Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department alumna Joanie Schultz ’00, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s Theatre Directing program, is featured in the October 2017 issue of American Theatre magazine, the U.S. nonprofit theatre community’s leading publication. Schultz — who became artistic director of the WaterTower Theatre in Addison, Texas, January 2017, as reported previously in this blog — is one of five “artistic directors in search of the perfect theatre season” interviewed by American Theatre‘s Diep Tran for an article published September 23.
As the article notes, when Schultz was hired to replace a producing director who had led the theatre since 1999, the theatre’s board sought someone who might bring in new audiences. “Even though it was doing diverse work, [WaterTower] had become pretty specifically known for doing a couple of things and having this completely white, older audience,” Schultz says. “Which is one of the reasons they brought me down here, to try and expand the audience.” Her first show as director, Hit the Wall — a drama inspired by the 1969 Stonewall riots that launched the modern LGBTQ rights movement — attracted a younger and more diverse crowd.
Schultz says she wants to start developing new work at WaterTower, which is located in the north suburbs of Dallas. “Dallas is a really interesting area right now, because—talk about front lines of the culture wars,” she says. “And I think that the artists of this area have something to say, not just to this area but to the rest of the country, and I’m excited to be able to propel some of that work into the world.”