Thomas Bankston has been providing artistic leadership for Dayton Opera since 1996. From 1996 to 2001, his wide-ranging knowledge of the field of opera was shared between Dayton Opera and Cincinnati Opera. With the 2001–2002 season, he assumed the position of Artistic Director for Dayton Opera on a full-time basis, and in 2004, he was named General & Artistic Director of Dayton Opera. With responsibility for the selection of artists, creative and production staffs, season productions, and repertory for Dayton Opera, he brings to that position his many years of expertise in the field of opera, ranging from his experience as a singer to his varied and extensive experience as an arts administrator.
Kathleen Clawson officially joined the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance in 2020 as Dayton Opera Artistic Director Designate. She has been inspiring Dayton Opera with her creativity and leadership for over 12 years as Stage Director for 15 performances, including most recently an imaginative staging of Salome to close the 2018-2019 season and a lively production of the beloved La Cenerentola in 2020. Concurrent with her time with Dayton Opera, Kathleen has worked for the Santa Fe Opera for over 18 seasons and is the Associate Director of their Apprentice Singer Program and Director of the Young Voices of the Santa Fe Opera. She has served on the faculty of the University of New Mexico Department of Theatre and Dance since 1997, where she teaches courses in musical theater.