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About Face Theatre (2013)

About Face Theatre (2013)

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Yale School of Drama
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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 yaletmknowledgebase@yale.edu


About the Theater Management Knowledge Base

This case is from the Theater Management Knowledge Base, a body of arts management material created by Yale School of Drama Theater Management students and faculty, overseen by an editorial board of leading practitioners. For more information or for help in selecting cases suitable for your educational or organizational purposes, please email yaletmknowledgebase@yale.edu.