LOWELL -- Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) announced that Charles Towers, artistic director since 2001, will not seek a renewal of his contract when it expires in June 2015.

"Everything has its season," Towers said. "After 14 years as artistic director, this just feels like the right time for both MRT and me. I wanted to give enough notice for the smoothest transition possible, while also allowing me one more season to work with the company I love."

Towers said he had committed to stay on until an executive director was hired and fully acclimated, after that position was vacant for part of last season.

Elizabeth Kegley joined MRT in that role in July 2013.

"We are sorry that Charles is leaving MRT, but we understand and respect his decision," said Stephen Irish, president of the MRT Board of Trustees.

"Under Charles' artistic leadership, MRT has grown into one of the leading theatre companies in New England, consistently putting an exceptional product on the stage. Charles is committed to ensuring that this high standard of excellence will continue, as he works with us to find his successor."

In his 13 seasons at MRT, Towers has selected and produced nearly 90 plays, mostly regional and world premieres, one-third of which he directed. He has twice won the Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE) Award for best director.


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In 2012, he directed the world premiere of Jack Kerouac's only full-length play, Beat Generation, which received international attention.

MRT will immediately begin the search for a new artistic director, which can take up to a year to complete.

-- Nancye Tuttle

See more at: http://blogs.lowellsun.com/nancyesworld/