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Kara Riopelle

  • Arts Leadership
  • ​PhD St​anford University

  • Theatre Studies

As Managing Director of the Tony Award-winning Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Kara Riopelle is responsible for institutional planning, strategy, and innovation; external affairs; operations and change management; and business and resource development. She began serving the Theater as a Strategic Advisor in November 2020 and joined the organization full-time in July 2021 in this senior leadership role. Ms. Riopelle also leads the Community and Culture team, which is charged with designing and implementing the Theater's Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA) initiatives.

In addition to her role as Managing Director, Ms. Riopelle serves as an adjunct faculty member at DePaul University and supervises the Arts Leadership program, a two-year Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree that combines full-time employment at Chicago Shakespeare Theater with full-time coursework in management, leadership, and cultural decision-making at DePaul University. She is also the Research Director for the Arts Leadership Curriculum at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Ms. Riopelle received her doctorate from Stanford University and her Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University. After the completion of her PhD, she was hired to build and manage the new Innovation office at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Her past experience includes directing opera and film at international festivals and opera houses as well as maintaining a management consultant practice.