Court Theatre was founded in 1955 as an amateur outdoor summer theatre at the University of Chicago. In 1971, classics professor Nicholas Rudall assumed the role of director and conceived Court’s tradition of translating and adapting classic texts for contemporary audiences; the theatre was then established as a professional company with Actors’ Equity Association in 1975. In 1981, Court built its current home, the intimate, 251-seat Abelson Auditorium, and in 1983 the theatre incorporated as an independent non-profit organization. Court’s operating budget in excess of $3.2M allows it to reach over 35,000 patrons annually through its main stage productions, as well as 400 South Side high school students each year with intensive in school and extracurricular programs, including an annual high school performance festival, and 3,200 Chicago-area teens through our deeply-discounted student matinee series.
1955 Founded by Marvin Phillips
1960 William B. Alton as “Director of Theatre”
1962 Robert Benedetti as “Director of Theatre”
1965 James O’Reilly as Director
1970 Annette Fern as Director (interim position in the transition from O’Reilly to Rudall)
1971 Nicholas Rudall takes over as director of Court and University Theatres
1994 Charles Newell takes over as Artistic Director