Executive Director Brooke Flanagan

E. Brooke Flanagan

Brooke Flanagan has served as Executive Director for Steppenwolf Theatre Company, America's premier ensemble theatre, since 2020. Together with Artistic Directors Glenn Davis and Audrey Francis, she is responsible for stewarding the company's artistic growth, programmatic service, and economic vitality. During her tenure, the Tony Award-winning theatre has expanded their artistic campus with the addition of the Lefkofsky Arts and Education Center and Ensemble Theatre in Honor of Helen Zell; produced/ presented myriad productions across their three stages in Chicago; and transferred work to Broadway, Playwrights Horizon and Manhattan Theatre Club (NYC), Center Theatre Group (LA), and the Galway International Arts Festival (Ireland).

Prior to this role, Brooke served for ten years as Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Managing Director, responsible for the theater's fundraising, strategy, and external affairs programs. During her tenure, she increased the theatre’s annual contributed income by 50% and led the $62 million Our City, Our Shakespeare Campaign. Key programs developed and launched include: a rebranding/positioning campaign; Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks; Shakespeare 400 Chicago; and the opening of The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare. Additionally, she held early-career roles at Santa Fe Opera and League of Chicago Theatres; as well as tenures as Associate Director of Development at Ravinia Festival and Director of Major Gifts at Steppenwolf.

Brooke has raised more than $250 million across the span of her career for non-profit arts organizations. She is an appointee to Chicago's Mayoral Cultural Advisory Committee and a member of the Economic Club of Chicago and The Chicago Network. A board member for Arts Alliance Illinois, during her term as Board Chair, the organization secured: a 30% increase in funding for the Illinois Arts Council, a historic $50 million capital arts infrastructure bill, and a legislative win guaranteeing arts curriculum for all K-12 students. During the Covid crisis, she helped champion the creation of the Arts for Illinois Relief Fund, launched a mask fabrication program for out-of-work costume artisans, and served on multiple "back to work" task forces for the performing arts. 

Brooke received Nashville's Mayor’s Acts of Excellence Award for her direction of The Holocaust—a Gathering of Stones. She is honored to have been included in "Who's Who in Business" by Crain's in 2023. She and her husband reside in the Lincoln Park neighborhood with their three children who proudly attend Chicago Public Schools.