The Piccolo Theatre, Inc. (PTI) board of directors announced today that John Szostek, founder and artistic director of Piccolo Theatre Ensemble, executive director of Piccolo Theatre, Inc., and director of Custer Fair, has resigned from the organization. Mr. Szostek will pursue other interests, and the organization recognizes his years of service, leadership, wisdom and creativity. His departure from the organization is the culmination of a two-year succession plan developed in partnership with the PTI board of directors.
As part of the succession plan, the PTI board has appointed Amanda Kulczewski, PTIs managing director and director of finance and operations, as producing director of PTI; Joshua D. Allard, Piccolo Theatre Ensemble member and marketing manager, as general manager of PTI; and David W.M. Kelch, founding Piccolo Theatre Ensemble member, as interim artistic director of Piccolo Theatre Ensemble.
After retirement from his career in theatre and television, Mr. Szostek worked to revive Custer Fair, now a 43-year old annual arts street festival produced by
Piccolo Theatre, Inc. In 1996, he began a $4.5 million restoration project with Union Pacific Railroad to renew the damaged Main Street Metra Station, and repurpose its function into a cultural arts center and theatre.
During this time, Mr. Szostek, a Valparaiso University alumnus, returned to the northwestern Indiana private college to teach classes in commedia del’Arte, and direct. His artist in residency at VU inspired a group of seniors to join him in 2001 to establish the Piccolo Theatre Company, a physical comedy theatre ensemble that seeks to preserve the traditions of Italian commedia del’Arte, and British Pantomime.
Now in its 14th season, the ensemble has grown from a membership of 10 to 25 theatre artists; and PTI supports four streams of programming that annually serve more than 300,000 patrons and community members.