Amy Sullivan, who served as executive director of the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Conn., during a period of financial and leadership turmoil, died Sunday in Old Lyme, Conn. after a long battle with cancer. She was 54.
Sullivan led the organization — known for its development of new works and for providing a nurturing environment for their creators — from 2003 to January of this year, when she resigned due to health reasons but remained as a consultant. She also was the center’s development director from 1993 to 1995.
The 43-year-old center runs the National Playwrights and Music Theater Conference, held in July each year, the National Theater Institute and the National Puppetry Conference. It also oversees the Monte Cristo Cottage in nearby New London, the boyhood home of Eugene O’Neill (and the setting for two of his plays, “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” and “Ah, Wilderness!”)
Under Sullivan’s tenure, the center’s long-standing debt was reduced, fundraising increased, a developmental conference for cabaret and performance was added, a summer program for NTI was created and the Monte Cristo Cottage was renovated and reopened. She also led the drive to purchase the house next door to the Cottage (once owned by the O’Neill family).
Sullivan brought in Wendy C. Goldberg as director of the National Playwrights Conference following the resignations of James Houghton and J Ranelli.
Sullivan was a graduate of Yale School of Drama’s MFA program in arts adminsitration. She was also special assistant to Broadway producers Elliot Martin and Robert Whitehead as well as program director for the American Theater Wing. She was a fundraiser for Connecticut College in New London and the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts in Old Lyme.
Sullivan is survived by her husband, son and mother.
Donations may be made to the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, 305 Great Neck Road, Waterford, CT 06385 or the Father Michael J. McGivney Center for Cancer Care, 1450 Chapel St., New Haven, CT. 06511
— Frank Rizzo