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Joanie Schultz  Named Associate Artistic Director

We are pleased to announce that Joanie Schultz, a national arts leader and director of theatre and opera, will join the Playhouse as our new associate artistic director starting full-time in late November! In this role, she will collaborate with producing artistic director Blake Robison to fulfill the Playhouse’s mission, oversee the day-to-day operations of the artistic department, lead the Playhouse’s new play development work, help conduct season planning, direct mainstage productions, and represent the theatre locally and nationally.

“Joanie brings talent, creativity and strong leadership skills to the Playhouse,” states Blake Robison. “She’s a nationally renowned arts leader, and I’m thrilled to welcome her to Cincinnati! We are entering a period of tremendous growth as we emerge from the pandemic and open our new facility to the community. Joanie will help us chart a path forward that is artistically ambitious, inclusive and forward-thinking.”

Joanie previously served as artistic director of WaterTower Theatre in Dallas-Fort Worth, where she oversaw two years of diverse and award-winning work in 2017 and 2018. From 2014-16, she served as associate artistic producer at Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago as part of the Leadership U One-on-One Fellowship, which is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and administered by Theatre Communications Group (TCG).

She has directed throughout Chicago and the nation including The Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater, The Cleveland Play House, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Kansas City Repertory Theatre and Studio Theatre in Washington, DC.

Her notable directing work has included directing the smash hit and immersive production of Hand to God (Studio Theatre & WaterTower Theatre); her own new adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House (WaterTower Theatre); the world premiere of Frida…A Self Portrait (Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Portland Center Stage); the world premieres of Sarah Gubbins’ Cocked (Victory Gardens Theater,) fml: how Carson McCullers saved my life (Steppenwolf Theatre,) and The Kid Thing (About Face Theatre/Chicago Dramatists); the critically lauded The Whale and Rest by Samuel D. Hunter (Victory Gardens Theater); the Jeff Award winning productions of In Arabia We’d All be Kings and The Brief History of Helen of Troy (Steep Theatre); site-specific performances of the operas Acis and Galatea (Chicago Cultural Center) and Bluebeard’s Castle (New Millennium Orchestra). She also co-created and directed a 6-hour theatrical adaptation of Wagner’s Ring Cycle (The Building Stage).

Joanie holds an MFA in directing from Northwestern University and a BA in directing from Columbia College Chicago. She was a Drama League Fellow; The Goodman Theatre's Michael Maggio Directing Fellow; the SDCF Denham Fellow; a Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab participant; and was Co-Artistic Curator for Theater on the Lake (2013). She was co-Artistic Director of Estrogen Fest; Associate Artistic Director of The Building Stage; and co-Founder/Artistic Director of Flush Puppy Productions.

She is an ensemble member at Steep Theatre; artistic associate at Victory Gardens; and an artistic cabinet member at Studio Theatre in DC. She was also on the theater faculty of Columbia College Chicago and the University of Chicago, the opera faculty of Roosevelt University and Northwestern University; and taught for the School at Steppenwolf, the Audition Studio, Steep Theatre, WaterTower Theatre and Italian Operatic Experience.

Welcome, Joanie!