Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director
The University of Chicago

Chicago, Illinois


Provost UChicago Arts

About the Department

Court Theatre is a Tony Award-winning professional theatre company located in the Hyde Park neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago. Founded in 1955, Court benefits from the University of Chicago's financial support and from its community of scholars and artists, while retaining artistic independence.

Court Theatre interprets classic theatre to illuminate our current times, and defines classic theatre as texts from any culture, tradition, or era that resonate throughout time and speak to our present moment. Court Theatre seeks to present an array of theatrical styles and periods and develops new work on classic themes with different forms of classic staging. In remaining fresh and fostering excellence, Court explores a broad range of topics. Whether through works composed several millennia in the past or works that have been adapted from contemporary graphic novels, Court remains relevant, exciting, engaging, and ready to cross boundaries.

The University of Chicago was founded in 1890 and is one of the world's leading research universities, celebrated for its faculty, students, graduate programs, and role in advancing Chicago communities. Home to over 3,100 faculty and with more than 18,000 students, the University is a center for educating, inspiring, and supporting academic and artistic operating units. A variety of museums, professional performance spaces, institutes, and academic departments support the artistic endeavors of students and faculty, while fostering UChicago's cultural and artistic life on campus. Among the arts organizations hosted by the University are the Court Theatre, Logan Center for the Arts, University of Chicago Presents, Smart Museum of Art, Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society, Renaissance Society, Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry, six galleries, and the nation's largest academic press, which promulgates scholarship on the arts.

Job Summary

The Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director will shape all of Court Theatre's artistic and arts-related programming and will collaborate with the Executive Director to provide overall leadership to the organization as it grows its artistic and educational vision and continues to expand its footprint in Chicago, nationally, and internationally. Reporting to the University's Provost and collaborating with the Court Board and staff, the Artistic Director is accountable for managing all aspects of the theatre's productions and programs, and for fundraising for arts programming in collaboration with the Executive Director.

The Artistic Director is expected to work closely with staff to ensure that the Theatre:

Builds on its reputation as a distinctive, exciting, thought-provoking theatre which explores classic themes and classic staging in ways that contemporary audiences find relevant and exciting;

Extends its commitment to contemporary work, with diversity as a value that guides artistic expression and decision-making;

Grows audiences and builds constituents among a new generation of supporters, including theatregoers from throughout the Chicago area and beyond; the diverse communities of the South Side; and UChicago faculty, students and alumni.


  • Artistic Leadership: Understand all facets of Court Theatre, including the theatre's history, culture, staff, finances, play schedule and new play development; education and public programs; facility and infrastructure; operations; and annual, endowment and capital campaign initiatives. Understand Chicago and the University of Chicago, and their resources, other arts organizations, constituents, and diverse audiences. Bring to Court Theatre insights into the current state of theatre and theatre artists nationally and internationally.
  • Visionary Programming: Manage the artistic affairs of Court Theatre, including selection of works, directors, cast members, theatre tech, and programs that engage different audience cohorts; function as an ambassador for the Court and for University of Chicago, its artists, arts faculty, and programs.
  • Connecting to and Broadening Audiences: Understand the audience drawn from the University of Chicago and the Greater Chicago; cultivate a reputation of being a place for all sorts of theatre audiences, with topics, staging, language, audience experiences, and a vibe that is exciting to a very diverse community.
  • Developing Classic Theatre: Build a robust and well supported new play development process which includes commissioning of new work, expanding collaboration with University faculty, and more intensively involving University students and community residents in these processes; engage a range of guest artists who bring new vision to the stage; facilitate opportunities for Court's dramaturgy and work to be more broadly shared with other theatres.
  • Theatre Education and Outreach: Review the present status of the theatre's mainstage and education programming, and take charge of in-process work related to current and planned productions, events, and performances.
  • Financial Health: In conjunction with the artistic team, develop an artistic vision of plays and programs that can be administered within appropriate budgetary constraints, and that will inform, attract, and engage the interest of a diverse Chicago and UChicago public while also securing recognition nationally and internationally.
  • Community Partnerships: Build on Court's strong reputation by continuing to cultivate relationships with existing and new key stakeholders in the theatre, South Side, and University communities in order to enhance and develop support for programs, including partnership opportunities with other arts, educational, and cultural institutions locally, nationally, and internationally; and with local artists, community, and business leaders.
  • Mission Building: Work to build strong relationships among the Court Board, staff, volunteers, donors, and subscribers; work with the Executive Director and the Board to update long-range strategic planning and implement Court's shared values, mission, and vision; suggest new Board members whose talents, interests, and commitment will help to further Court Theatre's mission, and to expand funding opportunities.
  • Workplace Synergy: In collaboration with the Executive Director, hire, supervise, motivate, develop, and evaluate artistic staff, ensuring that staffing is appropriate to meet the organization's goals; work with the staff to understand their contributions, strengths, and concerns; instill a strong sense of partnership and cohesion across the organization; use open channels of communication to reinforce a culture of excellence toward achieving the highest standards of theatre practice.
  • Build Profile: Join other arts leaders in the region, nationally, and internationally to advocate for the arts at Court, the University, and beyond.
  • Manages managers and professional staff. Establishes performance goals, allocates resources and assesses policies for direct subordinates.
  • Manages the development of productions and programs for various units across the University.
  • Performs other related work as needed.

