Tuesday, June 17, 2014
MERRIMACK REPERTORY THEATRE PREPARES TO CELEBRATE 35 YEARS
Tickets Available to June 21 Gala
Lowell, MA - Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) will celebrate its 35th anniversary at a gala celebration set for Saturday, June 21 at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center. The event will feature dinner, dancing, a look back at the company's history, and special recognition of UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan.
Congresswoman Nicola Tsongas will present the Paul E. Tsongas Award to the chancellor in recognition of his long-time personal support and his continued work to build and expand MRT's partnership with UMass Lowell. Another highlight of the night will be a special look back at the company's history prepared by the Reduced Shakespeare Company® whose "The Complete History of MRT (abridged)," a 10-minute sketch, is being created especially for this event.
The MRT staff and Board of Trustees are looking forward to celebrating with subscribers, donors, and members of the community, some of whom have been a part of Merrimack Repertory Theatre since the beginning. Tickets for the event are available to the general public through June 10 at $150 per person online at www.mrt.org/Gala or by contacting Jeff Prescott at firstname.lastname@example.org or 978-654-7552.
Merrimack Repertory Theatre (originally called Merrimack Regional Theatre) had its genesis when Barbara and Al Abrahamian met John R. Briggs and Mark Kaufman at a summer stock theatre in Salem, NH and created "The Committee for Legitimate Theatre In Lowell." University of Lowell (now UMass Lowell) Chancellor, John Duff, offered Mahoney Hall for the new theatre's home and the company's first season opened on October 23, 1979 with a production of "The Passion of Dracula" by Bob Hall and David Richmond. Mark Kaufman and John R. Briggs were the first Producing Artistic Directors, Barbara Abrahamian was the first Director of Audience Development and Nancy Donahue was the first Board President.
In 1983, the company changed its named to Merrimack Repertory Theatre and moved into Liberty Hall, its current location. Over the years, the company continued to grow and became the professional regional theatre that Merrimack Valley audiences respect and admire today.
In the 1990's, MRT expanded its educational programming. The Partners in Education Program was developed with support from the Ronald M. Ansin Foundation to subsidize student matinee tickets for middle and high school students. The summer program for children, Young Artists at Play (now called MRT's Young Company) was also created to give kids in grades 1-12 opportunities to create and perform live theatre.
Charles Towers was hired in 2001 as the company's fourth Artistic Director. During his tenure, MRT opened The Donahue Center in Bagshaw Mills that houses the theatre's administrative offices, rehearsal hall, and artistic and intern housing. In 2012 the company completed a renovation of the theatre and celebrated the Grand Re-Opening of the renovated 279-seat Nancy L. Donahue Theatre, the Sage Bank Lobby and the Enterprise Bank Box Office in Liberty Hall.
With a history of 35 years of excellence on stage, Merrimack Repertory Theatre is in a strong position to serve the region for many years in the future, working with leading artists from the country to deliver vibrant, contemporary plays that reflect our audience's relationships, challenges and joys.
MRT (Merrimack Repertory Theatre) is one of Massachusetts' most highly-regarded theatre companies and one of only three theatres in the state to be a member of LORT (the League of Resident Theatres) which represents the 74 leading non-profit theatres in America. Under the artistic direction of Charles Towers since 2001, it has become known for producing an eclectic mix of new plays and regional premieres, with an emphasis on writers giving voice to the American experience. Since its founding in 1979, MRT has served as a vital cultural, educational and economic resource for Greater Lowell and its surrounding region.