Artistic Director Stephen Schellhardt to Exit BoHo Theatre At End of 2021 Season
BoHo Theatre's Artistic Director Stephen Schellhardt has announced that he will step down from the position at the end of the 2021 season. Schellhardt first joined the company in 2015 and took over as Artistic Director in 2019. He is BoHo's third artistic director, following Peter Marston Sullivan, who took over the role in 2010 from founder Stephen Genovese. BoHo's board of directors has begun a public search to fill the theatre's top artistic position.
"BoHo Theatre has been my artistic home for six years, and it has been a great privilege to work with so many talented and dedicated artists, staff, and board members," says Schellhardt. "I strongly believe that a theatre company, whether Equity or non-Equity, benefits from fresh perspectives and voices behind its leadership table - and that includes BoHo. But I will always be proud of what BoHo has achieved, especially in such tumultuous times."
Before becoming Artistic Director, Schellhardt had already established himself as a powerful artistic voice with BoHo's popular production of Urinetown, as well as creating BoHo's off-night cabaret series at Stage 773. Schellhardt went on to oversee BoHo's transition to resident theatre status at the Greenhouse Theatre Center in Lincoln Park for the company's 2019 season, which included the local premieres of Steve Martin and Edie Brickell's Bright Star. In 2020, the company shifted to producing streaming performances during the pandemic shutdown, premiering the expansive digital cabarets The Pursuit of Happiness and BoHoHome for the Holidays. Under Schellhardt's tenure, BoHo Theatre has been nominated for 13 Jeff Awards and won six, including best director for his production of the musical Big Fish.
Continuing BoHo's goal of being an incubator for new artists, Schellhardt partnered with Northwestern University's Next Step program in 2019, which connects young playwrights with professional theatres to guide the writing and public readings of new plays. As part of this program, BoHo presented readings of SPAY by Madison Fiedler (originally slated to premiere at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble in 2020), Martha & Stephen by Nate Hollander, and National Merit by Valen-Marie Santos. With the prospect of in-person performances uncertain in 2021, Schellhardt continued this commitment to new works by dedicating BoHo's 2021 season to a program of new online play readings called In The Wings.
"Stephen is a natural coach and bridge builder," says BoHo Board President Nancy Bullock. "He brings people together, encourages them, and helps them create a winning production - and always with a smile. He has also been our passionate artistic leader through the pandemic and has never let us stop creating, envisioning, or producing great works of theatre. We wish Stephen the very best in his next adventures and will continue to champion his work from a far."
Schellhardt is currently the head of the musical theatre program at The Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. In addition to his work there, he is looking forward to pursuing other artistic opportunities and spending more time with his husband and their three-year-old daughter. "BoHo will always be a beloved artistic home for me," he says, "and I am eager to see what happens in its next chapter."
For information on BoHo's Artistic Director position and the company's ongoing search, please visit BoHoTheatre.com.