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Cody Estle to Step Down From Raven Theatre  

After 14 years with the Chicago theatre, 5 of them as artistic director, Estle is leaving to lead Milwaukee’s Next Act Theatre.

CHICAGO: Next month Cody Estle will step down as artistic director of Raven Theatre to become artistic director of Milwaukee’s Next Act Theatre

Estle worked with Raven Theatre for 14 years, first as associate artistic director, then artistic director beginning in 2017. As artistic director, Estle oversaw the company’s transition from non-Equity to Equity status, the commissioning of seven new plays, the remodeling of Raven’s two theatre spaces and several other accomplishments. Under his leadership, the company received 28 Jeff Award nominations and six Jeff Award wins for directing productions such as The Luckiest (2022 Jeff Award nominee for Best Production and Best Director), How I Learned to Drive, The Gentleman Caller (2019 Jeff Award winning new play) and several more. Recently Estle was named one of NewCity’s “Fifty People Who Really Perform for Chicago.” He is a member of SDC, serves on the board of directors of the League of Chicago Theatres. Estle holds a degree from Columbia College Chicago.

“I’m very proud of what we have achieved together at Raven Theatre during my time as artistic director,” said Estle in a statement. “Raven has shaped who I am, and I’m very grateful for my time here. I look forward to seeing the theatre continue to soar.”

“We are, of course, saddened that Cody is leaving Raven Theatre,” said board president Stephen Johnson in a statement. “His impact during his 14 years with the theatre has been immense, both artistically and operationally. The theatre would not be where it is without his faithful and steadfast efforts. We will miss him.”

The theatre will soon begin a search process to fulfill their artistic director position. More information will be announced in the coming months. 

Raven Theatre’s mission is to tell the stories of today and the past that connect us to our cultural landscape. The theatre has been a cultural cornerstone on the north side of Chicago for 39 years and counting. As of 2021, the theatre’s budget was approximately $404,000.

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