Next Act Theatre
Press Release

Next Act Theatre Hires Cody Estle as New Artistic Director

Chicago Artistic Director to Join Next Act Theatre in December 2022

By - Oct 24th, 2022 12:02 pm
Cody Estle. Photo courtesy of Next Act Theatre.

Cody Estle. Photo courtesy of Next Act Theatre.

Milwaukee, WI – Next Act Theatre announced today that Cody Estle has been hired as its new Artistic Director. Estle was hired after a four-month national search and will assume the role on December 1, 2022. He will overlap outgoing Producing Artistic Director David Cecsarini before fully taking over leadership of the company in spring 2023.

Estle became the Artistic Director at Raven Theatre in November 2017, where he had previously served as the Associate Artistic Director. He directed 13 productions during his tenure at Raven Theatre: those productions have been nominated for Jeff Awards for Best Production and Best Director and have been named “Best of Chicago Theatre” by Windy City Times and the Chicago Tribune. He also has directing credits with Northlight Theatre, Strawdog Theatre, Shattered Globe Theatre, First Floor Theatre, Redtwist Theatre, The Artistic Home, Haven Theatre, Mary-Arrchie Theatre and Citadel Theatre.

Estle was recently named one of Newcity Stage’s “Fifty People Who Really Perform For Chicago.” He is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC) and an alumnus of Columbia College Chicago.

“I am honored to become the Artistic Director of Next Act Theatre and to shepherd its legacy into the future. I look forward to building on the great work of David Cecsarini while opening the doors for even more individuals to participate in the theater’s great programming,” said Estle. “I’m excited to collaborate with the dedicated Board, staff and artists to produce excellent theater for the people of Milwaukee. I am thrilled to embrace the responsibilities of my new position as the new Artistic Director.”

Next Act Theatre’s staff and Board of Directors are excited to welcome Estle and look forward to the artistic transition.

“The decision to offer Cody Estle the position was clear. He has demonstrated the ability to direct plays, plan seasons and work with Actors’ Equity and other professional organizations in the theater world. He’s articulate, thoughtful and the right person to lead Next Act forward.” said David Anderson, President of the Next Act Theatre Board of Directors.

Estle will join Cecsarini overseeing 2022-23 season during the transition period, begin planning the 2023-24 season and meet members of the Next Act community. Patrons will have a chance to meet Estle at The Retirement Roast of David Cecsarini on Sunday, December 11, 2022 from 6 – 9 p.m. Tickets are now available at or by calling (414) 278-0765. Estle will also be present at other events and performances starting in December.

Next Act’s 2022-23 season continues with THE TIN WOMAN by Sean Grennan, November 23 – December 18, 2022. Additional season offerings include:

  • THERE IS A HAPPINESS THAT MORNING IS by Mickle Mahler, February 23 – March 19, 2023
  • GOD’S SPIES by Bill Cain, April 27 – May 21, 2023

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