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Looking back at 2014 and ahead to 2015
Steep Theatre Company has been growing at an astonishing rate these last few years. Each season we develop as an organization and as artists, often times by leaps and bounds. I'm thrilled to report that 2014 was one of those "leaps and bounds" years. The impact of our work is being felt by an ever-expanding community of audiences and artists. Our efforts to bring new work from outstanding playwrights and often the playwrights themselves to Chicago audiences have been overwhelmingly successful. Steep's artists and productions continue to be recognized as among the best and boldest that Chicago has to offer.
Beyond all of that exciting growth, Steep has achieved some major firsts in 2014 milestones that are not only indicative of the growth Steep has experienced in recent years, but provide a glimpse into our vision for the future.
Here are just some of Steep's stand-out achievements from 2014:
  • We hired a new Executive Director, Kate Piatt-Eckert. Kate began her career in theatre as a stage manager, and her relationship with Steep began when she stage-managed the company's productions of The Night Heron and The Last Days of Judas Iscariot in 2006. Since then she has earned a Master's Degree in Arts Management from Carnegie Mellon University and established herself as an effective and dynamic arts leader while serving as our Business Manager and the Interim Managing Director at River North Dance Chicago. Kate will work closely with Artistic Director Peter Moore and Managing Director Julia Siple to achieve Steep's goals for growth and expanded programming.
  • We partnered with the Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama to begin developing new plays. We have long been committed to bringing new voices to Chicago theater audiences, and this new collaboration with Carnegie Mellon, which brings students to Steep for professional readings and workshops of their plays, is providing profound educational opportunities while bringing some of the most exciting young playwrights in the industry to Steep. In 2014 we produced a staged reading and a workshop of Stick Figures by Josh Ginsburg, and we look forward to reading the work of the next class of artists. Steep has been producing staged readings for several years, but the week-long workshop of Stick Figures was a major step toward our goal of establishing Steep as a home for the creation of new work.
  • Nick Horst joined the Steep ensemble. Nick first worked with Steep in 2010 on our production of Mark Schultz's A Brief History of Helen of Troy, and later appeared in the 2011 production of David Mamet's Lakeboat and 2013's Fallow, by Kenneth Lin. He recently appeared on stage in the Goodman Theatre's production of Solid Sand Below, directed by now fellow Steep associate Jonathan Berry. Nick is the first addition to the acting ensemble since Kendra Thulin joined the company in 2011, and we are very proud to welcome Nick into our growing company of artists.
  • We held our first audio described performance. Under the leadership of our Access Coordinator Brad Akin, we are thrilled to be making Steep's plays accessible to as many people as possible. Our most recent step along this path was an audio described performance of Hamish Linklater's The Vandal, which included a touch-tour and a pre-show talk with blind and low-vision audience members. We are incredibly proud of the work we put on stage, and we can't wait to continue to share it with diverse and ever-expanding audiences.

These are accomplishments we could have barely imagined when we founded Steep in 2000. They represent the terrific growth we've experienced over the last thirteen years growth we simply could not have achieved without your support. They also represent the way we hope to grow Steep in the future, and lay the groundwork for some ambitious plans we are currently exploring.
  • Our association with Carnegie Mellon is just one example of our collaboration with playwrights and emerging artists. We plan to increase our commitment to developing new plays and supporting playwrights in the coming years.
  • As our reputation has grown, so have our audiences. While we are still very happy with Steep's current home, we are actively exploring ways to grow our space. We aim to share our work with larger audiences and improve the Steep experience for audiences and artists alike.
  • As our community of artists grows, we are considering the possibility of becoming an Equity theatre. We already work with some of the best and brightest artists in Chicago and beyond, and gaining access to Chicago's union actors will certainly bring a wider range of artists to Steep. Perhaps more importantly, becoming an Equity theater will ensure that those artists who have made Steep what it is today can play a role defining the Steep of tomorrow.

Realizing these goals will require increasing Steep's operating budget. With the addition of Kate to our leadership team, we have already made significant improvements in our fiscal management, and we have aligned our financial planning with our artistic goals so that we will be better able to take advantage of opportunities and prepare for strategic growth. We hope that you will continue to invest in Steep as we work to build on the amazing foundation we've laid for our continued success. Your support is even more crucial as we work toward these ambitious goals.
Please consider making a gift to Steep this year:
Thank you for being part of another outstanding year at Steep, and for supporting us as we look forward to more outstanding years ahead!
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Steep is a 501(c)(3) organization and all
donations are tax-deductible.
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