Beyond fundraising for non-profits, DEVELOPMENT, at its core, requires building and managing relationships, while honing passion through masterful storytelling. These responsibilities are fundamental to the sustainability of any organization, and equally intrinsic to the theatre itself. How do you begin a career in this essential role? Join us as panelists discuss the range of skills needed and share valuable insight to guide the next generation of arts administrators.


Our Moderator:

Bryony Romer – Development and Strategic Planning Consultant, American Theatre Wing

Bryony Romer is a strategist and leader with over thirty years experience in fundraising, organizational development, and strategic planning. Her clients have included national organizations such as the American Theatre Wing and Los Angeles Philharmonic; performing companies such as Twyla Tharp Dance Foundation and Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company; and arts education and community-based art groups such as Brooklyn Youth Chorus and Community MusicWorks. She holds a B.A. cum laude from Yale University and an M.F.A. in visual art from Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts.

Our Panelists:

Ebonie Pittman, Senior Director of Development – ‎Dance Theatre of Harlem

Ebonie C. Pittman is the Senior Director of Development at Dance Theatre of Harlem. Prior to joining DTH, she was the Senior Director, Philanthropy at American Ballet Theatre. A champion of diversity and inclusion in the arts, Ms. Pittman played a leadership role in the advancement of ABT’s Project Plié and ABT Women’s Movement programs. She has served as a review panelist for the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and New York State Council on Arts, and she is currently on the Board of Directors of the Triangle Youth Ballet in Chapel Hill, NC.

Ms. Pittman graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance, and she has a Master of Arts in Arts Administration from Columbia University, Teachers College

LaTeshia Ellerson, Development Director – Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company

LaTeshia Ellerson joined Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company in 2007 as Development Associate and was promoted to Director of Development in 2013. In this position, she develops, oversees, and implements the strategic fundraising plan for individual donors, corporations, and foundations. She was a participant in Theatre Communications Group’s 2014-15 SPARK Leadership Program and in 2015 she was selected as American Theatre magazine’s “Top 20 Theatre Professionals to Watch.” LaTeshia is also the founder & principal strategist at Agape Development and Consulting where she consults in the areas of grant writing, strategic planning and initiatives, participatory grantmaking, and mentors professionals in the field. LaTeshia holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago and a Masters of Science in Urban Policy Studies/Nonprofit Leadership from Georgia State University in Atlanta.

Matt Merrill, Director of Development – Chicago Children’s Theatre

Matt Merrill has over 20 years of leadership experience in nonprofit management and philanthropy. He joined Chicago Children’s Theatre in 2015 as Grants Manager, before quickly being elevated to Director of Development. He spent the first 12 years of his career at the YMCA rising through the ranks as Wisconsin Youth In Government Director, Youth Programs Director, and Associate Executive Director. Upon relocating to Chicago, Matt spent 2014 as Grants Manager for Black Ensemble Theater before landing at CCT. Notable accomplishments include leading the successful completion of a capital campaign for the theatre’s first permanent home, growing corporate and foundation support in terms of number and size of annual contributions, and expanding the grant portfolio to include the largest noncapital, multi-year commitments in CCT’s history. Matt graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with degrees in Public Relations and Broadcast Journalism, and lives in Chicago with his wife Martha and children, Cooper (7) and Harper (10).

Oliver Pattenden, Director of Development – Classic Stage Company

Oliver Pattenden is the Director of Development at Classic Stage Company, an Off-Broadway theatre in New York’s East Village, where he is the chief fundraising officer responsible for raising $1.8MM annually. Prior to joining CSC, Oliver was the Director of Development Operations at Signature Theatre in New York, overseeing the fundraising strategy and analysis.

Oliver previously worked at Roundabout Theatre Company, where he was part of the team that planned Roundabout’s $50 million 50th Anniversary Campaign. Oliver also focused on growing Roundabout’s young donor base, which quadrupled during his time. Oliver’s career in development began at New York City Opera.

Oliver is a graduate of Oberlin College, where he studied Cinema Studies and English. Oliver also holds a Master’s Degree in Film and Television Studies from the University of East Anglia in his native Britain. In 2017, Oliver attended the American Express Leadership Academy.

About The Network

The Network provides emerging and developing theatre professionals advanced education, networking opportunities, and tools for career advancement within a supportive creative community.