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Oak Park Festival Theatre Announces New Artistic Director

Peter G. Andersen To Lead Artistic Vision For Oldest Professional Outdoor Classical Theatre in the Midwest Starting January 2023.

OAK PARK, Illinois - The Oak Park Festival Theatre, Oak Park’s premiere Equity theatre and the oldest professional classical theatre in the Midwest, today announced that Peter G. Andersenwill be joining the company as its new Artistic Director in January 2023. Andersen takes the artistic helm after a nationwide search and will set the stage for the thousands of annual attendees who look to Oak Park Festival Theatre not just for summer Shakespeare in the park but also for new interpretations of classic works year-round.

“Oak Park Festival Theatre has set a vision for the coming 3 - 5 years that includes broadening our audience and our perspective to be more diverse and inclusive,” said Barbara Cimaglio, President of the Board of Directors at Oak Park Festival Theatre. “Peter Andersen was the one candidate who had the breadth of experience and the vision to lead us in a direction of growth and exploration. He brings a deep knowledge of classical theatre as well as experience directing in both small and larger venues, and importantly, he is enthusiastic about Oak Park Festival Theatre and guiding us forward to serve our patrons in the Chicagoland area better. ”

“I have been a long admirer of Oak Park Festival Theatre. It's a company which has an outstanding reputation within the theatre community of Chicago, and one I feel a great sense of kinship with,” said Peter G. Andersen, Artistic Director of Oak Park Festival Theatre. “OPFT is approaching its 50th season, and I am thrilled to lead it into its next chapter. This company has a long history of producing 'classical' plays, and I plan on bringing my years of experience working with the classical canon to produce fresh productions for modern audiences. I am eager to explore what constitutes 'classical' or 'canonical' plays by producing works by Queer artists and artists of color which have historically been excluded. This is a thrilling time to be working in American Theatre, because there is a collective examination and conversation around the type work theatres should produce. I am elated to help bring OPFT into that conversation, as it moves into its 50th year.”

As the Artistic Director of Oak Park Festival Theatre, Andersen is responsible for establishing the artistic vision of the company, stewarding creative relationships, and ensuring the highest production value on stage and the richest aesthetic experience for audiences. The Artistic Director is also a representative and advocate for the theatre with the community, local business groups, and arts organizations and is a spokesperson for the organization with the media.

Andersen obtained his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Acting from Emerson College and recently graduated from The John Wells Directing Program at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama, earning a Master of Fine Arts degree in Directing. Prior to joining Oak Park Festival Theatre, Andersen was the Education Manager at Writers Theatre in Glencoe and worked at Steppenwolf Theatre Company as the Education Apprentice and Multicultural Fellow. His previous directorial projects include The Kennedy Plays, 21, a rock-musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s As You Like It, The American Myth, At Your Own Risk, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Queer Shakespeare, The Cafe Collections, O/A: The Sophocles Project, As You Like It, Macbeth, and Measure for Measure. He has also worked at TimeLine Theatre, Huntington Theatre Company, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Yale Repertory Theatre, Writers Theatre, and American Players Theatre as an assistant director.

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