Theater Works in Peoria Appoints New Leadership Following Dan Schay's Death

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Theater Works, which performs at Peoria Center for the Arts, has promoted Chris Hamby to producing artistic director and Cate Hinkle to managing director, according to a July 25 announcement. 

The news comes just months after Dan Schay, who joined the company as executive director in February of 2012, passed away on April 7 of this year.

Schay was a longtime theater professional who helped to launch the Sedona Film Festival and served for eight years as managing director of Phoenix Theatre before joining Theater Works. His accomplishments at Theater Works included founding the company’s New Works Festival, which was renamed the Dan Schay New Works Festival in his memory.

Hamby previously served as director of education and outreach, and Hinkle as the company’s director of marketing and development. Both were promoted on June 20, Hamby says, but the company waited to make a public announcement to allow more time to honor Schay’s legacy.

Schay developed Theater Works' 31st season, which will be presented as planned. It includes more than a dozen productions – including pieces for general audiences, shows for young audiences, and puppet theater performances.

“The heart of our mission is performing arts opportunities for youth and families, and individuals in the West Valley,” Hamby says. “We start grooming audiences when they are 3 years old.”

The 2016-17 season features an eclectic assortment of musicals, plays, and concerts – including the farce Noises! Off, the musical Sunday in the Park with George, and the school edition of Les Misérables.

“Dan put together a wonderful season, and we look forward to keeping that lineup alive,” Hamby says.

Still, Hamby expects to mix it up a bit for the 2017-18 season, reflecting his own aesthetic and artistic sensibilities. “I like things that are contemporary and modern, and a little bit strange,” Hamby says. Think Medea of Greek mythology, he says, or Frankenstein. He’d also love to direct the Sondheim musical Into the Woods one day.

For now, the 37-year-old has a different focus.

“I’m working to create a solid financial organization and continuing to create good theater in the West Valley,” Hamby says.

“I’m a West Valley boy, born and raised in Goodyear,” he says. “Theater Works has been around for 30 years, and I’d love to be around for the next 30.”

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