Artistic Director / Founder
Ex officio board member
Julie Ritchey is a Chicago-based theater director and administrator with a primary focus on theater for young audiences. Her work breaks walls between actors and audiences through storytelling, music, dynamic performer/audience relationships and innovative site-specific projects. Critics describe Julie’s work as a director as “pinpoint” (Chicago Tribune), “captivating” (Chicago Reader) and “incredibly imaginative” (Time Out Chicago).
Julie is co-founder and Artistic Director of Filament Theatre, a fast-growing theater for young audiences and families based in Chicago’s Portage Park neighborhood. The company is engaged with and committed to its local community and to the burgeoning arts scene on the northwest side. Recent Filament productions include The Van Gogh Cafe, an adaptation of Cynthia Rylant’s book of the same name (staged in Community, a Portage Park restaurant); a Sherlock Holmes mystery (performed on bicycles throughout the neighborhood); and the latest installment of Crossing Six Corners, an annual celebration of the people, places and stories of Filament’s adopted community.
Julie maintains strong relationships with theater companies in Chicago and nationally. For Boise Contemporary Theater, Julie directed the world premiere production of Hansol Jung’s No More Sad Things, Narwhal! Unicorn of the Sea (World Premiere), The Storm in the Barn and An Iliad (Idaho tour). She directed Dennis Foon’s New Kid with Adventure Stage Chicago and North Park University, and has worked with Erasing the Distance, a company telling stories of people dealing with mental health issues, on their Veterans’ Voices project. Julie co-founded the hugely successful children’s theatre program at the Summer Theatre of New Canaan, where she directed Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, Seussical the Musical, and Six Impossible Things.
Julie received a Bachelor of Science in Performance Studies from Northwestern University, where her professors included Michael Rohd, Mary Zimmerman, Paul Edwards and Rives Collins. She lives in Chicago with her husband and her orange cat.