Addison — Nearly two years after she was announced as Artistic Director of WaterTower Theatre, Joanie Schultz has resigned. She will stay through the end of the year; her last day is Dec. 31, 2018.
Schultz replaced Terry Martin, who led the organization for 17 years, and left to run the arts department at the Greenhill School in Addison. According to the news release (which you can read below), Martin has offered to help in the transition period.
This news comes a few months after the resignation of managing director Nicholas Even, who was hired by the board shortly after Schultz started the post (and after previous MD Gregory Patterson resigned); and shortly after the mainstage at the Addison Theatre Space was renamed the Terry Martin Stage, having been previously named for the WTT donors of the Canterbury family. The Canterbury family reportedly pulled their name after Schultz's production of Robert Askins' Hand to God, which was critically well received, but was apparently too much for some donors.
Schultz accomplished some of the most daring programming in WaterTower's history. She championed writers, directors and artists from under-represented communities and demographics. The 2018-19 season, which opened with Schultz's adaptation of Ibsen's A Doll's House (that production closed Nov. 4), had women directors for all of its shows—which may have been the first time that a local professional theater with a full roster of shows programmed a season to be completely women-directed. Here's hoping that the season she put together, including a world premiere that emerged from the first Detour Festival, stays on the lineup.
Schultz also wrote a monthly column for TheaterJones about the experience of her first artistic director job, and adjusting to Texas from her longtime artistic home in Chicago. (The most recent edition is here, and it links to previous columns.)
Look for more on this development in the coming days on TheaterJones. For now, the full news release from WTT is below:
WaterTower Theatre Board President Grace Daniels announced today that Artistic Director Joanie Schultz will be leaving the organization on Monday, December 31, 2018.
Schultz tendered her resignation to the Board of Directors on October 23 and is working with the Board and Staff to ensure an easy transition by helping to tie up the very few remaining loose ends in relation to the season.
Schultz said “In my two years as Artistic Director, we have developed award-winning world premieres, produced regional premieres, and presented work that highlights voices of women, people of color, and Texas natives. WaterTower is a theatre with robust community support and is full of promise, and I have decided at this time it is best that I step aside so that the Board can reorganize in a way that is best for WTT’s future. I am incredibly proud of my leadership, which resulted in the support of diverse artists creating innovative work that speaks to our community. I am thankful for the time I’ve had here in Addison and I’m grateful to theatre practitioners of DFW, as I have cherished my collaboration with the inspiring artists and theatres here in this community.”
The Board of Directors, along with its recently formulated transition team, remain dedicated to finding someone to provide leadership for both the operational and artistic needs of the theatre. This person will help to support WTT’s vision to “connect the world to Addison and Addison to the world through developing and presenting innovative theatre that is artistically vital to our community locally and beyond.”
Grace Daniels, Board President stated, "I joined the board around the same time that Joanie was hired and was able to witness the impact of her artistic vision. It was during these seasons the theatre was able to engage with existing and new audience members from a different creative perspective, all while garnering outstanding reviews and awards.
We as a board have made a commitment to continue building on and protecting the theatre’s legacy, established in part by former Producing Artistic Director, Terry Martin. Martin has graciously extended his willingness to offer guidance during the transition and to help us honor relationships with our long-standing supporters all while continuing to introduce the theatre to new audience members. I would also like to thank the leadership of the town of Addison who continue to provide invaluable support and words of advice as we work through this time of transition.”
About Joanie Schultz
Joanie Schultz came to WaterTower Theatre in January 2017. Before WaterTower, Joanie served as Associate Artistic Producer at Victory Gardens Theater, as part of the Leadership U One-on-One Fellowship funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation administered through TCG, the national non-profit regional theatre service organization. She is also a freelance director, with recent productions at Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Studio Theatre, The Cleveland Play House, Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, and Victory Gardens Theater.
She was a Drama League Fellow, The Goodman Theatre Michael Maggio Director Fellow, the SDSF Denham Fellow, and Lincoln Center Theatre Directors Lab participant. She is an ensemble member at Steep Theatre, Artistic Associate at Victory Gardens Theater, and artistic cabinet member at Studio Theatre in Washington, DC. She has formerly served as adjunct faculty in directing at Columbia College and University of Chicago. She received her B.A. in Theatre/Directing at Columbia College and her M.F.A. in Theatre Directing from Northwestern University.
About WaterTower Theatre
Founded in 1996, WaterTower Theatre (WTT) is one of Texas' leading professional theatre companies and one of the flagship arts institutions in North Texas, having played an important role as a leader in developing new talent and encouraging the growth of the DFW artistic community through its commitment to hiring local artists. Led by Artistic Director Joanie Schultz and Managing Director Nicholas Even, it is consistently recognized for its artistic excellence by the Dallas Theatre League, DFW Theatre Critics Forum, The Dallas Morning News, The Dallas Observer, D Magazine, and The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, among others. WaterTower Theatre has a subscription base of more than 2,000 subscribers and serves an audience of over 24,000 patrons annually.
WaterTower Theatre is 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. WaterTower Theatre relies on its ticket income and generous donations from individuals, corporations, foundations, and government organizations to produce world-class live professional theatre and to offer community engagement and arts education programs. WaterTower Theatre gratefully acknowledges the support of the Town of Addison, The Shubert Foundation, TACA, Communities Foundation of Texas, Edgerton Foundation, Texas Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. WaterTower Theatre’s 2018-2019 Season is also supported, in part, through the generosity of its Producers Circle, including civic, corporate, and foundation donors AMLI Residential, Atmos Energy, FASTSIGNS Carrollton, Frost Bank, Liberty Capital Bank, Pinnacle Family of Companies, Slalom, Veritex Community Bank, Whole Foods, and individual donors Don and Barbara Daseke, The Bob Downs Family, Stan Graner and Jim McBride, and Gary Goodwin, Janiece and Jimmy Niemann, Karol Omlor, Paul and Norma Shultz, and Deborah and Craig Sutton.