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David Schmitz.

David Schmitz Joins People’s Light as Interim Managing Director

He’ll fill the role recently left by Erica Ezold while the Pennsylvania company seeks a successor.

MALVERN, PA.: David Schmitz has joined People’s Light as interim managing director while the company initiates a national search for its next managing director to succeed Erica Ezold, who left the post after a year to take the same position at Quintessence Theatre. As the lead advisor at Amplify Leadership Advisors, David helps arts organizations through transitions, offering services in interim executive leadership, management coaching, and strategic project execution. At People’s Light, Schmitz aims to facilitate a purposeful and methodical transition, ensuring People’s Light continues its journey towards transformation and growth.

“All of us at People’s Light are thrilled to have David join us in this interim capacity at this momentous time in our history,” said producing artistic director Zak Berkman in a statement. “As we celebrate our 50th anniversary next season, and continue to evolve as a destination for live arts in our remarkable region, we look forward to benefiting from David’s immense insight, care, rigor, and imagination.”

David brings extensive experience in arts management and consulting. His leadership roles include interim managing director of Stages Theatre in Houston and executive director at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, where he navigated the organization through the challenges of the Covid pandemic and wildfires. Previously, David worked at the famed Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago, where he served for 15 years in the roles of general manager, managing director, and finally executive director.

David serves as a board member of the Oregon Cultural Advocacy Coalition, is the former vice president of the board for the House Theatre of Chicago, and has served on the boards of Theatre Communications Group (TCG), Ashland and Lincoln Park Chambers of Commerce, Arts Alliance Illinois, and the League of Chicago Theatres. Schmitz was a founding member of the Professional Nonprofit Theatre Coalition and Enrich Chicago, a cohort of arts organizations working to end racism in Chicago arts. 

“People’s Light is an artist-driven organization with a dynamic reputation of play production and an eagerness to evolve that is quite exciting,” said David Schmitz. “Having the opportunity to partner with producing artistic director Zak Berkman and the People’s Light board, staff, and company during this time of transformation is both humbling and thrilling. I look forward to expanding on the work that has been done before my arrival while we chart a path forward towards sustainability and vitality.”

Founded in 1974, People’s Light serves as one of Pennsylvania’s most accomplished professional non-profit theatres, known for its resident company of artists, a wide array of productions, and innovative work with young people. As of 2022, its budget was around $6.3 million.

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