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Blackfriars Theatre Announces New Executive Director

Located in the heart of downtown Rochester, Blackfriars Theatre is a mid-sized professional theatre that has entertained audiences for 73-years.

Blackfriars Theatre is ushering in a new era with a move to a dual leadership model helmed by recently-announced new artistic director Brynn Tyszka and the organization's first-ever executive director, Mary Tiballi Hoffman, who has served as the company's Development Director for the last six years.

Both Tyszka and Hoffman officially step into their new roles on August 1, 2022. The pair are the first female-identifying leadership team in Blackfriars's 73-year history. The organization was previously run by Artistic & Managing Director Danny Hoskins for seven years following the 35-year tenure of John Haldoupis.

Hoffman has been promoted to her new position following her accomplishments as the theatre's Development Director. Over the last six years, she has helped oversee the tremendous growth of Blackfriars Theatre, diversifying the company's revenue streams with the creation and oversight of multiple new lines of contributed income which increased the organization's annual operating budget from $150,000 to $440,000 over the first four years of her tenure. In addition to her work as the fundraiser for the company, Hoffman has taken an active hand in the creation of new programming (including Imagination Station with Mrs. Kasha Davis, an enormously popular free drag story hour series founded in 2017 and developed into a children's television show in 2021), community partnerships, and the overall culture of the organization.

When she assumes the role August 1, she will manage day-to-day operations for the theatre. Hoffman will continue to lead all fundraising programs, as well as have a more involved role in marketing, financial and organizational strategy, and community engagement initiatives.

"As we begin to write the next chapter for Blackfriars, I cannot think of a better person to take on the role of executive director. Mary's dedication and past results show a desire, aptitude, and strong drive to take this theatre to new places. With our new leadership in place, I cannot wait to see how, while respecting the past, we move into the future," says Board President Jason Tortorici.

Outgoing Artistic & Managing Director, Danny Hoskins, adds "For the past six seasons, Mary and I have been running the theatre in tandem - with a two-person staff, it's impossible not to have your hands in every corner of the organization - and she's been a driving force, financially, artistically and developmentally, in shaping our past six years. Mary has the pulse and the heart of this theatre in her blood and transitioning her to executive leadership is the smartest decision Blackfriars can make at this moment in time." He adds, "She has a personal and caring relationship with our patrons and artists and a strong and clear vision for the future of the company. That's the type of leader you want at the helm of a small, scrappy, community-driven and artistically-ambitious organization like Blackfriars. I'm thrilled for her and for the Blackfriars community and I look forward to the exciting new journey she'll take us all on!"

Prior to her appointment as Blackfriars Theatre's Development Director in 2016, Hoffman spent five years as a fundraiser at Geva Theatre Center, where she managed a portfolio of over $800,000 in foundation, government and corporate contributions each year and led planning efforts for the annual Summer Curtain Call fundraising gala. She has worked as a grant writer for The Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre and as the Academy Ball coordinator for The Academy of Music and The Philadelphia Orchestra Association. Hoffman's passion for arts administration is deeply rooted in her experiences as an artist. For 15 years, Hoffman performed extensively with Rochester Children's Theatre, JCC CenterStage and Blackfriars Theatre. Like her colleague Tyszka, she is a proud graduate of Nazareth College's Theatre Arts program. A member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, she has previously served as Board Vice President for TheatreROCS and currently serves on the Board of The Friends of Irondequoit Public Library.

"What an unbelievable privilege it is, to pick up the baton from Danny and Jack, and carry it forward with my friend and new partner Brynn," Hoffman says. "I am excited and eager to continue to this work, and find new ways to elevate the Blackfriars experience for our patrons, artists and community-at-large."

Located in the heart of downtown Rochester, Blackfriars Theatre is a mid-sized professional theatre that has entertained audiences for 73-years. The company's mission is to enrich, entertain and inspire the Rochester community through exceptional theatrical arts while engaging local talent. Each year, a six-show season runs from September through May in the intimate 126-seat theatre at 795 E. Main Street. www.blackfriars.org




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