Oak Park Festival Theatre Announces 45th Season, Artistic Director

Oak Park Festival Theatre Announces 45th Season, Artistic Director

In February of 2018, Artistic Associate Barbara Zahora stepped into the role of Interim Artistic Director at Oak Park Festival Theatre, and she now will now take the helm in a more permanent fashion as the company launches its 45th season.

“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.”

Zahora has been working with the company since 2006 as an actor, and in 2017 directed their critically acclaimed MACBETH. She is a visiting assistant professor at Roosevelt University’s Chicago College for the Performing Arts, and has previously taught at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music and North Central College. She was Associate Artistic Director of Shakespeare Project of Chicago for eight years, and she is also closely affiliated with ShawChicago.

“I am incredibly delighted that Barbara will be taking up the artistic mantle of the company. I 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 all do,” Managing Director Jhenai Mootz said. “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.”

Oak Park Festival Theatre’s 45th season will kick off in April with Lauren Gunderson’s I & YOU in a co-production with Open Door Theatre. Bryan Wakefield directs at Open Door’s venue. The company’s Austin Gardens outdoor season begins in June with Timothy Findley’s ELIZABETH REX, which Zahora will direct. Following is Shakespeare’s MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING directed by Melanie Keller. Skyler Schrempp will direct David Rice’s THE MADNESS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE around Halloween indoors in the Cheney Mansion to close out the season.

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