Jennifer Bielstein, Actors Theatre of Louisville
After 15 years as an executive within the Chicago theater scene, Jennifer Bielstein joined Actors Theatre of Louisville as its new managing director in November 2006.
Bielstein, a highly experienced and respected manager, is an active community leader, a strong marketing professional, and a successful fund-raiser. As executive director of Writers’ Theatre in the Chicago suburb of Glencoe, IL, she oversaw the opening of a second venue as well as the completion of a related capital campaign. During her tenure, the theater saw operational and financial growth of almost 125%, an 88% increase in attendance, and a doubling of contributed support for annual operations.
As director of marketing and communications at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Bielstein orchestrated a season ticket campaign that resulted in 100 percent subscription capacity for the first time in the theater’s history. She also created and executed Steppenwolf’s first formal brand identity program and increased the company’s earned income from $3.2 million to $5.7 million.
Recognized for her expertise in strategic planning and board governance, Bielstein has served as a consultant for Chicago’s Court, About Face, and Free Street theaters. As an officer of the board of the League of Chicago Theatres, she helped develop a strategic plan for a membership organization that promotes, supports, and advocates for more than 190 Chicago-area theaters. Bielstein was also a member of the steering committee for the Chicago Dance Community Research Project and has been a panelist for programs at the Arts and Business Council, Northwestern University, the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Roosevelt University, the American Marketing Association, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Her community work includes serving on the boards of the Glencoe Chamber of Commerce and About Face Theatre as well as membership in the Access Coalition, a group devoted to improving the accessibility of Chicago theaters to people with disabilities. Bielstein created and launched a city-wide audience development program, Theatre Thursdays, with the goal that 50 percent of the audience at each weekly event would be new to that theater. The mayor and City Council of Chicago formally recognized this acclaimed program as an important and successful initiative.
A native of Houston, TX, Bielstein is married to Shane Spaulding, who works in corporate theater.
Bielstein replaced 40-year ATL veteran Alexander Speer, who retired as executive director on April 3, 2006.
- Program 117
- Local ties to Hollywood; Louisville fencers; and Jennifer Bielstein, the new managing director at Actors Theatre of Louisville. (#117)