December 17, 2017
 
Bonnie Butkas to Be Exec. Dir. of Merrimack Repertory Theatre

Bonnie Butkas
September 17, 2017 — The Merrimack Repertory Theatre, a Lowell nonprofit that has served as the Merrimack Valley’s professional theatre company for nearly four decades, yesterday announced that Bonnie J. Butkas has been appointed executive director.

Butkas succeeds Elizabeth Kegley, who served in the position for three and a half years until she resigned in January.

Butkas joins the Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), where she served as senior director of foundation relations, and plans to start in the job later this fall.

MRT Artistic Director Sean Daniels said, “Bonnie Butkas is the greatest team builder and fundraiser I’ve ever encountered in my 20-plus years of working in this field. I have no doubt that now with a true partner in Bonnie, we can take MRT to the next level – to be the leader of new play production in the country while making sure our financial health is in expert hands. Leaving a great job at RIT, moving her family – she’s doing a lot because she believes in what MRT is doing and what the true potential of this city is.”

Butkas noted, "I am thrilled to serve Merrimack Repertory Theatre's storied history and to partner with Artistic Director Sean Daniels, whose artistic vision, community partnerships, and creativity have laid the groundwork for the next chapter of MRT. I am grateful to the board of trustees and staff for their support, and I look forward to becoming part of this incredible community.”

At RIS< Butkas led efforts to secure funding from private and family foundations, including gifts from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Henry Luce Foundation.

Prior to RIT, she was the director of development at Geva Theatre Center in Rochester, N.Y., overseeing five years of unprecedented growth in the company’s contributed income and playing a key role in a successful $10 million capital campaign to renovate the building and grow the theatre’s endowment.

She served in a number of capacities in New York City, including director of external relations at the York Theatre Company, director of development and communications at TADA! Youth Theatre, directing assistant on The Lion King on Broadway, and the co-founder of Lexington Dance Collective. Earlier, she was managing director of Bristol Valley Theater in Naples, N.Y.

Butkas earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in journalism and dance from the University at Buffalo and a master's degree in public policy from RIT, where she also is pursuing a Master of Science degree in science, technology, and public policy . In Fall 2016, she co-founded Action Together Rochester, an all-volunteer organization that fights for progressive causes in the greater Rochester region.

Founded in 1979, MRT is known as a leader in producing new plays, especially world and regional premieres. MRT is one of 72 theatres nationwide, and only one of three in Massachusetts, with membership in the League of Resident Theatres.

For the year ending June 30, 2016, MRT reported $2.2 million in revenue, of which $867,000 came from contributions and grants, and $2.3 million in expenses, according to its most recently available federal tax filing.

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