David Schmitz Joins People’s Light as Interim Managing Director


David Schmitz
Image via People's Light.
David Schmitz joins People’s Light as Interim Managing Director while the company initiates a national search for its next Managing Director.
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David Schmitz has joined People’s Light as Interim Managing Director while the company initiates a national search for its next Managing Director to join the company during its 50th Anniversary Season.

As the Lead Advisor at Amplify Leadership Advisors, Schmitz helps arts organizations create success stories by bringing expertise in guiding arts organizations through transitions, offering services in interim executive leadership, management coaching, and strategic project execution.

Eager to collaborate with the Board and Staff, Schmitz aims to facilitate a purposeful and methodical transition, ensuring People’s Light continues its journey toward transformation and growth.

“All of us at People’s Light are thrilled to have David join us in this interim capacity at this momentous time in our history,” said Producing Artistic Director Zak Berkman. “As we celebrate our 50th anniversary next season and continue to evolve as a destination for live arts in our remarkable region, we look forward to benefiting from David’s immense insight, care, rigor, and imagination.”

Schmitz brings extensive experience in arts management and consulting. His leadership roles include Interim Managing Director of Stages Theatre in Houston, TX, and Executive Director at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, where he navigated the organization through the challenges of the COVID pandemic and wildfires.

Previously, Schmitz worked at the famed Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago, where he served for 15 years in the roles of General Manager, Managing Director, and then Executive Director. Schmitz has a proven track record of providing strategic and financial guidance to support artistic excellence and institutional sustainability.

Schmitz serves as a Board Member of the Oregon Cultural Advocacy Coalition, is the former Vice President of the Board for The House Theatre of Chicago, and has served on the boards of Theatre Communications Group (TCG), Ashland and Lincoln Park Chambers of Commerce, Arts Alliance Illinois, and the League of Chicago Theatres. Schmitz was a Founding Member of the Professional Nonprofit Theatre Coalition and Enrich Chicago, a cohort of arts organizations working to end racism in Chicago arts. 

“People’s Light is an artist-driven organization with a dynamic reputation of play production and an eagerness to evolve that is quite exciting,” said Schmitz. “Having the opportunity to partner with Producing Artistic Director Zak Berkman and the People’s Light Board, Staff, and Company during this time of transformation is both humbling and thrilling. I look forward to expanding on the work done before my arrival while we chart a path forward toward sustainability and vitality.”

Learn more at People’s Light. Founded in 1974, People’s Light is one of Pennsylvania’s most accomplished professional non-profit theatres known for its resident company of artists, a wide array of productions, and innovative work with young people.

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