Filament Theatre looks for managing director
by JASON MEREL
Filament Theatre founding managing director Christian Libonati will be stepping down from his position at the end of the summer after 13 years with the storefront theater at 4041 N. Milwaukee Ave.
The Filament’s board of directors has launched a search for his successor who will work alongside founding artistic director Julie Ritchey.
Libonati said he is stepping down to make more time for his own artistic pursuits, including a "Peter Pan" podplay (a play you listen to) and that he will be moving to Santa Fe for the next chapter of his life to be closer to family.
"I am excited to make space for a leader with new strengths, new skills, and new vision," Libonati said. "My work with Filament has been the greatest honor of my life, and I am so thankful to the artists, board members, audience members, foundations, institutions and politicians that have made this work possible."
Libonati said that the Filament Theatre began as a traveling theatre company. "We weren’t originally exclusively a children’s theatre," Libonati said. "We did choose-your-own-adventure stories for adult audiences in bars." He said the common theme is that the company’s work has always been immersive and site-specific.
Libonati said the theatre mostly produces shows for children up to age 12. He said they were developing the Filament’s first show for children age five and younger when the stay-at-home orders went into effect.
"We want kids to experience theatre the way they want to experience theatre," he said. "There are opportunities to move around; they can interact with the actors. It’s not about grooming them for adult theatre. It’s about meeting them where they’re at right now."
The board of directors is still accepting applications for the managing director role and Libonati said it will be an opportunity to bring new points of view and areas of expertise to the theatre.
"Representation is so important for all industries and when we’re performing for young people, kids need to see themselves on stage," he said. "So not only do we need to reflect these young people’s experiences in the stories we tell but in the theatre’s development."
A statement from the Filament Theatre announcing Libonati’s resignation said that his hard work, collaborative spirit, drive to learn and improve and warm hospitality to artists and audiences have defined Filament’s culture.