The Actors Gymnasium Announces New Executive Director

The Actors Gymnasium Announces New Executive Director


The Actors Gymnasium Artistic Director Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi and Board of Directors have announced the appointment of Murphy Monroe as the organization’s new Executive Director.

“Having spent a lifetime with a head full of circus dreams, I am absolutely thrilled to be joining Sylvia and the team,” says Monroe who also rides unicycle and juggles. “Introducing children to the wonder and rewards of the circus arts and feeding the larger industry with some of the most talented and creative performers around is a mission I am honored to support.”

Monroe started his career as the co-founder of a theater company in Boston before finding a passion for education. He spent more than 15 years with Columbia College Chicago leading admissions and enrollment, where his responsibilities also included developing, marketing and funding educational programs, afterschool initiatives and camps for both youth and adults. Most recently, Murphy was general manager and vice president of Helix Education. He has served on numerous boards including Young Chicago Authors, and holds both a BFA in acting and an MS in non-profit management.

“We’re so excited to have Murphy join the Actors Gym”, says Board President Jennifer Arrington. “He knows Evanston well, grew up attending Piven and Next Theaters right here in the Noyes Cultural Center, and he and his family live in Evanston. He’ll be a great asset to our community”

Monroe is replacing Virginia Nugent who has served as Executive Director since September 2013 and is moving to Atlanta. Under her guidance, The Gym saw a number of initiatives, including Studio 108, the Pro Training Program and the founding of Enrich Evanston, come to fruition. She is working closely with Monroe during the transition to his official start date of June 17.

Artistic Director Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi says “We are all so grateful to Virginia and all she has done for our organization. She has set us up to successfully move forward into the next leg of our journey. As much as we will miss her, we feel that Murphy’s background in theater and education and his enthusiasm for circus and performing arts will be the perfect choice to take us into the next 20 years.”


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