Columbia College Chicago Theatre Dept. Alums Speak at Free Siddons Artistic Council Panel on Artistic Leadership Oct. 3 at Black Ensemble

Kaiser Ahmed


Cavan Hallman

Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department alums Kaiser Ahmed ’08, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s Theatre Directing program, and Cavan Hallman ’05, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s Playwriting program, will speak about the work of theatrical artistic directors at “Leadership Is Listening: A Conversation about Theatrical Leadership,” a panel discussion hosted by the Sarah Siddons Society’s Siddons Artistic Council on Monday, October 3, from 7 to 8:30 PM at the Black Ensemble Theatre, located at 4450 N. Clark in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. The program – including a reception following the panel – is free, but advance registration is required. To register, click here.

Ahmed is co-founder and artistic director of Chicago’s acclaimed Jackalope Theatre. As previously reported in this blog, Jackalope was founded by a cohort of Columbia College Theatre Department alumni and students in 2008. Hallman is co-founder and producing artistic director of Mirrorbox Theatre in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Ahmed and Hallman will participate in a rich conversation about leadership in theatrical organizations in changing cultural, economic, and artistic times. The conversation will focus on the concept of listening as a basis for leadership that is active, forward-thinking, and in responsive dialogue with artists, audiences, funders, new technologies, and the media. Not only must leaders listen, they must intentionally create space for dialogue. They must consider whose voices might previously have been excluded from the conversation and they must seek out and engage with those voices. And they must take action to develop the mission of the organization and to serve the artists and audiences who engage with the mission and programming offered by the organization.

Sar Cohen


Jermaine Hill

Founded in 1952, the Sarah Siddons Society is a Chicago organization dedicated to funding scholarships for promising theater arts students at top Chicago-area colleges and universities, including Columbia College. The Siddons Artistic Council offers mentoring, networking, and guidance to recent Siddons scholarship recipients and members of the Chicago-area professional theatre community, while acting as a conduit with the Society’s leadership. The Siddons Artistic Council includes Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department alumni Kaiser Ahmed and Sar Cohen ’18, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BA Program in Acting with a Minor in Stage Combat. Also on the council are Columbia College Theatre Department faculty member Donterrio and former Theatre Department faculty member Jermaine Hill.

Brian Shaw

Brian Shaw

Columbia College Theatre Department alum and faculty member Brian Shaw ’86, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BA Program in Theatre, is Columbia College’s representative on the Sarah Siddons Society’s board of governors and also serves as the board’s liaison to the Artistic Council.