Tuesday, April 4, 2023


After a nationwide search, Metropolis’ Board of Directors announces acclaimed theatre artist Brendan Ragan as the company’s new Artistic Director. Ragan is the founding Co-Artistic Director of the award-winning Urbanite Theatre, a Florida-based company known regionally for producing bold, inventive new works.

Interim Artistic Director Robbie Simpson, who has been at Metropolis since directing Cabaret in September, will collaborate in this transition before his return to New York City. 

Metropolis Board President Stephen Daday says of the transition, “We are embarking on a new day for Metropolis. We conducted a nationwide search in conjunction with the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland and received resumes from an enormous number of applicants. Brendan brings a wealth of compassion, empathy, passion, and high-quality production value to Metropolis. I believe donors, subscribers, patrons, staff, and the talented artists who grace our stage will be very excited for what is to come.” 

As founding Co-Artistic Director of Urbanite Theatre in Sarasota, Florida, Ragan has developed a reputation as an accomplished director and innovative theatrical producer. “Blending my experience with challenging new work with the productions that delight Arlington Heights will be a great thrill for audiences and artists alike. We are going to tell wonderful stories with the highest degree of professionalism," says Ragan. “Metropolis has been making a tremendous impact in Arlington Heights for over 20 years. However, it became clear to me right away that the organization is much more than a neighborhood theater. From the important endeavors at the School of the Performing Arts to the many dozens of exciting, presented works throughout the year, MPAC has the rare merit of being not just a professional theater but a vital cultural center. I’m ecstatic to join this organization.” 

Over the next month of leadership transition, Ragan will collaborate extensively with current Interim Artistic Director Robbie Simpson. This joint effort will include artistic team choices for the 2023-24 season, to be announced later in the year and include the ongoing efforts to ensure Metropolis is an essential resource and artistic hub in Chicago and the Chicagoland communities. 

Robbie Simpson embraces the new Artistic Director, stating, “I am thrilled to welcome Brendan Ragan to the Metropolis Performing Arts Center. His dedication to bringing high-caliber productions to this community will make him an excellent leader not just in Arlington Heights but in the Chicago theater community, as well. This is an exciting time for Metropolis." Simpson will return to Metropolis this fall to direct the 2023-2024 Season opener, to be announced at the Metropolis Celebration Gala on April 29, at the Cotillion Banquet Hall in Palatine.

Ragan will begin his tenure as the new Artistic Director on April 24, 2023.


Brendan Ragan (he/him/his) is a theatremaker with two decades of award-winning professional experience as an actor, director, and producer. Brendan was the founding Co-Artistic Director of Sarasota's Urbanite Theatre, where he directed the regional premieres of The Smuggler by Ronán Noone, Sender by Ike Holter, Wakey, Wakey by Will Eno, The Drowning Girls by Graham, Vlaskalic, and Tomlinson, The Burdens by Matt Schatz, among others. In addition, he directed the National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere of Jacqueline Goldfinger's Backwards Forwards Back and wrote and directed Urbanite's original immersive experience Safe House. 

Brendan has been a champion of new works, producing plays by playwrights like Larissa FastHorse, Aaron Posner, Lauren Yee, Hannah Benitez, Sheila Callaghan, Franky Gonzalez, and Duncan Macmillan. For Single Carrot Theatre in Baltimore, Brendan directed the world premiere productions of La Muñeca, Illuminoctem, and A Short Reunion and American Stage's world premiere adaptation of Tartuffe by Robert Caisley. 

Regional directing credits include the Odyssey Play Festival, ThinkTank Theatre, Hermitage Artist Retreat, and the FSU/Asolo Conservatory (Handy Award Winner - Best Direction, Reckless). Acting credits include Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Stageworks, Asolo Rep, CENTERSTAGE, Waterside Theatre, Gorilla Theatre (Theatre Tampa Bay Award for Best Performance in An Iliad), and Nebraska Shakespeare. BFA, University of Colorado, 2006. MFA, FSU/Asolo Conservatory 2013. www.brendanragan.com


Metropolis Theatre and School of the Performing Arts offer inspirational live entertainment, imaginative arts education, and impactful community partnerships within Chicago’s Northwest Suburbs, delivering artistic excellence, shared multi-generational connections, and inclusive experiences that engage our community.

Located in downtown Arlington Heights, IL, Metropolis is one of Chicago’s Northwest Suburbs' leading venues for quality entertainment ranging from a Main Stage subscription series to rock, country, comedy, and cabaret concerts. The complex has a 329-seat theater, four classrooms, and thirteen music studios. Metropolis School of Performing Arts serves over 2,500 students annually through group classes, individual lessons, and seasonal performance camps. Each year, our Stories in Action (Theatre for Young Audiences) gives more than 18,000 students an exciting theatre-going experience to enhance their school curriculum. In addition, our Community Engagement programs bring the arts to individuals with unique and different needs and seniors.

Metropolis is located at 111 W. Campbell Street in downtown Arlington Heights. Street parking is available. Free parking is available in the public garage behind the theater. For more information about Metropolis and a listing of upcoming performances, go to MetropolisArts.com.

All proceeds benefit Metropolis’ theatrical arts and education programs. Metropolis is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Metropolis Performing Arts Centre acknowledges support from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

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