SPOKANE, Wash. -

There was a big shake up at Spokane's Civic Theatre Friday as its board announced it has fired artistic director Yvonne Johnson after more than eight years.

In a news release the board confirmed it voted to terminate its association with Johnson after years of remarkable service to the community. When reached for comment the director of the board would not elaborate on the decision to let Johnson go and declined to do an interview.

The release said Johnson will explore other opportunities, but Johnson is saying that she was blindsided by this decision, had an exemplary review three weeks ago and is now hoping to get her job back.

The theatre meanwhile said its now searching for Johnson's replacement to "ensure continuation of the theater's recent financial and artistic success."