Tuesday, March 22, 2016

New Executive Leadership Takes The Reins At BoHo Theatre

BoHo Theatre, now in its 12th season, announced today the appointment of BoHo company member Meg Love as the company’s new Executive Director. Love has been part of the company since 2012, serving as producer, production manager, and stage manager prior to accepting the new position.

Love assumes the Executive Director position from Kaela Altman, who held the position since 2012. Altman oversaw a period of exciting growth at BoHo, helping to expand the company’s board of directors and staff. She also spearheaded a partnership with the Arts & Business Council of Chicago resulting in a multi-faceted five-year strategic plan. Under her executive leadership, the company produced such hits as Pygmalion (co-produced with Stage Left Theatre), Hauptmann, Veronica's Room, Parade, Ordinary Days, and Dogfight, and was recognized with 26 Jeff Award nominations. Altman will remain a company member with BoHo.

“Kaela’s contributions to this company over the past several years have been, in short, remarkable,” Artistic Director Peter Sullivan says. “She has worked tirelessly to promote company growth through fundraising and personnel, and has continually nurtured a safe and collaborative creative atmosphere. I am proud and honored to have worked alongside her.”

“Kaela is leaving some very large shoes to fill,” Love confides. “And while I am both extremely excited and a bit scared to assume this incredibly important position, I know that I will succeed. I am inheriting a very healthy company. She has fostered an active board of passionate individuals, she has molded an organized company and a near-seamless production process, and we are the most financially stable we have ever been as an organization.”

Over the years, Altman and Love have worked closely together at BoHo. “Meg has technically been a part of the BoHo family longer than Peter Sullivan and I combined,” Altman says. “Her institutional knowledge as well as her stage management expertise will be an asset as BoHo works to advance into the future. She knows what's worked and what hasn't, and she carries within her a strong representation of the founding mission and vision.”

“Meg brings an immense amount of knowledge, talent, patience and drive to help continue our forward momentum,” Sullivan says. “I have yet to meet someone that isn’t a fan of her both personally and professionally, and I am excited to take the next step in growth with her as Executive Director.”

Meg Love has worked with BoHo for a total of eight years, including four years as a company member. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in Stage Management from the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University. Before coming to BoHo, she was the Production Stage Manager at the Okoboji Summer Theatre for four years and worked with The Old Globe in San Diego on the Broadway-bound production of Chita Rivera: A Dancer's Life. She has also worked with the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis as Production Assistant and Season Planning Associate, as well as stage managing for the Chicago Gay Men's Chorus and Noble Fool Theatricals.

BoHo Theatre’s 2016 season continues with Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice, directed by company member Charles Riffenburg, opening at the Heartland Studio May 12th, and Next To Normal, directed by Theatre at the Center Artistic Director Linda Fortunato, opening at Theater Wit August 20th.

New Executive Director Meg Love on Leadership and Friendship

In the spring of 2012, I attended my first BoHo company meeting. I had already worked for BoHo for four years and had finally agreed to join the company as Production Coordinator. At that time, I had no idea how much my life was about to change.

There was someone else joining the company the same day as me. Her name was Kaela. I was told that she was a board member who was becoming a company member in order to take over for Peter Blair as Executive Director. We bonded that night on the Robels' porch while the company inside voted on our membership status – both of us the new kids – both of us anticipating our upcoming adventures.

The first of these was Floyd Collins. I was the Stage Manager. Kaela was assisting Peter Blair as Producer in preparation of assuming his position in a matter of weeks. They say that those who experience a crisis together bond quickly. Even with the passing of time, I still believe it fair to call Floyd Collins' tech a crisis. It was the largest undertaking we had ever mounted at BoHo. There were dozens of sound cues to be crafted, including live echoes, a massive set to construct (and then repair when an actor fell through the stage), a multitude of costumes and props in a narrow dressing room, a pit anchored by a keyboard running on a computer program that kept crashing, and hundreds of light cues (which were still being added for the first time, live, as the show was happening, on preview night with the Wall Street Journal in the house). It was indeed a crisis-- the result of which was an absolutely beautiful piece that was critically acclaimed and a very personal, proud moment in my time as a stage manager, proving that the work is worth it!

While it has now become a blur, I fondly remember how quickly Kaela and I bonded during that week. I remember her intimating how very excited and nervous she was to take on the position of Executive Director and occasionally exclaiming that there were things that she simply “didn’t know how to do.” “But I do,” I said, “and you have me.” And since that day where we vowed to be there for each other almost like two kids at camp promising to be best friends forever. I have been lucky enough to have the most special relationship I could ever expect to have with a supervisor, a colleague and a friend.

It became very apparent over the years that there was, in actuality, nothing she “didn’t know how to do,” only that which she had not done yet.

Kaela is fierce. She is a passionate leader. She advocates for our company like no one I’ve seen. She supports our members and artists alike.

The position of Executive Director is not easy. It’s actually really, really hard-– and also pretty thankless. You’re relied upon to make business decisions in a creative world. Those decisions aren’t always popular-– and can often be met with friction. You’re relied upon to keep all the balls in the air. Way more balls than anyone in the company can fathom. To quantify all the ongoing projects Kaela was juggling at any given time would be a never ending list of licensing, accounting, party planning, providing therapy, and worrying about toilet paper. The varying scope of required talent is unreasonable. It’s like being a mother. Everyone needs you and no one knows exactly how you make the magic happen.

Despite all these factors, Kaela charged bravely forward with intelligence, grace and humor. Through these years she has become a best friend and an absolutely indispensable mentor. I have learned volumes from working by her side.

She is leaving some very large shoes to fill. And while I am both extremely excited and a bit scared to assume this incredibly important position, I know that I will succeed. I am inheriting a very healthy company. We have an active board of passionate individuals-– fostered by Kaela. We have an organized company and a near seamless production process-– implemented by Kaela. And we are the most financially stable we have ever been as a company-– stewarded by the unstoppable collaboration of Ryan Guhde and (you guessed it) Kaela.

So, thank you, Kaela. I will miss you dearly as a leader, but I am comforted to know that you have secured our future through your years of service. Your faith in me as your successor means so much and I will do my best to always do you and this company proud.

But, for me, the most important takeaway is that I have found a lifelong friend. And while this part of our adventure is coming to a close, I know that we have so much more to come!

Thank you – for being our leader – and for being my friend.

-Meg Love, Executive Director

Read the press release about our Executive Director transition