The downtown landmark Gillioz Theatre has a new executive director, and he's a familiar name in the Springfield performing arts scene.

Jeff Jenkins assumed the leadership duties of the theater Nov. 13, replacing Ryan Rust who served as business manager.

Jenkins, founder of The Skinny Improv, Upside Down Creative Group and The Swan Repertory Theatre Co., said that while previous leadership did a good job running the theater, he was approached by the board of directors for the paid position because the board wanted a new direction for the organization.

"They wanted the theater to be more out in the community," Jenkins said. "Ryan was doing a very good job; the board just needed something else."

Jenkins is responsible for the theater's daily operations, including bookings, promotions, marketing and venue rentals. He said he's ready to build on a "great foundation" already in place, including adding more nationally recognized comedians such as Brian Regan, who performed there last year and is slated to perform again later this year.

Jenkins said he wants to branch out in multiple directions, such as more music acts and partnerships with theaters in Branson.

"I'd like to see a lecture series in there, and then make it available and accessible to arts organizations in town - we'd like to say, 'Here's this beautiful space and we want you to feel comfortable using it,'" Jenkins said. He added that the current partnership with the Moxie to show classic movies at Gillioz will continue as well.