Meet Olivia Scanlon, Artistic Director of THT Rep
Olivia Scanlon, who goes by Livy Scanlon when she acts and directs, is a Worcester-based playmaker: A versatile theatre professional working as a producer, director, actor, and teaching artist. She has served in these capacities with organizations including The Nora@CentralSquareTheatre, New Rep, Commonwealth Shakespeare, Trinity Rep, Asolo Rep, Paper Mill Playhouse, Hartford Stage and Bridge Rep, which she founded and helmed for five years. During her tenure at Bridge Rep, Olivia enjoyed multiple features in the Boston Globe and on WGBH, among other news outlets, and had a short essay published on the HowlRound Theatre Commons. She also received a 2019 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Director (“Dark Room”) and a 2018 IRNE Award for Best Actress (“Mrs. Packard”).
Olivia teaches acting in the Department of Humanities and Arts at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and the Department of Theater Arts at MIT, where students and faculty selected her for a 2018 Levitan Teaching Award. A transplant from Cambridge, she was appointed to that city’s Mayor’s Arts Task Force and is a proud board member emeritus of the Theatre Community Benevolent Fund. A current member of the board of StageSource and a card-carrying member of Actors’ Equity Association, Livy earned her MFA in Acting from Brown University / Trinity Rep, and her BA from Amherst College (summa cum laude).
Olivia now lives in Worcester’s Canal District with her wife, Rachel, and their rescue chihuahua, Rusty. Olivia does triple duty here at The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory for the Performing Arts, serving as the artistic director of The Hanover Theatre Repertory, the managing director of the Worcester BrickBox Theater in the Jean McDonough Arts Center, and a teaching artist in our conservatory.
What brought you to Worcester?
When my wife and I were dating, she lived in Clinton and I lived in Cambridge. She would often pick me up at Union Station and we’d drive through the Canal District to get back on the highway. I was always taken with the neighborhood. When we got married, it made sense on a number of fronts for us to live more centrally. We snagged a great unit in the Canal Lofts building, and we couldn’t be happier here! I love all the small businesses in the area and am thrilled to be able to walk or ride my scooter to work.
Why do you go by Livy when you act and direct?
Everyone called me Livy when I was a kid. There’s something about tapping into that authentic, kid-self that feels crucial to my creative work.
Will you tell us more about Rusty?
Absolutely! Rusty is my rescue dog, whom I adopted about four years ago. She is my best friend, my side kick and a great chihuahua of the theatre! She’ll be around all the time.
You do triple duty here at The Hanover. Can you explain your different roles to us?
It helps first to understand the role The Hanover Theatre plays over at the Worcester BrickBox Theater in the Jean McDonough Arts Center, or JMAC for short.
The JMAC is an initiative of the Worcester Cultural Coalition, which hired The Hanover to manage operations of the BrickBox. When I’m acting as managing director of the BrickBox Theater, I’m managing the venue. Because The Hanover Theatre is also a member of the Worcester Cultural Coalition, we’ll be using the space for creative programming. When I’m acting as artistic director of The Hanover Theatre Repertory, I’m fulfilling a creative leadership role.
At The Hanover Theatre Conservatory, I serve as a teaching artist. So far I’ve taught two courses and directed the Youth Acting Company in a reading of “Romeo + Juliet.”