Pivot Arts creates and presents adventurous and multidisciplinary performance often in unusual spaces. We develop and produce new works throughout the year culminating in a festival of contemporary performance. Our unique performance events bring diverse people together.

Pivot Arts was formed in September 2012 as a pivot point, or central hub, that could connect innovative arts partners and programming. We support multidisciplinary artists through our arts incubator program and foster the creation of imaginative performance events. In addition to the Pivot Arts Festival, we host a Live Talk series that includes performances and discussions, we also create site-specific works and interactive “performance tours.”

Leadership at Pivot Arts

Julieanne Ehre
Julieanne Ehre is the founder and the director of Pivot Arts. She both leads the organization and curates/produces performances including the Pivot Arts Festival, Live Talk series, “Celebrate Community!” Parade and site-specific works. She was the NEA/TCG New Generations “Future Leaders” Fellow at the Goodman Theatre where she served as Producer on Latino Festival, New Stages Series and conceived of and produced the Goodman’s Artists Talk series — producing discussions with artists such as Philip Seymour Hoffman. At the Goodman, she focused on International Initiatives including the Global Exploration of Eugene O’Neill with the Wooster Group, Ivo van Hove and other world-class artists. Julieanne served as a delegate to the Santiago a Mil Festival in Chile and the ITI World Theater Congress in Xiamen, China through Theater Communications Group and was the Co-Chair of the Arts and Culture Committee for Chicago’s 48th Ward. As the Artistic Director of Greasy Joan & Co. for five years, she won an “Abbey Award” from the Arts and Business Council for the organization’s strategic planning. At Greasy Joan, she directed and produced critically acclaimed and premiere adaptations of classic plays and worked as a freelance theater director. Ehre holds an MFA in Directing from Northwestern University and a BA in Anthropology from Grinnell College.

Artistic and Producing Associates

Artistic Associates of Pivot Arts curate performances and work with the organization as lead artists on a project. Producing Associates serve as associate producers and production managers. Associates advise on the direction of the organization and participate in planning meetings.

Quenna Lené Barrett is a theater artist and practitioner, who founded two Theatre of the Oppressed-based programs to amplify teens’ voice and hold space to rehearse, tell, and change the stories of their lives. She is an actress, director, teaching artist, cultural fieldworker, TO practitioner, and organizer. Recent Chicago performance and directorial credits include: Eclipsed at Pegasus (AD), Radio Golf at Court Theatre (u/s), This Boat Called My Body and First with FYI (Director), Theatre Unspeakable’s Moon Shot and American Revolution. Quenna is a two-time DCASE Individual Artist Program grant awardee, was a recent Santa Fe Art Institute Equal Justice resident, and is a current artist-in-residence with Free Street Theatre. Quenna received her BFA from NYU Tisch in Drama, her MA in Applied Theatre from the University of Southern California, and is currently pursuing a doctorate of education in Educational Theatre for Colleges and Communities at NYU Steinhardt. She is Goodman Theatre’s new Associate Director of Education, and co-curator for Theatre on the Lake.

Jo Cattell is a leading voice in the convergence of live theatre and immersive technologies. Her work has appeared at Sundance Film Festival, the BBC, Sky Television, Cirque du Soleil, and multiple US and London theatres. Cattell is a member of the LightPoets digital and immersive theatre collective, whose immersive graphic novel, PARTICLE, will open in a 5-story building in New York City in 2020 (currently postponed due to Corona). She is a 3Arts awardee, a Joan Mitchell Center Fellow, and a Perkins Coie awardee. Cattell was the Maggio Directing Fellow at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, with whom she is currently collaborating with the world-renowned Electronic Visualization Lab at the University of Illinois to create HUMMINGBIRD, an immersive VR theatrical experience. In addition, she has recently been commissioned by San Francisco State University to adapt KING LEAR into a remote experience using augmented reality technology.

Nancy García Loza is a “self-taught pocha playwright” rooted in Chicago, Illinois and Jalisco, México. Her audio drama BRAVA: a folktale con música launched Make-Believe Association’s inaugural season this year (with mention from the The New York Times). She is currently under commission from: Goodman Theatre, Make-Believe Association, Chicago Dramatists, and Teatro Leyden. She is a writer with the Goodman Playwrights Unit and Make-Believe Association. Her play WAVE: las olas van y vienen, now a full-length commission, will receive a world premiere with Teatro Leyden in 2020. Her select plays include: Brava: a folktale con música (Make-Believe Association, 2019); Macha: a pocha sister story (recognized in Steppenwolf’s The Mix list); Tocaya (developed at Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Black Swan Lab, 2018). Her work has been supported by: UIUC’s Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Theater on the Lake, Something Marvelous, Broken Nose Theatre, Breath of Fire Latina Theater Ensemble, Collaboraction, Teatro Vista, and more. She is the daughter of Mexican immigrants and a first-generation alum of DePaul University. Her song “Corrido de la Brava” was recently awarded at the 2019 ALTA Awards for Outstanding Original Music in a Play. She writes from instinct, whether writing a play, a story, or a corrido, because Mexicanas deserve a better song: queremos vivir.

Isaac Gomez is a playwright, dramaturg, and served as director of new play development at the award-winning Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago. His play LA RUTA was developed as part of the Pivot Arts incubator program and premieres at Steppenwolf Theater in 2018/19. Isaac is a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists, Co-Creative Director at the Alliance of Latinx Theatre Artists in Chicago (ALTA) where he runs and is a participant of El Semillero: ALTA Chicago’s Latino Playwrights Circle, an Artistic Associate of Teatro Vista, an Artistic Associate of Pivot Arts, a steering committee member of the Latinx Theatre Commons (LTC) and an artistic community member at The Hypocrites in Chicago.

