Andrew Volkoff was trying to make sense of the past month’s events. In late April of 2013 he had left New York City for Chicago, eager to start his new job as Artistic Director at About Face Theatre, one of the few prominent LGBTQ theatres in the country. Volkoff had expected his public introduction at the annual gala, the Wonka Ball, to lead to a night of warm welcomes. Instead, partway through the evening members of the About Face Youth Theatre had taken to the stage to decry his hiring. They announced to a roomful of donors that they were not consulted in the hiring process, and that About Face Theatre didn’t respect them or consider them a valuable part of the organization.
Volkoff was stunned. During the interview process he’d received general information about the Youth Theatre, but mostly around its importance as a space for queer youth – he certainly hadn’t been made aware of any conflict between the youth and the administration. Then before he had a chance to address the situation the members of the Youth Theatre decided they would not be returning to About Face, leaving behind a youth program with zero participants and a troubled legacy.
Volkoff had taken the job without knowing about this turmoil, and wasn’t even sure if those hiring him had known its extent. But as the Artistic Director of About Face Theatre, it was his responsibility to, in his words, “make lemonade out of these lemons.”
Publication Date: 2018-09-01
Suggested Citation: Laura Cornwall, "About Face Theatre (2013)," Yale Theater Management Knowledge Base Case Study #17-83, September 1, 2018
Keywords: Chicago, Arts Education, Children, Culturally Specific Organization, Leadership Transition, Organizational Direction
Teaching Notes: Yes (contact firstname.lastname@example.org)
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