Florida Repertory Theatre’s longtime Executive Director, John Martin, announces retirement after 23 seasons.

Florida Repertory Theatre’s longtime Executive Director, John Martin, announces retirement after 23 seasons.

Florida Repertory Theatre’s longtime Executive Director, John Martin, announces retirement after 23 seasons.

The North Carolina native joined the staff in 2001 and has steered Florida Rep through tremendous growth, expansion, and challenges.

FORT MYERS, FL, May 2024 – Florida Repertory Theatre’s longtime executive director, John Martin, announced his retirement in April, and will depart the organization after twenty-three years. The board of directors will conduct a national search to fill the position next fall, and Martin plans to remain involved in an emeritus capacity to ensure a smooth transition.

“My love and devotion for Florida Rep, my many extraordinary colleagues, our tireless volunteers, and magnificent contributors are unmeasured,” said Martin. “It has been my true pleasure to serve and I have enjoyed everything we have done together ensuring a brilliant future. I thank everyone along with the City of Palms, the State of Florida, and the thousands of Florida Rep audiences who have journeyed with me. I love Fort Myers!”

Martin is a North Carolina native and a graduate of Appalachian State University and he holds a JD from the City University of New York Law School. Before coming to Florida Rep, he worked in community organizing, public administration for the New York City Human Rights Commission, law, and nonprofit development. Martin remained connected to the theatre industry throughout his career, and served as managing director at Theatre Rhinoceros in San Francisco for three seasons before coming to Fort Myers. In addition, Martin has served on nonprofit boards in New York, California, and Florida, and served as a panelist for the Florida Division of Arts & Culture for many years.

“John has been both a mentor and a joy to work alongside,” said Board Chair, Janice Danzig.
He always has a smile and time to talk – no matter what else he may be doing. He has been influential in securing grants, balancing the budget (which on occasion has been very difficult), and especially keeping everyone on track. He is my hero!”

Martin’s administrative leadership steered the company through a period of growth from a seasonal employer of 10-20 employees to over fifty year-round, seasonal staff, and interns, as well as over one hundred visiting actors, directors, designers, and stage managers the company employs each season. During Martin’s tenure, the company’s annual operating budget increased from $1.2 million in 1998 to its now nearly $4.8 million level.

“It has been an absolute honor to serve next to John Martin,” said Producing Artistic Director, Greg Longenhagen. “I cannot imagine having navigated the last five years with the pandemic and then Hurricane Ian without John’s wisdom, patience, and fortitude. John’s leadership over the last twenty-three years has been key to Florida Rep’s survival and endurance. He has been a true partner to me and a stabilizing force for this theatre company.”

In 2018, Martin made sure the company stayed on course through a leadership transition, and the months-long process resulted in a new organizational structure and a renewed commitment to a healthier, more transparent company culture. In the fall of 2018, the board named Greg Longenhagen the company’s next Producing Artistic Director and Martin Florida Rep’s first Executive Director, and under new artistic and executive leadership, the company’s history changed again in 2019 with the purchase of the Historic Arcade Theatre and Bradford block.

After two seasons together, Longenhagen and Martin were called upon again to lead Florida Rep through back-to-back crises: a pandemic and Hurricane Ian.

After one full season open after COVID related closures, Hurricane Ian’s wind and flood waters inundated Florida Rep’s downtown performance venues, rehearsal hall, and administrative offices in 2022. In the aftermath of the flood, Martin again worked alongside Longenhagen and the theatre’s staff to reopen the 2022-2023 season on time. In the ensuing months, Martin and Longenhagen led efforts to secure relief funding and manage considerable insurance claims to aid long-term recovery.

Florida Rep is in a strong position at the end of Martin’s 23-year tenure as executive and managing leader of the organization, and he leaves behind a legacy for shrewd financial planning and an open, caring company culture. During his years with the company, Martin was a nurturing presence for countless staff, interns, and artists, and was a champion for better working conditions and equitable treatment. His clear-eyed executive leadership and generosity of spirit made the company’s artistic growth possible over the past two decades, and his impact will be felt for years to come.

The Board of Directors has announced a national search for Florida Rep’s next Executive Director, and plans to interview candidates through the summer with a candidate joining the staff in the fall. Applicants have through May 31 to apply, and information about the search can be found on Florida Rep’s website at https://www.floridarep.org/jobs/executive-director/.

More About Florida Repertory Theatre

Florida Repertory Theatre is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization committed to providing a first-class regional theatre for Southwest Florida; to creating, nurturing, and developing a diverse ensemble of theatre professionals who will develop long-term relationships working on a wide variety of plays; to helping improve the quality of life in our community through all the arts; and to making the arts, especially theatre, accessible to every segment of our community.

Founded in 1998, Florida Repertory Theatre is a fully professional, live theatre in the Fort Myers River District. Performances are held in the Historic Arcade Theatre and the ArtStage Studio Theatre on Bay St. between Jackson & Hendry. Visit Florida Rep online at FloridaRep.org to view the full season line-up of comedies, dramas, musicals, and new works. Follow the company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube for updates, behind-the-scenes insight, special offers, and more.