In September, Angel Ysaguirre joined Court as the new Executive Director. We caught up with Angel to ask him about his plans for Court, his love of the arts, and what he enjoys doing in his spare time. Read on to hear from Angel himself!
What drew you to Court Theatre?
First, the theatre’s long history of excellent productions. Added to that, it being part of the University of Chicago and its location on the South Side, which has a phenomenal history of such incredible creativity.
What are some other arts organizations in the city that you find exciting?
The Chicago Cultural Center, which always has such cutting edge art exhibitions by Chicago-based artists for free; Stony Island Arts Bank, which is a beautifully restored building and has incredible collections like the Frankie Knuckles record collection and the Johnson Publishing archives but also beautiful works of contemporary art; Eighth Blackbird, the new music ensemble that displays such fantastic skill and innovation; the Joffrey Ballet, whose productions keep getting more and more beautiful; the Poetry Foundation, which publishes the unparalleled Poetry Magazine but who also presents an amazing array of poets in their building; finally, my old outfit, Illinois Humanities, because the breadth of Chicagoans who attend their programs is more diverse and authentic than anywhere else I’ve seen.
What role do you see Court playing on the South Side of Chicago? Do you have any plans to deepen the connection between Court and the community?
Court is fortunate to exist on the South Side, an area that abounds with creativity – including not only some of the world’s most important writers, musicians, dancers, painters and sculptors, but also publishers, academics, community organizers, and public servants. Court is one of only two professional theatre companies on the South Side. As such, I believe that the theatre should significantly contribute to the vitality of the South Side. Court endeavors to become the theatre that is truly of and for the people of the South Side.
Describe your office set-up and style.
I don’t have a desk, which I guess is surprising to folks. Instead, I have a sofa and a pair of chairs for meetings. Since we mostly work on laptops now and I spend most of my time in meetings or on campus or in the community, I don’t see the need for a desk. I also have a record player, which people also find surprising, but we spend a lot of evenings at the office and having good music after hours is key. I will say that the first record I brought to the office was a Chaka Kahn record, because Chaka is one of the most amazing treasures that the South Side has produced.
What’s your favorite way of spending a free evening?
If I could, I would spend most of my time reading and listening to music. Other than that, I like to cook, eat with friends, and catch a play or concert here or there.