Kathryn M. Lipuma Appointed Executive Director
February 5, 2007
Glencoe, IL—The Writers’ Theatre Board of Trustees today announces Kathryn M. Lipuma as the new Executive Director at Writers’ Theatre. Lipuma is expected to begin at Writers’ late March, 2007. She replaces Jennifer Bielstein, who left in October to assume the position of Managing Director at Actors Theatre of Louisville.
Artistic Director Michael Halberstam adds, "Kate brings a dynamic new energy to the Writers' Theatre mission. The breadth of her experience, the depth of her knowledge, and the vitality of her aesthetic inspires a truly exhilarating vista of potential. In partnership with Kate I recognize that we will be able to maintain, build upon and reinvent our standards of excellence, the range of our programming and the scope of our imaginations. She is a wonderful addition to our organization and indeed to the Chicago Theatre Community at large.”
“I am so excited to be returning to Chicago as the new Executive Director of Writers’ Theatre. I am deeply grateful and honored by this appointment and I am especially thrilled to partner with Michael Halberstam, the Board of Trustees and Writers’ incredible staff and artists,” said Lipuma. “I look forward to re-immersing myself in this vibrant, very generous arts community and being a part of Writers’ exciting future.”
Kathryn M. Lipuma is the Executive Director of the award-winning Signature Theatre Company in New York. In her nine seasons with the company, she has worked with such acclaimed writers as Edward Albee, Lee Blessing, Horton Foote, Maria Irene Fornes, John Guare, Bill Irwin, Romulus Linney, Paula Vogel, August Wilson and Lanford Wilson, and produced 28 productions including this year’s award-winning revivals of Horton Foote’s The Trip to Bountiful and August Wilson’s Seven Guitars.
As Signature’s chief operating and administrative officer, during her tenure Lipuma directed the company through several milestones, and among its numerous awards and accolades, recognition as Outstanding National Theatre of the Year in 2003. Most recently, Lipuma was responsible for overseeing Signature’s strategic business and operations plans for the creation of a new, multi-venue performing arts center located at the redeveloped World Trade Center site, designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry.
This year, in partnership with Signature Artistic Director James Houghton, she co-created Signature’s 15 Anniversary $15 Ticket Program, a groundbreaking ticket initiative that reduced full-price tickets to every performance by 70%. In the ongoing effort to increase accessibility to the arts, the $15 Program has seen rewarding results, with its productions playing to 107% capacity, with more than 50% of audiences identified as first-time ticket buyers.
Lipuma has consulted with not-for-profit theatres, hosted fundraising seminars for development professionals from across the country and has been a guest lecturer on arts management in the graduate programs at New York University and at Marymount Manhattan College. She has served on numerous arts and funding panels including the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the Philadelphia Theatre Institute for the Pew Charitable Trust.
Prior to moving to New York City, she spent six years with The Goodman Theatre in Chicago. She is a graduate of the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. where she received her B.A. in radio and television broadcasting.