The new year is coming up soon, which is a time for change and growth – things that WaterTower Theatre Artistic Director Joanie Schultz will experience as she leaves her position with the company to embark on a new journey. Schultz recently announced that she will be leaving WaterTower Theatre on Dec. 31, 2018. She gave her resignation to the WTT Board of Directors on Oct. 23, and she is currently working with them to ensure an easy transition.
“In my two years as artistic director, we have developed award-winning world premieres, produced regional premieres, and presented work that highlights voices of women, people of color and Texas natives,” stated Schultz in a recent press release. “WaterTower is a theatre with robust community support and is full of promise, and I have decided at this time it is best that I step aside so that the Board can reorganize in a way that is best for WTT’s future. I am incredibly proud of my leadership, which resulted in the support of diverse artists creating innovative work that speaks to our community. I am thankful for the time I’ve had here in Addison and I’m grateful to theatre practitioners of DFW, as I have cherished my collaboration with the inspiring artists and theatres here in this community.”
Schultz joined WaterTower Theatre in January 2017. Prior to this, she served as associate artistic producer at Victory Gardens Theater, as part of the Leadership U One-on-One Fellowship funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation administered through TCG, the national nonprofit regional theatre service organization. She is also a freelance director, with recent productions at Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Studio Theatre, the Cleveland Play House, Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre and Victory Gardens Theater.
In the past, Schultz has been a Drama League Fellow, the Goodman Theatre Michael Maggio Director Fellow, the SDSF Denham Fellow and Lincoln Center Theatre Directors Lab participant. She has also formerly served as an adjunct faculty member in directing at Columbia College and University of Chicago. Schultz is an ensemble member at Steep Theatre, artistic associate at Victory Gardens Theater and artistic cabinet member at Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C. She has her bachelor’s degree in theatre/directing from Columbia College and her M.F.A. in theatre directing from Northwestern University.
“I joined the Board around the same time that Joanie was hired and was able to witness the impact of her artistic vision,” said Grace Daniels, Board president, in the press release. “It was during these seasons the theatre was able to engage with existing and new audience members from a different creative perspective, all while gathering outstanding reviews and awards.”
The Board of Directors has formed a transition team, and they are working together to find someone to provide leadership for both the operational and artistic needs of the theatre. This person will support WTT’s vision to “connect the world to Addison and Addison to the world through developing and presenting innovative theatre that is artistically vital to our community locally and beyond.”
Daniels added in the release, “We as a Board have made a commitment to continue building on and protecting the theatre’s legacy, established in part by former producing artistic director, Terry Martin. Martin has graciously extended his willingness to offer guidance during the transition and to help us honor relationships with our long-standing supporters all while continuing to introduce the theatre to new audience members. I would also like to thank the leadership of the Town of Addison, who continue to provide invaluable support and words of advice as we work through this time of transition.”
WaterTower Theatre was founded in 1996 and is one of Texas’ leading professional theatre companies and one of the flagship arts institutions in North Texas. It has played an important role as a leader in developing new talent and encouraging the growth of the DFW artistic community through its commitment to hiring local artists. It is consistently recognized for its artistic excellence by several local organizations, has more than 2,000 subscribers and serves more than 24,000 patrons annually.
The next show you can catch at WTT is “The Great Distance Home,” which will play from Nov. 23-Dec. 16. This play is about Boy, a kid with great imagination who sets off in search of a new home when the struggles of growing up begins to stifle him. This heartwarming tale about discovering life is perfect for the holiday season.
Congratulations to Schultz on her latest endeavor, and good luck to WTT on your search to find a new artistic director! We can’t wait to see how both Schultz and the theatre continue to grow in the future.