If you’re looking for Marty Van Kleeck at the Bath House Cultural Center, you’ll most often find her behind the scenes.

She became the manager of the center in January, overseeing the operation of the building and all of its events and performances.

“[The Bath House] seemed like the perfect opportunity to blend my background,” says Van Kleeck, who was associated with the Granbury Opera House for 30 years. “I love the idea of the Bath House – a community cultural center.”

She had visited the Bath House for performances and when she took the manager position, she knew it was already a cultural gem, offering some of the best local theater and art shows in Dallas.

“I don’t want to change what the Bath House is,” Van Kleeck says.

She just wants everyone else to know what it is, including people who live and work right in our neighborhood. Van Kleeck recently received a call from someone asking where the Bath House is located. He was calling from an office building on White Rock Lake and had just been jogging there, never realizing that the Bath House is situated along White Rock’s shore on East Lawther.

To get the word out, Van Kleeck has decided to focus her energy on marketing and promotion. Several independent theater companies use the Bath House for productions, promoting each play on their own. Van Kleeck plans to market the plays together, as a season. She wants to create and distribute brochures and get on the speaker’s circuit, talking to community organizations about the center’s events and plays.

“We’re trying to nurture those companies,” Van Kleeck says.

She and her staff currently are preparing for the Festival of Independent Theatres, their biggest event of the year. For three weeks in July and early August, nine companies will perform 10 one-act plays in a rotating repertoire. More than 2,000 people will visit the Bath House during the festival.

“I think the thing that’s the most exciting is there’s constant activity,” Van Kleeck says. “Being able to guide that is thrilling.”

Graeme Bice, the Bath House’s Cultural Programs Coordinator, says Van Kleeck is an effective leader working to make the Bath House a destination.

“She’s been great since she started,” Bice says.

Whether she’s on stage or working behind it, Van Kleeck loves it.

“There’s just an excitement and enthusiasm you can’t hold back,” she says.

FESTIVAL OF INDEPENDENT THEATRES

WHAT/Nine local theater companies will perform 10 plays, each one-hour long

WHEN/July 13 through Aug. 15; 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; 2 p.m., 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturdays; and 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Sundays

WHERE/Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther

TICKETS/$12-$16; $49 for three-week pass and $49 four-week pass

TO PURCHASE/214.528.5576 or bathhousecultural.com/FIT2007.html