A New Director and a New Direction for Hawaii Theatre

Hawaii Theatre has a new director, Ruth Boylan.Expect more comedy, more live music, a new film series and possibly some craft cocktails coming soon to the Hawaii Theatre, says Ruth Bolan, new president of the Hawaii Theatre Center.

“My priorities are the bookings—exciting new bookings and original works—and really working with the community in Chinatown,” Bolan says. “I think we can do more with concessions and signature cocktails. With this influx of new restaurants and boutiques in the neighborhood, Hawaii Theatre can really be an anchor to bring people in.”

Bolan, formerly the managing director of external affairs at Teach for America Hawaii, succeeds Sarah Richards, who served as Hawaii Theatre Center’s president for nearly 25 years. Richards now holds the title of president emeritus.

“Sarah has left such a strong legacy,” Bolan says.

Bolan, a graduate of Harvard Business School’s High Potentials Leadership Program and Stanford University’s Executive Program for Non-Profit Leaders, moved to Hawaii in 1996 to raise her family. She has worked as executive director for both Ohia Productions, a nonprofit theater company, and Pacific Islanders in Communications, a nonprofit media arts organization.

The Hawaii Theatre Center was established in 1984 as a private nonprofit organization to restore and operate the historic Hawaii Theatre as a multi-purpose performance facility for artistic, cultural, entertainment and educational events and to promote the redevelopment of the downtown Honolulu/Chinatown area. Opened in 1922, the 1,400-seat Hawaii Theatre is listed on both the state and national Registers of Historic Places. It reopened in 1996 and has been recognized by the League of Historic American Theatres as the 2005 Outstanding Historic Theatre in America. In 2006, Hawaii Theatre Center received a National Preservation Honor Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.