jakub | January 10, 2024

AMERICAN THEATRE | Rick Dildine Named Artistic Director of Children’s Theatre Company


Rick Dildine. (Photo by Wesley Laws)

MINNEAPOLIS: Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) has named Rick Dildine to be their new artistic director. Dildine will assume the post on July 1. He replaces Peter C. Brosius, who will depart CTC on June 30 after 27 years leading the organization. A director and producer, Dildine became the fourth artistic director of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival (ASF) in August 2017.

“For some time, I have felt that creating art for young people is the most important task artists can undertake as they expand the scope of American theatre,” Dildine said in a statement. “Over the past few months as I have gotten to know the people and artists who shepherd CTC’s mission daily, I feel a strong connection to their values and vision to be the world’s leader in multigenerational programming…I am honored to be following in the footsteps of Peter Brosius, one of the most distinguished leaders in American theatre. For nearly three decades, he has championed rigorous, empathetic, imaginative work for audiences of all ages. I am excited and committed to continue this important work.”

Dildine currently oversees all artistic programming and sets the creative vision for ASF, one of the largest Shakespeare festivals in the country. In 2018, he launched ASF’s most significant commissioning endeavor to date with the “State of the South” tour and New Southern Canon Project. Playwrights currently under commission include Pulitzer and Tony winner Robert Schenkkan; one of the most-produced playwrights in America, Lauren Gunderson; Whiting Award winner Donnetta Lavinia Grays, and Broadway playwright Mansa Ra. The resulting 22-play canon will represent the largest body of work about the South in decades.

Since joining ASF, Dildine reinstated the repertory model, which nearly doubled the subscription base (and added a significant number of new subscribers); launched a training program for early career theatre artists; and established partnerships with the Montgomery Public Schools (90 percent BIPOC students), Alabama State University (HBCU), and the Equal Justice Initiative. Under his leadership at ASF, audiences of color grew by more than 40 percent. Of his time as ASF, Dildine said in a statement, “ASF gave me the opportunity to create some marvelous pieces of theatre, and I am incredibly grateful for my time in Alabama…My life is richer because of my time in Montgomery.”  

Before ASF, Dildine served as the artistic director of the Shakespeare Festival St. Louis. He won the 2017 St. Louis Theatre Award for Best Director for his production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch named him “Best Director” for 2016-17. Dildine, recognized as a leader in community engagement, began the company’s public arts programs by creating Shakespeare in the Streets and nationally replicated SHAKE 38, both of them recognized by this magazine as national models in community development using the performing arts. Dildine has also held leadership positions at About Face Theatre, Shakespeare & Company, Stephen Foster Theatre (KY), and Brown University/Trinity Rep New Plays Festival. He serves on the board of directors for Child Protect and on the national advisory board for the Recovery Project. He has taught or served on staff for Brown University, Clark University, and Webster University.

Dildine is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University and Brown University/Trinity Rep with an MFA in Acting and is a proud member of AEA and SDC. Rick grew up in Wynne, Ark. 

Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) is the nation’s largest theatre for young people and serves a multigenerational audience. It aims to create theatre experiences that educate, challenge, and inspire audiences of nearly 250,000 people annually. As of 2022, the theatre’s budget was around $11.3 million.

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