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  • Angela Allyn

Court Theatre names Gabrielle Randle-Bent as new Associate Artistic Director

Court Theatre, under the continuing leadership of Charles Newell, Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director, and Executive Director Angel Ysaguirre, announces the result of their search for an Associate Artistic Director. Gabrielle Randle-Bent has joined Court Theatre in this capacity as of July 2022.

As Associate Artistic Director, Randle-Bent will work closely with Newell and other members of the artistic team. She will advise in season planning, manage the development of new work, and - as a part of Court theatre’s new engagement division - help set and articulate strategies for engagement with the many communities Court serves.

Charles Newell, Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director, shares: “It is my tremendous pleasure to welcome Gabby to the Court team as our Associate Artistic Director. She is an immensely talented artist and fabulous fellow collaborator. Her singular clarity of vision sets her apart and makes her an asset in any given room. She will bring a refined artistic eye, academic excellence, and a level of expertise that will usher us into an exciting and bright future. I am overjoyed that she will be a part of Court’s artistic leadership.”

Randle-Bent is uniquely positioned for this role, bringing an impressive and extensive background in both theatre and academia. Her directorial highlights include co-directing Court Theatre’s production of The Tragedy of Othello, The Moor of Venice with Charles Newell, directing Eve. L Ewing’s 1919 for Steppenwolf for Young Adults (upcoming), and The Year of Magical Thinking at Remy Bumppo. She also served as the dramaturg for Court’s productions of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf, and Oedipus Rex. She is a co-founder of the Civic Actor’s Studio, a leadership program of the University of Chicago’s Office of Civic Engagement.

“I am thrilled that Gabby Randle-Bent will join Court Theatre as the Associate Artistic Director,” said Executive Director Angel Ysaguirre. “Gabby was our inaugural Research Fellow, has served as a dramaturg and a director at Court Theatre, and has taught courses in Theater and Performance Studies at UChicago. Her approach to engagement has been instrumental in the programming the theatre does, but also in the foundational ways in which we think of ourselves as a classic theatre company. We are incredibly lucky that she's joining us as a full-time member of our team, and we are overjoyed. This is a very exciting moment for the theatre, and we can’t wait to see what we will accomplish together.”

Reflecting on her new role, Gabrielle Randle-Bent remarks: “It is a privilege to be able to invest in a place that has invested so much in me, and it’s an honor to be in this position. The opportunity to learn from Charlie, the incredible artists and staff at Court, and the faculty collaborators at the university, is a real gift. More than anything, my love affair with Court has led to a love affair with the South Side of Chicago, and I would love for this theatre to truly, and fully – whatever that means, because I’m not the one who gets to define it - be a reflection of the communities that make this one of the most spectacularly alive places that I’ve ever been. That’s what I’m most looking forward to, as Associate Artistic Director.”

Gabrielle has a BA in Drama from Stanford University, an MA in Performance as Public Practice from University of Texas at Austin and is a PhD candidate at Northwestern University whilst being a Senior Lecturer in the Theater and Performance Studies program at University of Chicago.

Court Theatre is the professional theatre of the University of Chicago, dedicated to innovation, inquiry, intellectual engagement, and community service. Court endeavors to make a lasting contribution to classic American theatre by expanding the canon of translations, adaptations, and classic texts. The theatre revives lost masterpieces; illuminates familiar texts; explores the African American theatrical canon; and discovers fresh, modern classics. Court engages and inspires its audience by providing artistically distinguished productions, audience enrichment activities, and student educational experiences. In all of this work, Court is committed to recognizing, addressing, and eradicating racism to better serve the South Side community.

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