Minimum Qualifications

Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.
Work Experience:

Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through 7+ years of work experience in a related job discipline.


Preferred Qualifications

  • Bachelor's degree.
  • Advanced degree strongly preferred.

  • Experienced and recognized theatre director and arts leader.
  • Demonstrated history of creating work that attracts the positive attention of other artists and diverse audiences.
  • Minimum of seven years of experience in a progressively responsible role in a theatre or related educational/research organization, including 5 years of senior management and leadership experience.
  • Experience working in higher education.
  • Familiarity with the City of Chicago and the University of Chicago.
  • Demonstrated management experience in a theatre or performing arts organization known for innovative programming, artistic excellence, and strong ties with the community; an extensive background or passion for theatre and educational & public programming would be an advantage; knowledge of current trends and developments in the performing arts.

Preferred Competencies
  • Generous and active collaborator with playwrights, theatre directors, actors, designers, educators, and others.
  • Demonstrated ability to forge mutually respectful and effective relationships with a diverse group of personalities to deliver exceptional theatre experiences to the public.
  • Demonstrated passion for connecting the public with theatre and who will enjoy connecting members of Chicago and surrounding communities, as well as visitors to the region and to the Court Theatre.
  • Demonstrated ability to work successfully with donors, community leaders, performing artists, educators, and the theatre's Board to strengthen the theatre.
  • Possesses a strong commitment to building a community from a diversity of backgrounds and with diverse viewpoints, and to cultivating an inclusive community that values freedom of expression.
  • Exhibits outstanding oral and written communication skills, including the means to address issues in non-confrontational and non-polarizing ways, but nevertheless with determination; a track record as an effective advocate for his or her organization.
  • Adept at planning, prioritizing, organizing, and following through; a hard worker with a high energy level who welcomes accountability; a good listener and strategist; comfortable receiving input from many sources.
  • Imparts trust, integrity, and stability and guides others in a similar vein; an ability to disagree without being disagreeable; a team player and team builder; someone who enjoys working in close collaboration with staff, Board, and community members and is able to connect with a broad spectrum of community members and partners; a person with a sense of humor and perspective.

Application Documents
  • Resume/CV (required)
  • Reference Contact Information (3) (required)
  • Cover Letter (required)

When applying, the document(s) MUSTbe uploaded via the My Experience page, in the section titled Application Documents of the application.

Job Family

Museum & Arts

Role Impact

People Manager

FLSA Status


Pay Frequency


Scheduled Weekly Hours


Benefits Eligible


Drug Test Required


Health Screen Required


Motor Vehicle Record Inquiry Required


Posting Statement

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, military or veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University's Notice of Nondiscrimination.

Staff Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-702-5800 or submit a request via Applicant Inquiry Form.

We seek a diverse pool of applicants who wish to join an academic community that places the highest value on rigorous inquiry and encourages a diversity of perspectives, experiences, groups of individuals, and ideas to inform and stimulate intellectual challenge, engagement, and exchange.

All offers of employment are contingent upon a background check that includes a review of conviction history. A conviction does not automatically preclude University employment. Rather, the University considers conviction information on a case-by-case basis and assesses the nature of the offense, the circumstances surrounding it, the proximity in time of the conviction, and its relevance to the position.

The University of Chicago's Annual Security & Fire Safety Report (Report) provides information about University offices and programs that provide safety support, crime and fire statistics, emergency response and communications plans, and other policies and information. The Report can be accessed online at: copies of the Report are available, upon request, from the University of Chicago Police Department, 850 E. 61st Street, Chicago, IL 60637.

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