Five Questions with: Tom Parrish

Tom Parrish is the executive director of Trinity Repertory Company. The Providence-based theater group recently announced that Parrish will be leaving his post in October. Parrish spoke with Providence Business News about his time leading Trinity Rep and what his future plans are.

PBN: What prompted your decision to depart both Trinity Rep and Rhode Island?

PARRISH: Last year, I got engaged, and my fiancé lives in New York City. We have been travelling back and forth for the past few years, but the pandemic really put into perspective the importance of being together in the same city. While it was a difficult decision to leave, particularly since I do not have a job lined up yet, it gave me great encouragement to know that Trinity Rep is in a strong position both artistically and financially to have a leadership transition. Trinity Rep has great momentum right now coming out of the pandemic, and I have confidence that with Curt Columbus’s continued artistic leadership Trinity Rep will rise to even higher levels of achievement.

PBN: What will you miss most about leading Trinity Rep, as well as being in Rhode Island?

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PARRISH: Curt and I have built a really strong leadership team that works well together, and I will miss working with them to produce great artistic, education, and community programs. In terms of being in Rhode Island, I will miss the proximity to the beaches and buck-a-shuck oysters (in NYC, it’s buck-fifty-a-shuck).

PBN: What would you say was your greatest accomplishment leading Trinity Rep?

PARRISH: Over the past six years, Trinity Rep has undergone a financial turnaround and organizational transformation. We have broken multiple box office records, increased ticket revenue by 32%, achieved record fundraising, and ultimately eliminated our accumulated deficit, putting the organization in its strongest financial position ever – while simultaneously growing the artistic reputation, premiering seven new plays, and advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion onstage and off.

PBN: Do you plan on continuing your career in the performing arts sector?

PARRISH: New York City is obviously a global cultural and entertainment center, and coming out of the pandemic, I think there will be a lot of opportunities. That said, my particular background and skills can be impactful in a variety of settings, and I am looking forward to discovering what comes next for me. Ultimately, I am looking to do something that I am passionate about and that makes a meaningful contribution to the world.

PBN: What advice would you give for Trinity Rep’s new leader moving forward once he/she is onboard?

PARRISH: One of Trinity Rep’s core values is community, so it will be really important for my successor to get out in the community, be involved, and listen to and be responsive to community needs.

James Bessette is the PBN special projects editor, and also covers the nonprofit and education sectors. You may reach him at You may also follow him on Twitter at @James_Bessette.