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Pictured: Jack Hickey
Oak Park Festival Theatre has announced Artistic Director Jack Hickey will be stepping down on March 1 and Artistic Associate Barbara Zahora will step in as Interim Artistic Director.
Jack has served as Artistic Director of the Company since 2004, where he has acted in or directed over 25 productions, and overseen more than 40. Hickey will now serve as Artistic Director Emeritus.
“I am stepping aside, but I am not stepping away. I have been invited to serve as Artistic Director Emeritus, where I will continue to lend my support to this company,” Hickey said. “It’s been incredible serving this company for so many years and seeing the work we do have such an effect on the vibrancy of Oak Park. I’m proud of the successes of Oak Park Festival Theatre and excited to return to focusing on my personal goals as an actor and director.”
“I feel honored to be asked to be part of this important transition time for Oak Park Festival Theatre, “ said Zahora. “With our current group of gifted Artistic Associates and dedicated Board members, we are beautifully poised to enter a new chapter of growth. We’ll be taking a fresh look at our mission, setting new goals for ourselves artistically, and deciding how we’d best like to contribute to important conversations in our community and our world. I’m looking forward to more people discovering the jewel of a theatre we build in Austin Gardens during the summer, and to expanding our programming to reaching the community year-round.”
“To try to measure the effect that Jack has had on this company is an impossible undertaking,” Managing Director Jhenai Mootz said. “The company has grown and thrived in so many ways over the last decade and a half in no small part due to Jack’s dedication to OPFT. I am also incredibly appreciative to Barbara for taking up the artistic mantle of the company. Jack and I both have an immense amount of respect for her as an artist and a leader, and know that she cares as deeply about this company as we do. With our current company growth, momentum and focus on strategic planning, this a strong time for the company to welcome change and a fresh approach – and we could not be more delighted that Barbara will be bringing that new voice into the room.”
Zahora will stay on as Interim Artistic Director through December 31, 2019. In September of 2019, the Board of Directors will conduct a search for a permanent replacement.