BWW Feature: PTC's Chris Massimine Named National Performing Arts Action Association Humanitarian
And he's a humanitarian, too...
At age 27, Chris Massimine made news when named CEO of the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene as the youngest executive to oversee the activities of a professional, multimillion-dollar performing arts institution. He's just become Managing Director of Pioneer Theatre Company.
A major theater organization has announced the singular honor of Massimine as recipient of the 2019 Humanitarian of the Year Award.
"Christopher Massimine was the clear choice," said National Performing Arts Action Association Chair Dan Richards in a statement. "He is a very fine arts executive with a proven track record of putting society's welfare at the forefront of discussion, creating far reaching and meaningful programs, and leading initiatives that have benefited diverse communities. He understands our responsibility to the future as citizens of the world."
He receives the award for a culmination of his humanitarian work including serving as the executive producer of the Yiddish "Fiddler on the Roof" run with the National Yiddish Theater, which "notably contributed to socially impactful awareness campaigns to diffuse antisemitism, gun violence and xenophobia," added Richards.
In addition, Massimine was co-founder of the arts activism organization the Immigrant Arts Coalition. He's also held special advisory positions within the New York City and State administrations, where he helped to expand governmental cultural funding and distribution. Through his work Massimine has partnered with organizations including BC/EFA, ART/NY, The Dramatists Guild, NYFA and Robin Hood participating in relief fundraising, arts advocacy, diversity inclusion and cultural accountability. His leadership in the national arts community was celebrated this past winter by The National Theatre Conference, which awarded the National Yiddish Theater the Outstanding Theatre Award, and recognized Massimine for extensive social advancement.
"I'm floored. When I heard the news from NPAAA I was speechless," Massimine said in response, with typical modesty. "I never would've thought I'd be on the radar (let alone shortlist) of a political action committee for work I just do because I think it's the right thing to do. This is probably the biggest and most unexpected honor I've had to date. I just called my wife and cried."
And he encourages other theater-creators to consider ways they can be of service.
"I think it's our responsibility to take measures into our own hands to ensure we do part," he said. "If we can't be decent human beings, what's the point? If we want a better tomorrow, we have to start today. My advice is don't think about it, just do it. It'll come more naturally than you might expect. We're here once, why not make it count."
Activism and humanitarianism is a responsibility he shares with the theater community.
"The Industry needs to be present and respond to the world around it," Massimine explained. "For the most part, I think we as a whole do a very good job and there's always room to strive for better. Tell stories that matter. Inspire people to defy apathy. Live life giving a damn and hold fast to integrity for the entirety of the journey."