ATLANTA: Theatrical Outfit has named Matt Torney to be its new artistic director. Torney currently serves as associate artistic director at Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C., and will relocate to Atlanta to work with departing artistic director Tom Key and managing director Gretchen Butler at the end of the year. Torney will take the reins in June of 2020, when Key steps down after 25 seasons at the helm.
“Our search committee was blown away by the interest in this position, which came from 56 individuals, including several outstanding candidates from Atlanta, as well as cities and states across the country,” said board chairman Ed Laity in a statement. “The quality of the applicants was high-caliber, which made the vetting process very difficult.”
Torney, a native of Belfast, Ireland, has directed on both sides of the Atlantic. His work has been nominated for numerous awards. Before joining Studio Theatre in 2015, he served as director of programming at Origin Theatre in New York and associate director of Rough Magic Theatre Company in Dublin. He relocated to the United States full time in 2006 to complete an MFA in theatre directing at Columbia University.
“Tom has been an inspirational leader and has done incredible work at Theatrical Outfit over the past 25 years,” said Torney in a statement. “I am overjoyed to have his enthusiastic endorsement, and look forward to working with him on a mindful and smooth transition. Our philosophies are aligned and embodied in Theatrical Outfit’s mission to start conversations that matter—conversations that can lead to a more compassionate and just community.”
Key joined Theatrical Outfit in 1995 and spearheaded its move to the Balzer Theatre at Herren’s in 2005. His final season as artistic director at Theatrical Outfit will culminate with a production of his well-known Cotton Patch Gospel, the musical he co-wrote with Russell Treyz and late singer-songwriter Harry Chapin Jr. After he steps down, he will continue to work as a director and actor.
“The response from so many accomplished, inspiring, and committed artists who applied for this job was thrilling,” said Key in a statement. “Matt emerged as a leader who is truly ready to serve our world with the glorious gifts of the theatre. In his already successful and impactful career, he models our values: artistry, community, inclusion, and integrity. He embraces our vision and mission. In short, Matt is a joy. I know deep in my soul, he has the heart, the mind, and the character to take our beloved Theatrical Outfit to its brightest and best level yet.”