Joe Keefe appointed Executive Director of the Metropolis Performing Arts Center
Metropolis Performing Arts Center Director and Artistic Director Joe Keefe, who has contributed to the artistic renaissance and financial stability of the Arlington Heights Performing Arts Hall, is absent on Monday.
Metropolis Chairman Stephen Daday declined to comment on the circumstances of Keefe’s departure.
“We treat personnel matters as confidential,” said Daday, who only said “the separation is effective today”.
Daday admitted “that there was an investigation and that it was concluded”, but did not specify the subject of the investigation.
Keefe’s split comes less than a week after former Metropolis resident director Lauren Berman wrote an open letter to the Chicago theater community in which she recounted experiences she says she witnessed at Metropolis. The letter was posted on Rescripted.com, an online forum for theater artists and theater enthusiasts.
In the letter, Berman cited actors who said they did not feel safe on set, an actress who felt compelled to dance with the executive director, and an actor who was “verbally berated and forced to speak in front. a whole distribution and production team ”.
“I have tried to find ways to expose the truth behind the curtains by reporting misconduct through phone calls / emails, a letter to the board or by contacting production staff. “she wrote. Yet all my attempts to be heard were returned with appeased responses of ‘Thanks for letting us know’ or ‘We are aware of the issue and are working on it. “”
Associate Artistic Director Sabrina Odigie and Executive Director of Operations Brookes Ebetsch will continue to manage the 329-seat non-profit theater, which features a theatrical season on the main stage as well as concerts, comedy and cabaret performances. Metropolis also operates a performing arts school.
“Great strides have been made over the past five years in terms of the quality of production, the quality of the performers and the selection of shows,” said Daday. “We intend to continue with this.”
The site experienced financial difficulties prior to Keefe’s hiring, but that hasn’t been a problem since 2015, Daday said.
“The foundations have been laid for continued success at Metropolis. But for the pandemic, we were on the verge of having our best revenue year of last year, ”said Daday, who estimated that Metropolis had about $ 400,000 in reserves before the COVID-19 pandemic. which forced cinemas to close.
The board will begin a nationwide search for a new art director, which Daday says will be completed in three to six months.