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Pictured: Megan Carney. Photo by Nicci Briann.
About Face Theatre Company has announced the appointment of Megan Carney as its new Artistic Director. Carney, who founded the company’s youth theater, and currently serves as the Director of the Gender and Sexuality Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago, will begin her tenure this fall. She succeeds Andrew Volkoff, who stepped down earlier this summer.
“After a broad national search and an exhaustive vetting process, we are fortunate and excited to embrace the future with Megan as our artistic leader,” comments AFT Board Member Rob Abernathy. “As an ardent AFT supporter for the last 15 years and an active community leader, Megan brings with her the perfect combination of artistic skills, civic leadership experience, passion for the advancement of LGBTQIA+ dialogue and respect in our community. Her selection has empowered and inspired the board, the Artistic Associates, the staff, the AFT Youth and our devoted supporters to passionately continue to advance About Face Theatre’s mission to create performance art that broadens minds and open hearts to diversity and equality.”
AFT Artistic Associate Philip Dawkins adds, “Megan Carney is the perfect person to lead us into and through this tricky, terrifying and opportune time in history. Her dedication to queer youth, women, people of color, theater and community organizing is exactly the perfect mélange of skills needed to further and continue About Face’s dedication to dialogue around gender and sexuality. She is bold, creative and smart, but above all, she leads with a spirit of generosity, one which I think will be a beacon of queer leadership in our communities. I am excited for this new era at About Face under Megan’s very qualified leadership.”
Carney commented, “I am so excited to join this team at About Face Theatre. Throughout the organization, from the Board of Directors to the staff and artistic associates, to the members of the Youth Theatre ensemble, there is an alignment of values to support projects that advance both artistic excellence and social justice. I believe that theatre created with such a focus has the power to open hearts and minds in unique and powerful ways and encourage us to imagine – and then create – a better future. Together we’re going to champion new play development, support fresh LGBTQIA+ voices, center the work of education and expand our circle of partnerships. I’m looking forward to the collaborations ahead.”
Carney’s recent Chicago directing credits include Julie Jenson’s Winter, George Brant’s Grizzly Mama, Danielle Pinnock’s Body/Courage and Lisa Dillman’s American Wee Pie and The Walls with Rivendell Theatre Ensemble. She also co-created Women at War, a multi-year performance and civic dialogue project about women in the military that continues to tour.
For the past six years she served as the Director of the Gender and Sexuality Center, one of the Centers for Cultural Understanding and Social Change, at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she developed programming to investigate and reveal diverse LGBTQIA+ identities and histories through oral history collection, participatory workshops and a variety of public programs. She has served on the Honorary Board of About Face Theatre, the LBTQ Giving Council of the Chicago Foundation for Women and with the Chicago Restroom Access Project of Pride Action Tank. Carney’s work has been recognized with multiple After Dark Awards, the GLSEN Pathfinder Award, an APA Presidential Citation, induction in Chicago’s Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame, a Rockefeller Foundation MAP Grant and a GLAAD Media Award nomination. She has an MFA in Theatre Arts from Virginia Tech with a focus on Directing and Public Dialogue and a BA from Kalamazoo College.