Merrimack Repertory Theater Welcomes New Executive Director

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Merrimack Repertory Theatre named Bonnie J. Butkas as its new Executive Director. She is expected to begin work at MRT in the fall.

Butkas comes to MRT from the Rochester Institute of Technology, where she served as Senior Director of Foundation Relations.

“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,” said Butkas.

MRT engaged The Arts Consulting Group out of Boston to conduct the candidate search for the position.

“We were so fortunate to have a very large pool of exceptionally strong candidates to choose from. In the end, Bonnie Butkas clearly stood out as being the most qualified among a distinguished pool of finalists,” said Search Committee Chair Stephen Irish. “The MRT Search Committee was unanimous in its selection of Bonnie as the new Executive Director of MRT. We are looking forward to the passion, experience, and professionalism Bonnie will bring to the role.”

Butkas joins Artistic Director Sean Daniels, now beginning his third season at MRT, who 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’s background

Bonnie J. Butkas most recently served as the Senior Director of Foundation Relations at Rochester Institute of Technology, where she led the university’s strategic efforts to secure funding from private and family foundations. During her tenure, RIT secured its first-significant 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, NY 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. In New York City, she served as the Director of External Relations at the York Theatre Company, the 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. Prior to moving to NYC, she was the Managing Director of Bristol Valley Theater in Naples, NY. Butkas was raised in the Finger Lakes region of Western New York and holds degrees in Journalism and Dance from the University at Buffalo. Butkas volunteers with the Association of Fundraising Professionals of Genesee Valley, Girls Scouts of Western New York, and the YWCA of Rochester & Monroe County. In Fall 2016, she co-founded Action Together Rochester, an all-volunteer organization that fights for progressive causes in the greater Rochester region.