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Mass Cultural Council Names Michael J. Bobbitt Next Executive Director

Bethann Steiner, Public Affairs Director

Photo: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo.

The governing board of the Mass Cultural Council announces today that Michael J. Bobbitt will serve as the Agency’s next Executive Director.

Bobbitt, currently the Artistic Director of the New Repertory Theatre in Watertown, MA, will officially join the Agency on February 1, 2021, thereby becoming the most senior cultural official in the Commonwealth.

“The Council’s search for our next Executive Director truly left no stone unturned,” said Nina Fialkow, Chair, Mass Cultural Council. “We are delighted Michael will join us in February and are eager to begin this new period together. I am confident the Agency will continue to lead and serve the Massachusetts cultural sector impactfully under his direction.”

Bobbitt was identified as the preferred candidate of the Council’s Search Task Force through an extensive, nationwide search led by Arts Consulting Group. The recommendation to hire, made by Chair Nina Fialkow, was enthusiastically endorsed by Vice Chair Marc Carroll and the members of the Search Task Force, and formally accepted this morning by a unanimous vote of the governing Council during a Special Meeting.

“The outstanding efforts of ACG to market our position to arts and cultural leaders across the nation led to several dozen qualified applicants,” said Vice Chair Carroll. “The Search Task Force was presented with a phenomenal talent pool, and because of Michael’s vision for the future and passion for arts and culture, he stood out as our clear choice to lead the Agency. It is a pleasure to welcome him as the next Executive Director of Mass Cultural Council.”

“I’m a strong believer in the power of culture and know the arts play a vital role in bettering all lives,” said Michael J. Bobbitt. “I’m extremely excited to join the outstanding team at Mass Cultural Council. In this role I will look to everyone involved: the creative community, consumers, citizens, and government partners to help the Agency catalyze growth and drive robust economic development. By joining Mass Cultural Council, I hope to broaden and amplify the beneficial impacts of the cultural sector for all who are living, working, and learning statewide.”

The search for a new Executive Director was launched by the governing Council upon the retirement of Anita Walker on June 30, 2020. Since July, Mass Cultural Council has been led by Acting Executive Director/Deputy Director David T. Slatery, in close collaboration with his Senior Leadership Team: Operations Director Jen Lawless and Public Affairs Director Bethann Steiner.

“We are thrilled to welcome Michael to Mass Cultural Council and look forward to working with such an engaging and accomplished leader,” said Acting Executive Director Slatery. “Massachusetts’ cultural sector is dealing with massive economic devastation from COVID-19, while simultaneously engaging in challenging and important conversations to understand how to collectively 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.”

About Michael J. Bobbitt
Michael J. Bobbitt, Executive Director of Mass Cultural Council as of February 1, 2021, has dedicated his professional career to arts leadership. He is a director, choreographer, and playwright.

Since March 2019 he has served as the Artistic Director of the New Repertory Theatre in Watertown, MA; immediately prior he held the same position at the Adventure Theatre-MTC in Maryland for twelve years. While in Maryland Bobbitt led the organization to be a respected theatre/training company in the DC region, as well as a nationally influential professional Theatre for Young Audiences. He led a merger with Musical Theater Center, increased the organizational budget and audience, commissioned new works by noted playwrights, transferred two shows to Off-Broadway, built an academy, and earned dozens of Helen Hayes Award Nominations, garnering eight wins.

Bobbitt gained extensive experience in nonprofit arts management by training at Harvard Business School’s Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management, The National Arts Strategies Chief Executive Program, and Cornell University’s Diversity and Inclusion Certification Program. He has served as an Associate Professor of Theatre at Boston Conservatory at Berklee and volunteered on numerous nonprofit boards, including Non-Profit Village, Maryland Citizens for the Arts, Leadership Montgomery, Weissberg Foundation, Watertown Public Art Commission, and ArtsBoston. He is a member of MASSCreative’s Policy Committee.

Bobbitt has directed/choreographed at Arena Stage, Ford’s Theatre, The Shakespeare Theatre Company, Olney Theatre Center, Studio Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Center Stage, Roundhouse Theatre, The Kennedy Center, and the Washington National Opera. His national and international credits include the NY Musical Theatre Festival, Mel Tillis 2001, La Jolla Playhouse, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, Jefferson Performing Arts Center, and the Olympics. As a writer his work was chosen for the NYC International Fringe Festival and The New York and Musical Theatre Festival. He has plays published by Concord Theatricals/Rogers and Hammerstein Theatricals, Broadway Publishing and Plays for Young Audiences. Bobbitt has received the Excel Leadership Award (Center for Nonprofit Advancement), the Emerging Leader Award (County Executive’s Excellence in the Arts and Humanities), and Person of the Year Award (Maryland Theatre Guide).

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