Goodman Theatre Launches 'Goodman Innovation Group' to Unite Theatre and Tech Entrepreneurs

Goodman Theatre Launches 'Goodman Innovation Group' to Unite Theatre and Tech Entrepreneurs

The newly-formed Goodman Innovation Group unites top-tier entrepreneurs with young theater leaders in a collective that injects the start-up mentality into the business of the theater. The 20-member group was developed by Patricia Cox, Goodman Life Trustee and Immediate Past Chairman, along with Chicago entrepreneur Genevieve Thiers, as an opportunity to share ideas between the established non-profit arts organization and Chicago's brand new companies. The goals of the group are to engage young entrepreneurs in the vision, values and programs of Goodman Theatre; create professional development opportunities for the next generation of theater leaders; and identify initiatives emphasizing new technologies and further insights that advance the Goodman's mission and priorities.

"The mindset of an entrepreneur and that of an artist or a producer are natural complements," said Cox, a founder of Chicago's famed St. Nicholas Theatre (with David Mamet, William H. Macy and . "Chicago's start up community is an untapped well of resources for the city's cultural organizations, and technology leaders can similarly benefit from the edgy and illuminating world of theater. With our two universes working productively together, we can achieve great things."

Representatives from Chicago's tech industry include: Mark Achler, Senior Vice President of Business, Strategy and Innovation at Redbox; Alex Campbell, Founder of Vibes Media; Candi Carter, Founder and CEO of New Chapter Entertainment; Steven Collens, Senior Vice President of The Pritzker Group and Instigator of 1871; Brian Fitzpatrick, Leader of the Freedom of Expression and Open Data Teams and Founder of the Chicago Engineering Office at Google; Matt Maloney, Co-founder and CEO of Grubhub; Neal Sales-Griffin, Co-founder of Code Academy/Starter League; Mark Tebbe, Vice-Chairman of the Board and Lead Director of Answers Corp/Lake Capital; and Genevieve Thiers, Founder of Sittercity, ContactKarma and OperaModa.

Representatives from the Goodman include: Adam Belcuore, Casting Director and Producing Associate; Matthew Chandler, Assistant Production Manager; John Collins, Associate General Manager; Gabriela C. Jirasek, New Media Manager; Christine Klein, Assistant to the Director of Development; Brittany Montgomery, Development Assistant; Amanda ReCupido, Publicity Manager; Teresa Rende, Education and Community Engagement Associate; Erik Schnitger, Director of Ticket Services; Kate Welham, Institutional Grants Manager; and Henry Wishcamper, Resident Artistic Associate.

The tech leaders initially met with select Goodman staff to discuss preliminary objectives, evaluate software currently used by the theater and discuss various new media marketing tools to expand promotional efforts and cultivate diverse and younger audiences. Goodman Innovation Group will meet three to four times in the coming season to explore the group's objectives through the Goodman productions and collaborate on ways for the organization to remain current and innovative and to allow the entrepreneurs to interact creatively with Goodman artists and tech-savvy employees.

"The advantages of idea sharing in this forum were immediately evident in our initial meetings of the Goodman Innovation Group," said Roche Schulfer, Goodman Theatre Executive Director. "The unique perspective and new conversations generated between these gifted thinkers and our young theater leaders are thrilling as we consider the future of our industry."

Patricia Cox is the Immediate Past Chair of the Goodman Theatre Board of Trustees, a current Goodman Theatre Life Trustee was among the city's first performing arts marketing, development and management leaders to achieve

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national reputation. She has started, worked with and consulted for a wide range of not-for-profit arts organizations in Chicago and across the country. Cox served as Executive Director of the Chicago Alliance for the Performing Arts and was the Director of Marketing Development for Manhattan Theatre Club and the Boston Ballet. As a consultant, she has worked for the National Endowment for the Arts, the City of Boston, and regional foundations such as the Chicago Community Trust and the Cleveland Foundation. She serves on the Foundation Board of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, and the Board of Directors of High Jump, an academic enrichment program for talented, economically challenged middle school students. Cox is a member of the Urban Health Initiative of the University of Chicago Medical Center, committed to addressing health needs of the South Side Chicago community. Recently, she has been involved with independent and documentary films. As a private investor, Ms. Cox has a decade of experience investing in private equity and venture capital funds, as well as several early stage businesses.

About Goodman Theatre

Named "Best Regional Theatre" by Time magazine and "top dog of the Chicago theater scene" by Frommer's, Goodman Theatre is world renowned for the quality and scope of its artistic programming and its commitment to improving life in the community. Artistic Director Robert Falls' and Executive Director Roche Schulfer's leadership has earned unparalleled artistic distinction and experienced unprecedented success, staging more than 80 world premieres, earning numerous awards for its productions-including the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre (1992) and the Pulitzer Prize for Ruined (2009)-and producing more than 25 new-work commissions. Founded in 1925 and housed in a state-of-the-art two-theater complex in the downtown Chicago Theatre District, the Goodman is Chicago's oldest and largest not-for-profit producing theater. American Airlines is the Exclusive Airline of Goodman Theatre. Ruth Ann M. Gillis is Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Sherry John is President of the Women's Board and Lauren Blair is President of the Scenemakers Board, the Goodman's young professionals auxiliary group.

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