Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department alumnus Cody Estle ’11, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s Theatre Directing program, has been named artistic director of Chicago’s venerable, award-winning Raven Theatre. The appointment, effective immediately, was announced Monday, November 6, 2017, by the theatre company’s board of directors. Estle was recruited as Raven’s associate artistic director in 2014 by the company’s co-founder and longtime artistic director Michael Menendian, whose retirement was announced earlier this year.
At Raven, Estle has directed several acclaimed productions, including Tennessee Williams’ rarely-seen Vieux Carre, William Inge’s seldom-revived A Loss of Roses, the Chicago premiere of Horton Foote’s Dividing the Estate, and the Midwest premiere of Richard Greenberg’s The Assembled Parties. This season, Estle will direct the world premiere of Chicago playwright Philip Dawkins’ The Gentleman Caller, set to run March 28-May 13, 2018. Estle previously served as artistic director of Haven Theatre Company, which he cofounded with Carol Cohen, a former student in the Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department’s Theatre Design program. He has also directed productions at The Artistic Home (including Anton Chekhov’s classic drama The Seagull) and Redtwist Theatre (the Chicago premiere of Lucy Thurber’s controversial Scarcity) and served as assistant director on productions at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Court Theatre, Northlight Theatre, and Marriott Theatre.
Located at 6157 N. Clark on the northern border of Chicago’s thriving Edgewater Theatre District, Raven Theatre was founded in 1983 by Michael Menendian and JoAnn Montemurro. Besides Estle, other Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department alumni on the theatre’s staff include marketing director Jake Fruend ’13 and box office manager Max Colvill ’16, both graduates of the Theatre Department’s Theatre Directing program.
Raven’s current production, the Chicago premiere of Oscar-winning writer Tarell Alvin McCraney’s drama Choir Boy, runs through November 12 with a cast that includes Columbia College Theatre Department alum Darren Patin ’17, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BFA Program in Musical Theatre Performance.