WATERTOWN, MASS.: New Repertory Theatre has announced that artistic director Michael J. Bobbitt will be leaving the company and joining the Mass Cultural Council as the new executive director, effective Feb. 1, 2021. Bobbitt joins the Massachusetts cultural organization following the retirement of Anita Walker on June 30. Plans for Bobbitt’s New Rep successor have not yet been released.
“This is truly a bittersweet moment for the New Rep family,” said New Rep board chair Jo Trompet in a statement. “We are happy that Michael will now have a role in which his leadership and motivational skills can influence the cultural and artistic communities across our state. And we are proud to have recruited Michael to a state in which he has already made such a great impact. But we are sorry that New Rep itself is losing his brilliant leadership.”
Bobbitt joined New Rep in 2019 after succeeding Jim Petosa, who had been artistic director since 2012. Previously, Bobbitt had served as the artistic director of the Adventure Theatre MTC (Musical Theatre Center) in Maryland for 12 years. While at New Rep, Bobbitt led the company’s anti-racism efforts and pandemic response. According to a New Rep press release, under Bobbitt’s leadership, 74 percent of the artists hired in the last fiscal year were Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC), including six BIPOC playwright commissions and three world premieres. Bobbitt also guided the theatre to increases in attendees, revenue, and contributions.
When he joins the Mass Cultural Council, Bobbitt will succeed acting executive director/deputy director David T. Slatery, who has been leading the organization since Anita Walker retired on June 30. Bobbitt was chosen following a national search led by Arts Consulting Group.
“We are thrilled to welcome Michael to Mass Cultural Council and look forward to working with such an engaging and accomplished leader,” said Slatery in a statement. “Massachusetts’s cultural sector is dealing with massive economic devastation from COVID-19, while simultaneously engaging in difficult conversations to understand how to collectively act to promote equity and ensure access for all. Mass Cultural Council is preparing to lead by example, and Michael is the visionary leader we need to guide the sector through this next chapter.”
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