Brooke Flanagan is set to become Steppenwolf Theatre Company's first female executive director in the company's 45-year history this summer when she succeeds David Schmitz, who departs the Chicago theatre for Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Schmitz, who will leave in mid-July, will be OSF's executive director, joining Artistic Director Nataki Garrett.
Flanagan returns to Steppenwolf having previously worked as the organization's Director of Major Gifts. Since 2010, she has been the managing director at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, where she has led fundraising and external affairs programs and served as a strategic partner within CST's leadership.
“Brooke is an extraordinary leader whose impact on Chicago’s arts ecosystem continues to be tremendous,” shares Steppenwolf Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro. “We are grateful to be able to continue to commit to our city and community by inviting a leader who has a deep love and understanding of Steppenwolf, its mission and its values. Brooke will only fortify our ability to stay connected, active, and innovative during this unprecedented time of social distancing, enabling us to be stronger than ever when live theatre resumes. I can’t wait to work alongside her.”
Schmitz has worked at Steppenwolf for the past 15 years, serving in the roles of director of finance and administration, general manager, managing director, and currently as executive director. At OSF, where he'll join in the fall, he succeeds Cynthia Rider, who held the position from 2013 through 2018, and Paul Christy, who has been acting executive director throughout the search period.
“David’s reputation and accomplishments working with theatre makers, artists, patrons, and partners in the arts, combined with an extraordinary sense for community building, precede him,” shares Garrett, OSF artistic director. “I’m grateful for the breadth of experience he brings to OSF through a variety of pivotal leadership roles critical to ensuring the future of this organization for many years to come, including our current top priority to return transformative theatre to our stages in 2021.”
“I am thrilled to be named incoming executive director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and to begin this extraordinary partnership with Nataki Garrett, the OSF Board, its artists, staff, volunteers, and the entire community of Ashland, the Rogue Valley, and Southern Oregon,” shared Schmitz. “I’m equally inspired by the legacy and dedication of OSF’s audience, patrons, and supporters to become their partner at this unprecedented time in the world of live theatre.”