Arts and culture value far exceeds the price of admission to theatre, concert, or museum exhibit. From the Uber ride to the venue, to dinner before, or cocktails after an event, that ticket you buy to an event stimulates the economy in myriad ways. An active arts scene transforms a city or town into cultural and economic hubs where we can together for a shared human experience, through a wide range of artistic expression and diversity of thought. Creating the conditions for a diverse and thriving cultural community takes vision and leadership. Michael Bobbitt and I discuss the necessity of culture to our emotional and economic health, how to make entertainment and the arts accessible to more people, and why he considers himself an artist with a 'Small A.'
Michael J. Bobbitt has dedicated his professional career to arts leadership. He is a theatre director, choreographer, and playwright. On February 1, 2021, he joined Mass Cultural Council as Executive Director, becoming the highest-ranking cultural official in Massachusetts. At the same time, Bobbitt was invited and agreed to serve on the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) Board of Directors.
He has served as the Artistic Director of the New Repertory Theatre in Watertown, MA and Adventure Theatre-MTC in Maryland. At Adventure Theatre Bobbitt led the organization to be a respected theatre/training company in the DC region, and 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 studied 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. An Associate Professor of Theatre at both the Boston Conservatory at Berklee and Howard University, Bobbitt has also volunteered on numerous nonprofit boards, including Maryland Citizens for the Arts, Weissberg Foundation and ArtsBoston.
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/Rodgers 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 Maryland Theatre Guide’s Person of the Year Award.