ACT Theatre has a new managing director: Kevin M. Hughes, a Seattle government-relations and fundraising consultant with long ties to ACT...

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ACT Theatre has a new managing director: Kevin M. Hughes, a Seattle government-relations and fundraising consultant with long ties to ACT.

“I started my career in Seattle 27 years ago in the ACT box office,” said Hughes, “so this is such a neat deal.”

ACT board president Brad Fowler said the self-employed Hughes bested about 50 contenders for the top administrative job at the 43-year-old Seattle theater.

“We feel we’ve found in Kevin a perfect blend of experience, high energy, great love for the theater, community knowledge and proven fundraising success,” Fowler said.

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In the 1990s, Hughes spent seven years doing public affairs and fundraising for the Pacific Science Center, helping to bring in some $40 million for the local institution.

A Philadelphia native, Hughes was also managing director of Empty Space Theatre (1981-85), and for four years he was director of the Washington State Arts Alliance.

A past member of the Seattle Arts Commission, Hughes was honored in 1990 with a Corporate Council for the Arts Pyramid Award for his statewide advocacy of the arts.

He enters ACT as it enjoys critical and box-office success but carries an accumulated debt of more than $600,000.

“We need to work very hard to secure ACT’s financial foundation,” said Hughes, who succeeds Jolanne Stanton in the job. “I’m optimistic. ACT has all the resources in place — a great artistic director in Kurt Beattie, wonderful plays on the stage, a great staff, and the facility is first-rate.”

Misha Berson: mberson@seattletimes.com

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