Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department Alum Cody Estle on Raven Theatre’s Return to Live Performance as an Equity Company: ‘Slow and Steady Wins the Race’

Cody Estle (Photo: Joe Mazza)

Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department alumnus Cody Estle ’11, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s Theatre Directing program, was interviewed in the Chicago Tribune‘s digital edition about his plans for guiding Chicago’s venerable, award-winning Raven Theatre back to live performance for the 2021-22 theatre season. Estle, who has been Raven’s artistic director since 2017, told the Tribune‘s Doug George that the season will also mark Raven’s transition to Equity status, meaning that the company will be operating under a contract negotiated with the Actors’ Equity theatre union. “It’s one step closer to paying everyone a more equitable wage,” Estle told the Tribune. “If I’ve learned anything in this job, it is that slow and steady wins the race.”

Cody Estle (Photo: Joe Mazza at Brave-Lux)

Cody Estle (Photo: Joe Mazza at Brave-Lux)

Notes the Tribune article: “The transition to Equity, a goal Estle says he’s been working toward since he took his role in 2017, has turned out to be well-timed, because Equity has stepped in and spelled out the conditions under which a theater such as Raven can reopen safely. He and the fully vaccinated company have been going straight by Equity health and safety standards. . . . ‘I’m happy for someone to dictate what to do, rather than making it up ourselves,’ [Estle] said. ‘Me, I have a degree in directing theater.’ Not in public health.”

Tyla Abercrumbie

As previously reported in this blog, Raven’s 2021-2022 season will feature three productions previously postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The opening production — the world premiere of The Last Pair of Earlies by Joshua Allen, running October 27 through December 12, 2021 — will be directed by Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department alum Tyla Abercrumbie ’98. Estle will direct the season’s final production, the Chicago premiere of The Luckiest by Melissa Ross, running May 4 through June 19, 2022.

To read the full Chicago Tribune interview with Cody Estle, click here.