The Milwaukee Repertory Theater, recently announces the launch of a new brand featuring a redesigned logo, website, and hashtag #WeRepMilwaukee to support a newly adopted strategic plan.
As the largest performing arts organization in the state of Wisconsin, the modifications come at a time when the growth trajectory of Milwaukee Rep has motivated Artistic Director Mark Clements, Executive Director Chad Bauman, and the Board of Trustees to examine the position of the theater as a vital agent of positive change in Milwaukee and beyond.
“Milwaukee Rep is having a moment. Performances are selling-out, outstanding new plays have been created in Milwaukee for Milwaukee, and our Subscriber and donor bases are at decade highs,” said Bauman. “Since completing our last strategic plan ahead of schedule we knew it was time to re-evaluate our goals. Through this strategic planning process, we looked at all the changes in the non-profit theater industry through a lens of opportunity, leading us to double down on our mission of artistic excellence and civic engagement. Our work is representative of Milwaukee’s rich diversity, and with our new brand identity we aim to communicate we are a theater that is welcoming and inspirational to all.”
Milwaukee Rep’s new strategic plan has three major points to Address the challenges of the Patty and Jay Baker Theater Complex, strengthen commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, and grow the John (Jack) D. Lewis New Play Development Program.
The Complex, which includes three theaters, design shops, rehearsal rooms and an administration floor, has served as an exceptional home for four decades but the wear and tear on the building given the large numbers of people Milwaukee Rep serves has been substantial. A recent report from the country’s leading planning firm for arts facilities confirmed Milwaukee Rep has outgrown our current facilities, all major systems are overdue for replacement, and theaters need to be upgraded to meet modern day production capabilities.
To be of service to all, Milwaukee Rep has to address current systems of inequality. The theater will continue to produce work that features diverse artists, using art to create platforms for understanding and action, and develop talented artists and leaders of color to expand the community’s collective cultural competency.
Milwaukee Rep’s critically acclaimed new plays have transferred all over the country and have been optioned for Broadway. Rather than import from Broadway, Milwaukee Rep looks to send the best of Milwaukee to the rest of the world with 10 new plays under commission from artists such as Pulitzer Prize-winner Ayad Akhtar, Gordon Gano of The Violent Femmes, and Pulitzer Prize finalist Dael Orlandersmith.
“It’s an ambitious new plan, but through it my hope is we’ll demonstrate that when we operate on all cylinders, we are a vital organization because we bring people not like one another together to share a live experience that builds empathy with the ability to see others with generosity and curiosity,” said Clements. “I’m proud of my last 10 years as Artistic Director, bringing ambitious and entertaining theater to the heart of Milwaukee and beyond, but I am more inspired today with our plans for the future than ever before.
Being both a world-class artistic institution and a dedicated instrument to positive civic change Milwaukee Rep launched a new logo, website and hashtag #WeRepMilwaukee to better communicate the theater’s work beyond the stage.
“Milwaukee has high artistic expectations and we are proud to reply with knockout performances year after year, but our work doesn’t end at curtain call,” added Bauman. “In fact, in the last three years, our largest area of growth has been in our engagement and education departments, increasing our expenditures by 76%, growing our staff to eight individuals, and serving tens of thousands including 20,000 students annually. That is in effect why we are here, to serve our community the best way we can.”