Ayako Kato is an award-winning, Japanese-native, and Chicago-based contemporary choreographer and dancer who has twice premiered work as part of the Pivot Arts Festival. Since 1998, she has been the artistic director of Ayako Kato/Art Union Humanscape, presenting and performing her work through interdisciplinary collaboration with over sixty musicians/composers in the US, Japan, and Europe. Ayako was selected as one of the Players 2018 & 2020: The Fifty People Who Really Perform For Chicago by Newcity. She has received the Links Hall Co-MISSION Fellowship, 3Arts Residency Fellowship (Camargo Foundation in 2017 & Montalvo Arts Center in 2020), 3Arts Award in Dance, and a Meier Achievement Award. Since 2010, Ayako has been an artist-in-residence at the Hamlin Park Fieldhouse Theater under Chicago Moving Company’s Dance Shelter Program. She holds an MFA in Dance from the University of Michigan and a certificate from the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance at Wesleyan University.

Olivia Lilley is a playwright, director, deviser, and producer who came up in Chicago’s DIY scene. She uses a devised process to create and develop her plays that she’s been honing since 2013. Olivia’s work often ransacks classics (films, plays, novels) or non-fiction with a collective and builds a new story for the current moment. Olivia fights American perfectionism by telling stories about complex and messy characters, subverting tropes, and giving alternate endings to women who are traditionally tragic. She often collaborates with choreographer Kelly Anderson. Olivia is Artistic Director of Prop Thtr. She was the founding Artistic Director of The Runaways Lab Theatre (Voted Best New Theatre Company in the Chicago Reader’s Best of 2014) and currently sits on their advisory board. She’s an Artistic Associate at Pivot Arts, and she’s curated at The Museum of Contemporary Art. She’s the Creative Director of Pop Magic Productions. Olivia’s feature screenplay “The Snowpeople” was selected for Full Spectrum Features Producers’ Lab 2020. Her short “Amanda” was a Semifinalist for Camera Ambassador’s Community Builders Grant. Olivia attended Carnegie Mellon School of Drama for Directing, and Interlochen Arts Academy for Music Composition.

Tanya Palmer is an Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance at Indiana University and head of the M.F.A. in Dramaturgy program. Prior to joining the faculty at IU, she was the Director of New Play Development at the Goodman Theatre where she curated and produced New Stages, the theatre’s annual new play festival, and served as the production dramaturg on a number of world premieres including Dana H. by Lucas Hnath; an original adaptation of Roberto Bolaño’s 2666 written and directed by Seth Bockley and Robert Falls;  and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Ruined by Lynn Nottage. Originally from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, she holds an MFA in Playwriting from York University in Toronto. Tanya has created and collaborated on multiple Pivot Arts projects including The Sadness Show, The Memory Tour and Don’t Look Back/Must Look Back. She served as the Director of New Play Development at Actors Theatre of Louisville, where she led the reading and selection process for the Humana Festival of New American Plays. She is the co-editor, with Amy Wegener and Adrien-Alice Hansel, of four collections of Humana Festival plays, published by Smith & Kraus, as well as two collections of 10-minute plays published by Samuel French.

Joe Pindelski has worked as a performer, costumer, stage manager, and dramaturg with numerous Chicagoland theaters, and companies in DC, New York, and Boston – including the Library of Congress, Kennedy Center, Signature Theatre, NYU-Tisch, Pearl Theatre Co., Inverse Theatre Co., American Repertory Theater, Steppenwolf, and the Goodman. As a producer and arts administrator, he has worked with the ART/MXAT Institute at Harvard, Goodman Theatre, and the American Pops Orchestra. A native of Chicagoland, Joe was born in Oak Park, grew up in Park Ridge, and now lives in Edgewater. He earned a BA in drama and history from Catholic University and a MFA in dramaturgy and theater studies from the American Repertory Theater/Moscow Art Theatre School at Harvard University.

Jill Stuck is the founder and producer of STORYTOWN. She is the Chicago Director of Funny Bones Improv bringing improv and laughter to children in hospitals and their care givers. Jill is an Improv Professor of Merriment with the Laughing Academy and teaches theater with Dream Big Performing Arts Workshop. Jill Olson has served as Program Coordinator for This Is ME and Child Whisperer for The Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival. Jill Olson is graduated from Towson University with BA in Theater Arts. She moved to Chicago and studied improvisation and is a graduate of the Second City Conservatory and iO Training Program.






Julieanne Ehre
Pivot Arts

Michelle Erikson
Operations & Procurement Expert
Elkay Manufacturing

Gina Fong
Consumer Anthropologist
Fong Insight
Adjunct Lecturer of Marketing
Kellogg School of Management
Northwestern University

Dr. Mark E. Lococo
Chair of Fine and Performing Arts
Loyola University Chicago

Vin Reed
Creative Director
Vin Design


Advisory Board

April Browning
Loyola University Chicago

Alderman James Cappleman
46th Ward

Peter Kuntz
Lurie Children’s Hospital

Kristin Larsen
Arts and Business Council

Alderman Harry Osterman
48th Ward

Summur Roberts
Loyola University Chicago

Michael Rohd
Sojourn  Theatre

Steve Scott
Goodman Theatre

Amy Wilkinson
Loyola University Chicago

We are currently building our board of directors. Serving on the board of Pivot Arts is great way for you to contribute to your community and to the arts, email julieanne@pivotarts.org to learn more!

Other questions about Pivot?  Send an email to info@pivotarts.org. And be sure to sign our mailing list, we won’t spam you and it’s the best way to keep informed about upcoming events: https://pivotarts.org/updates/