Founder

Therese Brady Donohue

Trained at the Washington School of Ballet in Washington D.C., the Princeton Ballet with Audrey Estey, the Royal Academy of Dancing in London with Ruth French and Elaine Archibald, and the College of Notre Dame of Maryland in Baltimore with Alma Loth Wolf, Donohue excelled in choreography and was chosen to attend the National Association of Regional Ballet’s Craft of Choreography Conferences several times. In 1971, she moved to Amherst and founded the Amherst Ballet Centre and cofounded the Pioneer Valley Ballet Guild. She further established the Amherst Ballet Theatre Company in 1976 and the Amherst Ballet Theatre School in 1988. During her tenure as the director of the Company, Donohue led frequent elementary school performances all over New England, advancing the mission of bringing “to young audiences an awareness of dance through educational programs,” in addition to the annual performances in concert halls. She also took the Company on several international tours to Europe.

Amherst Ballet owes its initial success to Donohue. She was a rigorous, non-compromising teacher who cares deeply for her students. She was a pioneer businesswoman, very likely the first to own a business in Amherst. Most importantly, however, she was a talented artist skilled not only in choreography but also in costume designing and mask making. She often transformed the stage into a fantastical world with dancers’ elegant movements enhanced by innovative masks and costumes.

After her retirement from Amherst Ballet, Donohue has shifted her creativity to puppets and has since founded the Picture Book Theatre, where she designs and directs colorful performances for children which brings to life books by favorite picture book authors living in New England.