The Theatre School’s Arts Leadership
program is a two-year Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree that combines
full-time employment at Chicago Shakespeare Theater with full-time
coursework at DePaul University. Management, leadership, and cultural decision-making coursework through both The Theatre School and Kellstadt Graduate School of Business is
applied and synthesized through the fellowship at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. This rigorous and nationally distinct
program is designed to prepare highly skilled leaders
in the complex and sophisticated world of the arts. Two students are selected to enter the program each year.
Download the MFA Arts Leadership Viewbook
Students learn from a distinguished faculty of working professionals
who possess a wide variety of backgrounds and expertise in the arts and entertainment industry. The program is jointly supervised by veteran theatre producer
and full-time faculty member, Alan Salzenstein, and Executive Director
of Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Criss Henderson.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater
(CST) brings a broad spectrum of theater to Chicago each
year, engaging and entertaining visitors from all walks of life. Through the World’s Stage
Series, CST brings international productions to Chicago audiences,
presenting new cultural and artistic experiences.
For family audiences, CST presents abridged Shakespeare productions and
classic musicals. The education outreach program, Team Shakespeare, has
reached more than one million students and helps Shakespeare come alive
for students and teachers throughout the Midwest. Chicago Shakespeare Theater sets a high standard for entertainment and storytelling
that ensures everyone will find something to enjoy—whether it be
traditional classical theater or new classics.
Leadership students are introduced to all phases of work at CST and
assume management positions for specific projects. Students undertake
staff management, line production, and strategic development duties in
various departments and in doing so, interact with several of the CST’s
constituencies, from patrons to artists to donors. Students administer
the routine tasks that keep a theater running smoothly, and helm
company-wide programs that require the highest standard of execution and
accountability. Front-line involvement in day-to-day operations
coupled with access to the CST’s “big picture” planning afford students a
unique opportunity to develop the skills and vision necessary to lead
an arts organization into the future.
The Arts Leadership Fellowship includes a compensation package of a
full-time salary and benefits. The total package is generally equal to a
tuition remission, prior to taxes. In addition to the compensation
package, The Theatre School also awards scholarships to Arts Leadership
students for each year of the program.
Arts Leadership alumni go on to work in a range of high-level management and administrative positions, both in the arts and entertainment industry as well as related fields. Some recent graduates include:
Dottie Bris-Bois ('15)
, Director of Campaign and Major Gifts at Chicago Shakespeare Theater
Katy Coy ('08)
, Executive Director of the Association of Arts Administration Educators
Dan Cox ('12)
, Creative Director at Live Marketing
Kendall Karg ('13)
, Managing Director of The Neo-Futurists
Christopher Mannelli ('09)
, Executive Director of the Geva Theatre Center
Carly McGill ('12)
, Director of Institutional Advancement at Writers Theatre.
Martin Miller ('09), Executive Director of TheatreSquared.
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