For the last six years, Michael Gennaro has served as the executive director at Trinity Repertory Co., which was recently named State Theater of Rhode Island and is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
Gennaro’s background is steeped in the creative arts; he was executive director for eight years at Steppenwolf Theatre and the Pennsylvania Ballet, as well as managing director of Ford’s Theatre and producing director and CEO at Paper Mill Playhouse. Additionally, he served on grant panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, Theatre Communications Group and the Doris Duke Foundation.
PBN: Trinity Repertory Co. was recently named the State Theater of Rhode Island. What does this mean for the company moving forward?
GENNARO: Since its earliest beginnings, Trinity Rep has been a theater for the people of Rhode Island and the acknowledgement as the State Theater recognizes our cultural impact on the state and the importance of Trinity Rep as a leader in the arts. Moving forward my hope is that we can also be a voice for all of the arts and artists in Rhode Island and a place that welcomes and promotes the quality and value of other organizations throughout the state.
PBN: Trinity Repertory is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, what would you say are its biggest accomplishments so far?
GENNARO: When you look at the landscape of all theaters in this country, the fact that we have made it to 50 is extraordinary in and of itself because there are only a handful of regional theaters who have reached that milestone. One of our biggest accomplishments is how many children have had their first exposure to the arts at a Trinity Rep performance and how many generations of families keep returning year after year. We are having an open house on Aug. 17 to not only embrace our anniversary but also to celebrate all of the other theaters in the state, many of which were formed by alumni of our acting company and our MFA program with Brown University.
PBN: Why has Trinity Rep maintained its residence program when so many other theaters have not?
GENNARO: One of the founding principles of Trinity Rep – its DNA so to speak, is having a permanent resident company that influences and affects the artistic impulse of the theater. Our company members have chosen Trinity Rep as their artistic home and they both live and work in this community. For that reason they are truly members of the community and not just actors passing through the state. We must be doing something right because in the last few years, more and more regional theaters are creating or restoring a resident company so that the theater and its artists can be a truly integral part of the daily life of the community. •