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Chicago Shakespeare Theater names new artistic, executive directors

Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Wednesday announced its new leadership team, naming Edward Hall as the company’s artistic director, and Kimberly Motes as executive director.

The leadership appointments — only the second in the nearly 40-year history of the theater company — come on the heels of the departure of founder/artistic director Barbara Gaines last month after 37 years, and the exit of executive director Criss Henderson in late 2022 after 33 years. Gaines announced her departure last year.

Hall and Motes will begin their tenures in mid-October.

Hall is an acclaimed film/TV director and founder of the UK’s Propeller Theatre Company. He directed Chicago Shakespeare’ production of the “Rose Rage” trilogy of “Henry VI, Parts 1, 2, and 3” in 2003 and is set to direct “Richard III” at the theater in 2024 starring Tony Award-nominee Katy Sullivan. Hall is the son of Royal Shakespeare Company founder Sir Peter Hall.

Motes’ resume boasts more than 25 years of senior leadership in theater arts and higher eduction entities in Minnesota and Washington, D.C., including the Washington Ballet and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Most recently, Motes served as the managing director of Minneapolis’ Tony Award-winning Children’s Theatre Company.

“I have admired Criss and Barbara’s ambition and entrepreneurial spirit over the past three decades. Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s mission is compelling especially as it seeks to engage artists and audiences in dynamic, life-long relationships that bridge countries, cultures, and generations,” Motes said via statement.


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