BERWYN, ILL. : Ann Filmer, the founder of 16th Street Theater, has announced his intention to step down as artistic director next August. “It has been an incredible journey to found and run the 16th Street Theater,” Filmer said in a statement. “It will be exactly 14 years at the end of August, and I am excited and ready to explore what lies ahead. It’s a wonderful time for the new leaders of 16th Street. I can’t wait to champion the next art director and his new vision.
Since its founding, 16th Street has focused on staging the work of Illinois artists and amplifying the voices of women and playwrights of color. During Filmer’s tenure, out of 61 productions and 19 free community pop-up readings, 55 were written by playwrights and 37 by writers of color.
Under Filmer’s direction, 16th Street has established co-production partnerships with Teatro Luna, Teatro Vista, Victory Gardens, Jedlicka, Lewis University, Tellin ‘Tales, Goodman and Steppenwolf, including Filmer’s adaptation and direction of the film by Tony Fitzpatrick. This train and History of nickel. In collaboration with The Lark in New York and National New Play Network, Filmer produced continuous world premieres of Andrea Thome’s film. Pinkolandia, by Karen Zacarías In the beautiful north adapted from the novel by Luis Alberto Urrea, Sean Lewis Rwanda dogs, by Maya Malan-Gonzalez A remix of Christmas Cuento, and that of Audrey Cefaly Alabaster.
As a producer, director and playwright, Filmer advocated for playwrights to master their own work. The 16th Street Theater has provided space and resources for writers to develop and present their new plays in the service of the playwright’s voice, including writers such as Rohina Malik (Unveiled and Yasmina’s Necklace), Aline Lathrop (Merchild and The hero’s wife) EM Lewis (The gun show), Loy Webb (his shadow), and Natalie Y. Moore (the next Notice board).
The theater board of directors is working with RGW Consulting in Oak Park and an interim artistic director who has yet to be named on a plan for the future of 16th Street. North Berwyn Park District Executive Director Joseph Vallez said in a statement, “Ann Filmer has enlightened the community on the gift of theater. She confronted topics that initiate conversation and debate and invite us to reexamine the world in which we all live today. Ann has been a dedicated artistic director who has brought unique productions to the world of theater.
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