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Northwestern theatre hires ‘leader for the 21st century’

Diane Claussen, former managing director of the Philadelphia Theatre Company, joins School of Communication faculty and staff Nov. 1 as managing director of the Theatre and Interpretation Center.

“What excites me most are the people and the talent, intellect and passion of the students, faculty, guest artists and staff,” Claussen said. “I am especially looking forward to partnering with artistic director Henry Godinez and department chair Rives Collins to manage and help produce their vision for the kind of theatre and dance productions that can thrive and grow at Northwestern.”

In addition to managing productions at TIC, Claussen will also teach arts management classes in the theatre department.

Prior to working in Philadelphia, Claussen was managing director at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey, and before that was executive director of the Court Theatre at the University of Chicago for six years.

Claussen looks forward to rejoining the Chicago theatre community.

“Although I spent six years in Chicago and was actively involved in the larger theatre community — there is still so much to do and discover my second time around,” she said. “Especially, I am just beginning to learn about Northwestern and I can hardly wait to sink my teeth into discovering the many riches and potential of this jewel.”

Claussen wants to create more opportunities for students, faculty, guest artists and staff. “Some of my initial ideas include a strategic planning process for the Theatre and Interpretation Center; a marketing research project to learn more about current and potential new audiences; co-producing opportunities with professional theatres around the city; expanding the use of the Center during summer months; teaching theatre management classes and developing a curriculum for a theatre management program; and creating a community engagement initiative for the center and the theatre department,” she said.

Theatre department chair Rives Collins said he is “thrilled” Claussen is teaching for the School of Communication.

“Given her extensive background in the profession and her glow-in-the-dark passion for the theatre, I think her energy will be a great fit for our ambitious and bright School of Communication students,” Collins said. “A leader for the 21st century, Diane Claussen will be a key player as we look to further develop our students’ entrepreneurial and leadership abilities.”

Henry Godinez echoes Collins’ excitement. “Diane’s considerable experience as a managing director at several highly regarded professional theatres around the country, as well as her familiarity with the Chicago theatre community from her days at Court Theatre, will prove a huge boon for the Theatre and Interpretation Center,” Godinez said.