Imperial's director fired

Annette M. Drowlette/Staff
Lara Plocha: Imperial Theater's executive director, named in July 2004, had been on paid leave since March, citing family issues.

The Imperial Theatre board of directors has voted to terminate the employment of Lara Plocha, the theater's executive director.

Board President Paul Brewer said Ms. Plocha's termination Monday was for performance issues.

"There were goals that were given to Lara back in January, and she did not meet those goals," Mr. Brewer said.

Ms. Plocha has been on paid leave from the Imperial since March, citing family issues. Mr. Brewer said an audit of the Imperial's books was under way but that it was routine when an employee of Ms. Plocha's stature is fired.

"It's our policy to do an audit," he said. "It's currently in the process of getting done."

Ms. Plocha was named executive director in July 2004. Before that, she served as the theater's director of operations. During Ms. Plocha's tenure, the theater had a new marquee installed, began the popular Southern Fried Flicks Film Festival and booked comedy, classical, family and world music concert series.

"It would be unnatural for me not to be disappointed by this," Ms. Plocha said. "The Imperial has been like another child to me. But it is the board's prerogative."

Although Ms. Plocha said she'll miss being at the Imperial, she said she will remain a presence downtown. She and her husband own a business, the boutique Blue Magnolia, on Broad Street.

"This will give me more time," she said, "more time for the store, more time to work with the Downtown Augusta Alliance, and more time for my precious children."

Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or steven.uhles@augustachronicle.com.