(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – Tony Simotes — recently ousted as artistic director at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, which also recently lost its executive director and top board members, leaving the organization seemingly without leadership – has made a stunning landing on solid ground with the announcement that he has been named managing director and artistic associate at Berkshire Theatre Group in Pittsfield and Stockbridge. It’s a coup for BTG and a stunning blow for Shakespeare & Company, of which Simotes was one of the cofounders. Berkshire Theatre Group and Artistic Director/CEO Kate Maguire said that Simotes – beloved by many in the theater and cultural community in the Berkshires, and touted as a dark horse candidate to save Shakespeare & Company from its seeming tailspin — will assume the position with BTG on March 30, 2015.
In a prepared statement, Maguire says, “I have known Tony Simotes for over twenty-five years. He is a respected theatre artist, administrator and educator. Tony is regarded in the Berkshires as one of our caretakers, an individual who has helped transform the cultural landscape. For as long as I have known him, he has brought integrity, joy and curiosity to whatever position he has held—whether it be as fundraiser, director, stage combat teacher, actor or artistic leader. This is an important moment; our dedicated staff and Board of Trustees at Berkshire Theatre Group join me in welcoming Tony to BTG as our new Managing Director. “
“Tony will also join our acclaimed roster of Artistic Associates. I am looking forward to partnering with Tony to continue strengthening our beloved theatre through our endeavors to bring the highest quality of work and entertainment to our stages, and to enrich local students’ lives through transformative arts in education programs. Tony Simotes and I have long shared the belief that the arts open doorways of growth and I am proud to begin this new and exciting chapter in the story of these renowned theatres now merged as Berkshire Theatre Group.”
Ruth Blodgett, BTG Board President, says, “When Kate approached the Board about hiring Tony to add to our BTG team, we were thrilled. He has already made many contributions to the Berkshires, and we are excited to have him support Kate as she leads BTG to put on great shows that we can all enjoy and also contribute to our critical education and community development mission. Tony has an impressive track record and we are so pleased to have him stay in the Berkshires and become an integral part of our work.”
Tony Simotes says “It is such an honor to be a part of Berkshire Theater Group. It means the world to me to have the trust and support of one of the Berkshires’ most successful and storied arts organizations, its trustees and Artistic Director, CEO, Kate Maguire. When Kate called me, I immediately said yes. I’ve known her from my earliest days working here in the Berkshires, and over the years we’ve had the opportunity to share our passion for the theatre as colleagues, and most importantly, as friends. To be able to continue the work I started here in the Berkshires, and to be able to assist one of America’s most celebrated theaters, is a true blessing. I share Kate’s vision of what BTG has meant and will continue to mean to the American theatre. Her trust and confidence in what we can achieve together is the very stuff of what makes this adventure of ‘a life in the theatre’ worthwhile.”
Tony Simotes is the former Artistic Director and President of Shakespeare & Company, a professional company he helped found in 1978. Tony was also an actor, director and a Master Teacher of Fight and Movement for the company. As the Artistic Director and President, he was instrumental in helping to manage the company through its recent financial stress to greater stability. With strategic help and the company’s hard work he proudly handed off the organization and its artistic success to others to see it forward. Simotes also works as an actor and is a proud member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA and SDC as a professional director. He spent six years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he was a full professor and Director of University Theatre.