CHICAGO: The Neo-Futurist Theater has announced that artistic director Kurt Chiang will step down from his post to make room for new leadership in 2020. Neo-Futurist ensemble member Kirsten Riiber will succeed Chiang, who will continue to be an ensemble member of the company.
“Kurt is an incredible artist and friend and to be called his counterpart at the company has completely shifted my perspective as he is an exemplary leader and his effect is truly lasting,” said managing director Jorge Silva in a statement. “As The Infinite Wrench continues to mature and our identity as an organization evolve, new leadership is only natural, if not healthy. I am inspired by Kirsten’s vision and am ecstatic to create the next chapter of Chicago’s home for radical, experimental theatre alongside them.”
Chiang originally joined the company in 2008 as an ensemble member. In 2014 he served as co-artistic director alongside Bilal Dardai before being appointed as the company’s first full-time artistic director in 2015. In 2016 Chiang oversaw the organization’s return to stability after the company unexpectedly lost the license to their weekly flagship show, Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, pressing forward to create their new signature piece, The Infinite Wrench.
“It’s been fun, fulfilling, and never-ordinary to serve as artistic director of the Neo-Futurists,” said Chiang in a statement. “I’m proud of the staff and ensemble for weathering some pretty substantial storms over the last three to five years, including branding and naming changes, and the ever-present cloud this presidency has cast over our cultural landscape. My first experience of Neo-Futurism in 2005 was that of a fan, and I’ve tried to deliver that particular feeling here to our dedicated and growing audiences in my work as an artist and leader. I know Kirsten shares that mentality, and I look forward to how she leads the ensemble and takes the work to a new and exciting future.”
Riiber, who has been an ensemble member since 2012, created the critically acclaimed Tangles & Plaques, a show centered on the nature of memory loss.
“Kurt carries the Neo-Futurist aesthetic everywhere he goes,” said Riiber in a statement. “It is undeniable that he lives and breathes this work, and his dedication to the company has and continues to inspire me as a fan, student, and collaborator. The Neo-Futurists has always been a space for outliers; folks who want more from conventional theatre, who crave immediacy and honest connection, and who might not feel seen or represented elsewhere.”
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