Chicago Shakespeare Theater
Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) is one of the fastest-growing
producing and presenting theater institutions in America today.
Under the leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and
Executive Director Criss Henderson, CST has achieved its reputation
for consistently high production values and artistic standards.
In addition to its acclaimed productions of William Shakespeare's
canon, CST presents work of the highest quality by some of
the most distinguished American and international playwrights
and directors. The theater is grounded in a dedication to
quality, clarity and integrity, which are the hallmarks of
every CST production, from Shakespeare to Sondheim.
Rapid growth has characterized CST from its first production
on the roof of the Red Lion Pub in Chicago's Lincoln Park
neighborhood. Just 13 years later in 1999, CST, now recognized
as one of Chicago's leading cultural and civic resources,
was invited by state, city, and private officials to build
its permanent home-a new $24 million, multi-venue, facility-on
Chicago's famous Navy Pier. Prominently situated on the Pier,
CST's new location and architectural design-a seven-story,
glass curtain-walled structure, housing a 500-seat courtyard
theater and a 200-seat flexible black box theater-afford panoramic
vistas of the Chicago skyline. CST's mission-to bring innovative
and high-quality theater to a broad and diverse audience-is
well served by its new location on the Midwest's most-visited
destination. In its new location, CST's annual budget has
grown from $2.9 million in 1999 to $12.4 million for the 2003-2004
Season; its subscription base has increased from 7,200 to
more than 22,000 patrons.
Asserting a leadership role in Chicago's global cultural renaissance,
CST recently made a bold move to expand its global profile
with the introduction of the "World's Stage" program,
presenting works by leading internationally distinguished
theater companies and artists. In the fall of 2003, CST presented
the American premiere of Edward Hall's acclaimed Henry VI
history cycle, entitled Rose Rage; and Shakespeare's Globe
Theatre's "original practice" production of Twelfth
Night, starring The Globe's Artistic Director, Mark Rylance.
In the summer of 2003, CST made its London debut as it joined
with London's acclaimed Donmar Warehouse to co-produce CST's
nationally acclaimed production of Stephen Sondheim's Pacific
Overtures, directed by Chicago Shakespeare Associate Artistic
Director Gary Griffin.
In 2002, CST was the only North American stop on Peter Brook's
world tour of the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord
production of Le Costume (The Suit). In 2001 CST was one of
only three venues in the United States to host the internationally
acclaimed production of Peter Brook's The Tragedy of Hamlet.
Also that year, CST presented the Comédie-Française
production of La Dernière Lettre starring Catherine
Samie, and hosted Simon Callow's one-man performance of The
Mystery of Charles Dickens. During its second season on Navy
Pier (2000-2001), CST provided a home for Canada's Stratford
Festival, with Brian Bedford's production of The School for
Since CST's inception, reaching out to young audiences has
been integral to its mission. Team Shakespeare, CST's arts-in-education
program, reached 500,000 students in its first decade serving
50,000 students and teachers annually. Team Shakespeare's
multi-faceted programming expands on traditional teaching
methods by building long-term partnerships with a team of
educators, administrators and students, and CST's artistic
and educational staff.
Artistic Director Barbara Gaines
Barbara Gaines (Director, Artistic Director) is the founder
of Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Ms. Gaines has directed Chicago
Shakespeare's productions of Julius Caesar (2003), Love's
Labor's Lost (2002), The Tempest (2002), Richard II (2001),
King Lear (1993 and 2001), All's Well That Ends Well (2000),
Antony and Cleopatra (1988 and 1999), Henry IV Parts 1 and
2 (1999), Henry V (1998), The Merchant of Venice (1997), The
Merry Wives of Windsor (1997), Hamlet (1996), Richard III
(1996), Othello (1995), Troilus and Cressida (1987 and 1995),
The Winter's Tale (1994), Measure for Measure (1994), The
Taming of the Shrew (1993), The Tale of Cymbeline (1989 and
1993), Pericles (1992), Much Ado About Nothing (1991), and
King John (1991). Her work has been honored with Jeff Awards
for Best Production (Hamlet, The Tale of Cymbeline, and King
Lear, 1993) and for Best Director (The Tale of Cymbeline and
King Lear, 1993). Ms. Gaines serves on the artistic directorate
of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London and on Northwestern
University's board of trustees. She has served on panels for
the National Endowment for the Arts and is an editorial board
member of the Chicago Reporter.
Executive Director Criss Henderson
Criss Henderson (Executive Director) has produced Chicago
Shakespeare's past 14 seasons. Under his leadership Chicago
Shakespeare has become one of the city's major cultural attractions.
He oversaw the development and construction of the Theater's
new $24 million facility on Navy Pier. Mr. Henderson was honored
at The Kennedy Center as Arts Administrator of the Year for
2000. He was among 1998's top 40 business people under the
age of 40 in Crain's Chicago Business. In 1999 he was named,
along with Artistic Director Barbara Gaines, one of the Chicagoans
of the Year by Chicago Tribune arts and entertainment writers.
He has been invited to serve on grant panels for the National
Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council and the
Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. Mr. Henderson serves
as president of the Producers' Association of Chicago-area
Theaters and on the executive committee of the board of directors
for the Illinois Arts Alliance and the League of Chicago Theatres.
He is a graduate of DePaul/Goodman School of Drama.