The Board of Directors of About Face Theatre Company has announced that Executive Director Jason Held will be stepping down at the end January to pursue a position with Playworks Chicago. Held, who has served since 2010, will remain with the company on the Board of Directors. The AFT Board has named Jonathan (Jonny) Stacks Interim Executive Director as it launches a search for a new Executive Director.
"During the last three years, Jason has contributed greatly to About Face Theatre's success -strengthening relationships throughout the community, significantly enhancing our fundraising efforts and creating a new associates board. Jason has been an exceptional partner with Artistic Director Bonnie Metzgar and the Board and his efforts have significantly contributed to our ongoing artistic success. We wish Jason the best of luck in his new position and are thrilled that he has agreed to stay on the AFT Board," said Bill Michel, President of AFT's Board of Directors. "During this time of leadership transition, we are pleased that Jonathan (Jonny) Stacks, has agreed to continue the incredible work he did leading our strategic planning process in his role as Interim Executive Director. We are confident that Jonny will provide strong leadership as we continue our transition and complete the search for our new Artistic Director. The Board is grateful that Bonnie, Jonny and Jason are all committed to working with us to strengthen AFT's future."
During his three years with About Face Theatre, Jason Held helped stabilized the company financially, increasing net assets; led the organization through a strategic planning process; implemented management changes through Chicago Community Trust's SMART Growth Program; and strengthened partnerships with numerous community and arts groups. Held also co-produced productions with American Theater Company and Chicago Dramatists, as well as Broadway producers Paul Boskind and Ruth & Steve Hendel. Notable productions under Held's leadership include The Homosexuals, The Kid Thing, We Three Lizas, Immediate Family and CLEAR.
Jonathan Stacks is creator and president of Jonny Stax, Inc., a company that initiates, manages and evaluates strategic change for individuals, groups and companies. This past year, Mr. Stacks facilitated the strategic planning process for About Face Theatre and served as interim Development Director for Chicago Children's Theatre. His other clients include Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health, Test Positive Aware Network, Chicago Department of Public Health and Chicago Public Schools, as well as other arts and social justice organizations, government agencies, entrepreneurs, and individual artists. Jonathan Stax is also the executive producer and JoJo half of The Scooty and JoJo Show, known for their cult classic hits Alien Queen, Carpenters Halloween and Diva Brunch. Prior to entering the world of arts and entertainment, he led efforts at the national, state and local levels to improve sexual health education in schools and has numerous peer-reviewed publications from that work. He serves as vice president of the board of directors for the Robert Crown Centers for Health Education.
About Face Theatre is one of Chicago's most acclaimed theatre companies, and is a national leader in the development of new work exploring gender and sexual identity. Since its founding by Kyle Hall and Eric Rosen in 1995, the company has premiered more than 45 world premieres by writers and directors who have been recognized with several Tony Awards, The Pulitzer Prize for Drama, The MacArthur Fellowship and dozens of Joseph Jefferson Awards.