A Red Orchid Theatre Makes Key Leadership Appointments

A Red Orchid Theatre (AROT) has announced the appointments of ensemble member Travis Knight as associate artistic director and ensemble member Sadieh Rifai as artistic development coordinator.

Ensemble member Shade Murray will step away from his role as associate artistic director in order to pursue new opportunities outside of the theater, and Mierka Girten will step away from her role as casting director to focus more exclusively on her own artistic pursuits. Both Shade and Mierka will remain very active as ensemble aides.

ARTO’s artistic director, Kirsten Fitzgerald, of the recent changes, “As our first AAD and only casting director, Shade and Mierka’s contributions to our foundation will be felt far into the future.  Shade’s many accomplishments include establishing more effective production management strategies, artistic processes, and professional development plans, among others. Mierka’s contributions include establishing actor-friendly casting processes and nurturing relationships with agents and individual artists among others. I am incredibly grateful for their collaboration, both past and ongoing. With Travis and Sadieh coming on board, I am equally grateful to have two spectacular artists, collaborators, and humans stepping into the roles of associate artistic director and artistic development coordinator. Casting responsibilities will be shared between these two part-time positions.

“The rigor and curiosity with which Travis approaches artistic collaboration can also be found in his inspiring leadership skills. His creativity, artistic vision, and goal-oriented mindset will make a dynamic addition to both the artistic and administrative teams. As an accomplished performer in many mediums and an emerging playwright, Sadieh’s passion for building lasting relationships will be a tremendous asset as we extend our artistic reach in the areas casting and literary exploration. In addition to their unparalleled skills as actors, creators and collaborators Travis and Sadieh’s artistic aesthetic, thoughtful consideration, unquenchable curiosity, and passion for all things theatre will be indispensable. A Red Orchid and I have much to learn from both and I look forward to the growth they will surely facilitate.”

Travis Knight is an ensemble member at A Red Orchid and has appeared in Grey House and Small Mouth Sounds. Chicago credits include The Crucible (Steppenwolf Theatre); Ah, Wilderness!, Christmas Carol, The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window, Measure for Measure, and Camino Real (Goodman Theatre).

Last year Knight completed his certification as a full-stack web developer and went on to focus on project management in the world of tech. He was also recently selected as an Impact Leader for the Baumhart Center’s Impact Leader Series.

Sadieh Rifai is also an ensemble member at A Red Orchid Theatre, where she performed in Do You Feel Anger, Evening at The Talk House and Grey House. Her credits include Short Shakes Macbeth, the world premiere of The Humans (Jeff Award nomination for Best Ensemble) at American Theatre Company along with The Amish Project, Hedwig and the Angry Inch (co-production with About Face Theatre), Columbinus and Speech and Debate (After Dark Award for Outstanding Performance). Sadieh is a graduate of the School at Steppenwolf and received the Princess Grace Award in 2011.