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Lookingglass Theatre Company appoints Rachel L. Fink as its new Executive Director

Submitted by on Jan 7, 2018 – 3:04 pm

This Just In: The following is a news release written by an arts organization and submitted to Chicago On the Aisle.

Lookingglass Theatre Company’s Board of Directors announces the appointment of the theatre’s new Executive Director Rachel L. Fink.  Fink will begin her tenure at Lookingglass on Feb. 19.  She succeeds Rachel Kraft, who stepped down as Executive Director after 12 years with the company.

Rachel L. Fink comes to Chicago from the San Francisco Bay area, where she was Managing Director of Theatre Bay Area. Before that, she spent 16 years at Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

Fink comments, “I have long been a fan of Lookingglass Theatre Company and am incredibly privileged to join the team. When experiencing Lookingglass’ work, I always deeply trust the journey I’m about to begin – one that is imaginative, rooted in narrative, and with a particularly rigorous worldview. Not only have I experienced the thrill of watching a Lookingglass production unfold as an audience member, I have also had the pleasure of witnessing and curating those powerful moments with thousands of audience members during my tenure at Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

“It is transformative. Whether athletic and reflective or playful and challenging, the work always contains a magic which resonates collectively. This special brew is the result of the blood, sweat, and tears of a long-standing committed ensemble who have developed a unique language and shorthand, completely informed by being active members of the community and cultural life of Chicago. My work as an arts leader has always been about collaboratively creating the space and resources for the company to transform, flourish, and succeed. I am thrilled to join an organization whose values and approach to excellence matches my own and I eagerly look forward to our work together in a community which shows up and values its arts.”

Board Chairman John McGowan says, “Rachel and Lookingglass are a great match. The Board knew we

needed an Executive Director who would lead the Company to the sustainable fiscal foundation expected by our stakeholders, while growing income to support our exciting vision to expand. Rachel brings to us the right blend of experience, resourcefulness, and ambition.

“Her experience includes founding, building, and managing a financially successful business [theatre school] within a nonprofit theatre organization. She has demonstrated her skills in strategic planning, in tactical resourcefulness, and in building productive relationships with partners and donors. Rachel has also developed a national network of notable theatre professionals who want to see her be successful; that’s invaluable. As we embrace our next 30 years, we’re excited to have Rachel co-leading the Company with [Artistic Director] Heidi Stillman.”

Stillman adds, “I am thrilled to be partnering with Rachel. She is clear-headed and whip-smart. We knew of Rachel from her long-time stellar work at Berkeley Rep, a company that Lookingglass has partnered with many times over the years. We think she is a great match for us at this point in our trajectory as an ensemble theatre company. Rachel will be a great asset in the larger Chicago theatre community as well.”

Rachel L. Fink was the Managing Director of Theatre Bay Area, one of the largest regional performing arts service organizations in the nation, serving more than 300 theatre companies and 2,000 individual artists across the region. As managing director, she was responsible for Theatre Bay Area’s business life including finance, revenue generation, operations, human resources, marketing, communications and fundraising.

As the primary collaborator and thought partner with the Executive Director, she devised organizational strategy and future initiatives, as well as managed relationships with key stakeholders including the Board of Directors, member theatre leaders, donors, and organizational staff. During Fink’s tenure, Theatre Bay Area experienced a turnaround period, culminating with an end of year surplus after multiple deficits, a restructured organizational chart, the introduction of board term limits, an overhaul of technology systems, and a commitment to a new strategic initiative to engage with individual stakeholders particularly donors.

Prior to her time at Theatre Bay Area, Fink spent 16 years at Berkeley Repertory Theatre where she founded and grew the School of Theatre into a nationally recognized learning hub which incubated programs exploring global citizenry, active advocacy, professional development, arts skill-building, leadership training, and community engagement – all using the lens of theatre. These programs served over 23,000 students (ages 5-adult) annually throughout Northern California and included tuition-based arts training; Teen Council, a nationally-recognized engagement initiative; “claimyourARTS,” a teen-driven arts advocacy campaign; a highly-competitive fellowship training program; and on-going staff development and audience engagement programs.

A strong advocate of arts leadership development and cultural policy, Fink was recently one of four steering committee members of the inaugural Berkshire Leadership Summit, a national convening of arts leaders designed to address the lack of gender parity in executive level theatre positions. She was chosen to be the first U.S. delegate for the British Council’s Cultural Leadership International Programme and was selected for the inaugural class of the American Express/Aspen Institute Fellowship for Emerging Nonprofit Leaders.

About Lookingglass Theatre Company: Recipient of the 2011 Regional Theatre Tony Award, Lookingglass was founded in 1988 by eight Northwestern University students. Now in its 30th season, Lookingglass is home to a multi-disciplined ensemble of artists who create story-centered theatrical work that is physical, aurally rich and visually metaphoric. The Company has staged 64 world premieres, received 144 Joseph Jefferson Awards and nominations, and work premiered at Lookingglass has been produced in New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle, Berkeley, Philadelphia, Princeton, Hartford, Kansas City, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Louisville and St. Louis. Lookingglass original scripts have been produced across the United States. In 2016, Lookingglass received the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.

The Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago’s landmark Water Tower Water Works opened in June 2003. In addition to developing and presenting ensemble work, Lookingglass Education and Community programs encourage creativity, teamwork and confidence with thousands of community members each year.



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