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Executive Director/CEO

A headshot photo of a man in glasses. He is smiling and wars a black suit jacket and white collared shirt.

Roche Edward Schulfer

Roche Edward Schulfer started working in the Goodman Theatre box office and ultimately became executive director in 1980. Since that time he has overseen more than 350 productions including close to 200 premieres. He initiated the Goodman’s annual production of A Christmas Carol, which celebrated 44 years as Chicago’s leading holiday arts tradition in 2021. In partnership with Artistic Director Robert Falls, Mr. Schulfer led the establishment of quality, diversity and community engagement as the core values of Goodman Theatre. During their tenure, the Goodman has received numerous awards for excellence, including the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theater, recognition by Time magazine as the “Best Regional Theatre” in the U.S., the Pulitzer Prize for Lynn Nottage’s Ruined and many Jeff Awards for outstanding achievement in Chicago area theater. Mr. Schulfer has negotiated the presentation of numerous Goodman Theatre productions to many national and international venues. He coordinated the 12-year process to relocate the Goodman to the Theatre District in 2000. To mark his 40th anniversary with the Goodman, his name was added to the theater’s “Walk of Stars.” Mr. Schulfer was a founder and twice chair of the League of Chicago Theatres, the trade association of more than 200 Chicago area theaters and producers. He has been privileged to serve in leadership roles with Arts Alliance Illinois (the statewide advocacy coalition); Theatre Communications Group (the national service organization for more than 450 not-for-profit theaters); the Performing Arts Alliance (the national advocacy consortium of more than 18,000 organizations and individuals); the League of Resident Theatres (the management association of 65 leading US theater companies); Lifeline Theatre in Rogers Park and the Arts & Business Council. Mr. Schulfer is honored to have been recognized with the League of Chicago Theater’s Lifetime Achievement Award; Theatre Communication Group’s Visionary Leadership Award; Actors’ Equity Association for promoting diversity and equal opportunity in Chicago theater; the American Arts Alliance and Arts Alliance Illinois for arts advocacy; the Arts & Business Council for distinguished contributions to Chicago’s artistic vitality; Chicago magazine and the Chicago Tribune as a “Chicagoan of the Year”; the City of Chicago; Columbia College Chicago for entrepreneurial leadership; the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee for his partnership with Robert Falls; Lawyers for the Creative Arts; Lifeline Theatre’s Raymond R. Snyder Award for Commitment to the Arts; Season of Concern for support of direct care for those living with HIV/AIDS; and Vision 2020 for promoting gender equality and diversity in the workplace. Mr. Schulfer received an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from North Central College. He taught at DePaul University for 15 years and has lectured annually on strategic planning at Southern Methodist University, as well as being a guest speaker at many academic institutions. In the past year, he has presented a talk on the economics of the performing arts for several local and national theater companies as well as Theater Communications Group. Mr. Schulfer is a lifelong Chicago area resident and received a degree in economics from the University of Notre Dame where he managed the cultural arts commission. His celebrated presentation on the economics of the performing arts, Why Not For Profit Theater, has been seen at numerous theater companies and conferences around the country over the past five years.”