ASHLAND, ORE.: Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) has named David Schmitz as its new executive director. Schmitz currently serves as executive director of Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company, where he will remain until mid-July to welcome Brooke Flanagan as the new executive director. Schmitz succeeds Paul Christy, who became OSF’s acting executive director in January 2019, succeeding Cynthia Rider.
“I am very excited to welcome David to OSF,” said artistic director Nataki Garrett in a statement. “His exceptional reputation and accomplishments working with artists, audiences, and institutional partners, combined with an extraordinary sense for community building, precede him. I look forward to collaborating with him to bring transformative art and essential engagement back to our spaces in 2021 and to build innovative thinking toward the OSF of the future.”
Schmitz joined Steppenwolf Theatre Company in 2005 and served as executive director since 2015. During his tenure, the company mounted 115 productions. He and artistic director Anna D. Shapiro increased Steppenwolf’s artistic programming, expanded education outreach, and co-produced with Center Theatre Group and the National Theatre of Great Britain. Schmitz negotiated the acquisition and led the remodel of 1700 N. Halsted and, with Shapiro, opened Front Bar: Coffee and Drinks and the 1700 Theatre as part of the company’s multi-year expansion campaign. He led Steppenwolf’s role as founder of Enrich Chicago and was an initial participant in the Theatre Communications Group’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Institute.
“I’m inspired by the legacy and dedication of OSF’s audience, patrons, and supporters to become their partner at this unprecedented time in the world of live theatre,” said Schmitz in a statement.