The news was not unexpected, but sad: After 34 years, Next Theatre closed on Nov. 10.

“We are enormously proud of the legacy that Next leaves. The theater has been an important part of the cultural landscape of both Evanston and the Chicago theater communities,” said Next Board President Rob Andalman. “For three and a half decades the theater was a canvas for artists whose purpose was not just to entertain, but
to touch audiences’ hearts and minds. Next sought to provoke feelings and conversations on some of the really hard questions – and, more often than not, it succeeded.”

He added, “Unfortunately, the theater’s audiences have shrunk dramatically in the past few years, and it has not been able to build a contribution base to compensate for that. At this juncture, the Board concluded that it was not responsible to continue operations.”

Next Theatre has a 34-year legacy of producing award-winning, thought-provoking, sometimes edgy work at its home in the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes St.

The Company brought many playwrights to the attention of Chicagoland audiences, including Suzan Lori Parks (“In the Blood”), Larry Kramer (“The Normal Heart”) and most recently Amy Herzog (“After the Revolution”), as well as staging the U.S. premiere of “Everything is Illuminated.” 

Next produced the world premieres of Tracy Letts’ first play, “Killer Joe,” as well as “Among the Thugs” and “The Lovesong of J. Robert Oppenheimer.”

Next intends to seek out other area theaters that might be willing to honor its subscriptions for the remainder of this season, the board said in a statement.

“On behalf of the board and the staff of Next Theatre, we thank those in the Evanston community and beyond for the support the theater has received over these 34 years,” Mr. Andalman said. “It has been a very special run.”