BRISTOL, PA.: Bristol Riverside Theatre (BRT) has announced that founding director Susan D. Atkinson and artistic director Keith Baker will both step down at the end of the 2019-20 season. Atkinson and Baker have served a combined 61 years at the company.
“Susan Atkinson and Keith Baker have been vital to the longevity and success of Bristol,” said William Salerno, chairman of BRT’s board of directors, in a statement. “We are so thankful to have them generously share their vision, leadership, creativity, and dedication for all these years.”
Atkinson founded BRT by acquiring a movie theatre that the Grundy Foundation had intended to demolish in 1984. In addition to bringing a regional theatre to Bucks County, Pa., Atkinson established ArtRageous, a free theatre summer camp for at-risk youth. Atkinson has directed more than 150 productions throughout her career.
“Theatre has been a tremendous influence all throughout my life, and I hope I’ve been able to share that joy,” Atkinson said in a statement. “I’ve been very blessed because I’ve had some of the best to work with for many years, like Keith Baker.”
Baker was hired as an actor at BRT in 1991 and became artistic director in 1995. Baker served as a cultural ambassador of theatre for the U.S. State Department in Armenia. In 2001, he brought Armenian directors to BRT. He has directed more than 90 productions at the company.
“The ways BRT has nurtured me are simply unquantifiable,” Baker said in a statement. “I’ve worked with the most fantastic artists and staff anyone could ask for, and I’m grateful for it.”
BRT has brought critically acclaimed professional theatre to Bucks County since 1986.