The Passage Theatre (TPT) is pleased to announce the addition of Kevin Minor as Co-Artistic Director alongside founding company member and former Interim Artistic Director Grace Bolander.
In addition to its new artistic leadership, the staff now includes Ben Locke as Casting Director and Sydney Watt as Director of Development.
Lighting designer Charles Blunt, stage manager Jean E. Compton, and actor Sarah Lo also join as company members.
9 January 2020
Soon after then-Associate Artistic Director Grace Bolander became Interim Artistic Director earlier this year, TPT opened up a search for a Co-Artistic Director to lead alongside her.
“Although it may sound strange, I’m very grateful for the pause that the pandemic has given us to reckon with who we are as a company and who we want to be,” said Bolander. “We have a lot of exciting changes planned. Kevin and the rest of our staff and company are all integral to that mission.”
Regarding his new position as Co-Artistic Director, Minor said, “Art is all about collaboration and I think the model of a shared artistic leadership is one that is central to what we do. In my short time knowing Grace, I think she and I share a love of connecting and collaborating while also having a fierce determination to make this company everything it can be - to make sure everything that we put out into the world is worthwhile and meaningful.”
Bolander remarked, “Kevin just blew us away throughout his interview process. His infectious enthusiasm, love of collaboration, and obvious excitement for TPT and what it could grow to be, all made him the perfect person for the job.”
The staff is also joined by Casting Director Ben Locke and Director of Development Sydney Watt. Locke commented, “I love the idea of working at a theatre that is still pretty new. It has room to evolve and I want to be part of the evolution and growth.”
“There’s something special about theatre that claims its own theatricality,” said Watt. “The way TPT thinks about its ecosystem, prioritizing its artists while remaining committed to high-quality art, brings me so much excitement about the future of theatre in Chicago.”
New company members Charles Blunt, Jean E. Compton, and Sarah Lo join existing members Alex Elam, Grace Bolander, Evelyn Landow, Jasmine Manuel, Will Quam (Literary Manager), and Daniel Washelesky (Managing Director).
Grace Bolander (she/her/hers) is a Chicago-based actor and founding company member of The Passage Theatre. Originally from Columbus, she moved to Chicago to pursue her degree in Theatre and Performance Studies from the University of Chicago. Grace met TPT co-founders Cory Hardin and Alex Elam working at the School at Steppenwolf in 2017, and was recruited to the company soon after its founding. Since graduating, Grace has worked with several other Chicago companies including First Floor Theatre, The New Colony, and Pegasus Theatre Chicago. She is a proud graduate of the 2019 ACADEMY at Black Box Acting Studio.
Ben F. Locke (he/him/his) is a Chicago-based actor, director, writer and teacher. He graduated from Millikin University with a double degree in Theatre and Human Services. He attended the School at Steppenwolf in 2019. He has worked with several companies in the city such as Steppenwolf, Court, Broken Nose, Ardent Dance Company and more. Ben truly believes that theatre and art have the power to change the world. His plays can be found at the New Play Exchange. "What we do matters. Who sees us matters. If we died today, did we horde ourselves away? Did we keep our resources for ourselves or did we invest in others to take over and grow without us?"
Kevin Minor (he/him/his) is a Chicago-based actor, director, and budding playwright. He is a native of St. Louis, Missouri and chose Chicago as his new home because he loves the theatre community and the numerous opportunities to expand on what theatre can be. Kevin holds a degree in English (Writing) from the University of Southern Indiana and Secondary Education from Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville. Kevin is currently a theatre teacher at Niles West and Niles North high schools in Skokie, IL as well as theatre director and boys' soccer coach at North. As an actor, Kevin has worked at numerous theatre companies including Asolo Repertory, Contemporary American Theatre Festival, Writers Theatre, Virginia Repertory, St. Louis Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams Theatre Festival, Heritage Theatre Festival, Slightly Askew Theatre, and many others. Kevin is represented by Stewart Talent.
DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT
Sydney Watt (she/her/hers) is a Chicago-based theatremaker. At Muhlenberg College, she studied Theatre (Acting/Directing/Performance Studies) and Creative Writing before relocating to the Midwest. Sydney is also a proud graduate of Accademia Dell’Arte (Arezzo, Tuscany) and the Summer Professional Training Program at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. Beyond theatre, she writes for the comedy site The Well-Mannered Grump.
Charles Blunt (he/him/his) is a graduate of Rose Bruford College of Theatre & Performance in England where he got his undergraduate degree in Lighting Design. Having lit shows in both London & Oxford, he moved to Chicago where he has continued his design work.
JEAN E. COMPTON
Jean E. Compton (she/her/hers) is proud to join The Passage Theatre as a company member, after stage managing All-One! The Dr. Bronner’s Play and Spirits to Enforce. She is a stage manager, collaborator, and new works booster whose Chicago credits also include Thirst (Strawdog Theatre Company), The Death of Gaia Divine (Momentary Theatre), 3:35PM, Candide, and Mudpie 2018 (Mudlark Theater Company), You for Me for You (Sideshow Theatre Company), Lizzie (Firebrand Theatre), and Shining Lives (Northlight). Her regional credits include Into the Breeches! (Cleveland Play House), A Midsummer Night’s Dream, An Octoroon and Into the Breeches! (Chautauqua Theater Company), Venus in Fur and The Whale (Rep Stage), and seasons at Two River Theater and Cleveland Play House. She is a graduate of The Theatre School at DePaul University. Jean also creates hand embroidery pieces which can be found @lay_low_and_stitch (IG). www.jeanecompton.com
Sarah Lo (she/her/hers) is thrilled to be joining her friends at The Passage Theatre after having an absolute blast performing in Happy Birthday Mars Rover. She is a proud graduate of the School at Steppenwolf and the University of Chicago, where she studied Chinese History and Theatre. Chicago credits include: Mlima’s Tale (Griffin Theatre), M. Butterfly (Court Theatre), South Pacific (Drury Lane), Eleemosynary (AstonRep), the 41st e.t.c. revue Fantastic Super Great Nation (u/s Second City), Cambodian Rock Band (u/s Victory Gardens), and You For Me For You (u/s Sideshow Theatre). TV/Film Credits: Empire (Fox), Utopia, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams (Amazon), Chicago Med (NBC), The Thing About Harry (Freeform), Station Eleven (HBO Max) and Jordan Peele’s Candyman (Universal), coming 2021.