Express’ new business leader

Nan Barnett, founding member and long-time managing director of Florida Stage in south Florida, is the new executive director at Actor’s Express.

The West Palm Beach troupe that was nationally recognized for producing new plays went out of business after 24 years in 2011, filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. Actor’s Express, which opened its 25th season in late August with “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” is recovering from setbacks of its own after an emergency fund-raising drive kept its doors from closing last year.

“She is fiercely smart — and one of the great advocates for new plays in the American theater,” artistic director Freddie Ashley said in a statement of Barnett, whom he met five years ago through their involvement in the National New Play Network. “I am very excited to roll up my sleeves with her and move Actor’s Express into its next 25 years.”

Actor’s Express board chairman Bruce Cohen praised Barnett as being “fiscally astute,” adding that she “understands the importance of financial stability in this ever-shifting environment of the arts.” HOWARD POUSNER

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