Victory Gardens names Christopher Mannelli as its Managing Director

ManelliChris (1)Artistic Director Chay Yew and Board President Steve Miller announce the appointment of the theater’s new Managing Director, Christopher Mannelli.  Mannelli joined Victory Gardens as General Manager in 2010 and has been Interim Managing Director since November 2012. 

Board President Steve Miller comments, “The Board of Directors was unanimous in its decision to offer Chris the position of Managing Director at Victory Gardens. Over the past months, he has used his numerous talents and impressive leadership skills to guide the organization through this time of transition. With his demonstrated track record of success at Victory Gardens and throughout his career, it was clear to the Board that we have the right leadership in place to take this institution into the future.”

Chay Yew adds, “Throughout our transition, Chris has been an indispensable partner in leading our theatre. He is a passionate collaborator and skillful administrator and he has stabilized and strategized our finances, making a reality of several of our key artistic programs.  I’m excited to have Chris continue our work together at Victory Gardens as Managing Director.”

Christopher Mannelli joined Victory Gardens in 2010 as General Manager, overseeing administration and operations for the organization and was appointed Interim Managing Director in November 2012. He previously served as Deputy Director at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, managing operations and helping to produce the company’s international programming.  In 2009, Mr. Mannelli earned a master’s degree in Arts Leadership through a joint program of DePaul University and Chicago Shakespeare Theater.  Prior to moving to Chicago, Mr. Mannelli was Managing Director of HotCity Theatre in St. Louis, Missouri, an award-winning midsized professional theater. In this capacity, he was instrumental in the company’s financial and programmatic growth, which included educational outreach programs, new play initiatives and several collaborations with prominent arts organizations. Before working in administration Mr. Mannelli toured nationally and internationally as an actor and a musician.


Mr. Mannelli serves on the community board of Emerald City Theatre and on the Board of Directors of the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce. Christopher holds a bachelor of arts in Opera Performance and Theater from the SUNY Geneseo School of Performing Arts and a master of fine arts in Arts Leadership from DePaul University.


About Victory Gardens Theater

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Chay Yew and Managing Director Chris Mannelli, Victory Gardens is dedicated to artistic excellence while creating a vital, contemporary American Theater that is accessible and relevant to all people through productions of challenging new plays and musicals.  With Victory Gardens’ first new Artistic Director in 34 years, the company remains committed to the development, production and support of new plays that has been the mission of the theater since its founding, continuing the vision set forth by Dennis Zacek, Marcelle McVay, and the original founders of Victory Gardens Theater.


Victory Gardens Theater is a leader in developing and producing new theatre work and cultivating an inclusive Chicago theater community. Victory Gardens’ core strengths are nurturing and producing dynamic and inspiring new plays, reflecting the diversity of our city’s and nation’s culture through engaging diverse communities, and in partnership with Chicago Public Schools, bringing art and culture to our city’s active student population.

Since its founding in 1974, the company has produced more world premieres than any other Chicago theater, a commitment recognized nationally when Victory Gardens received the 2001 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, Victory Gardens Biograph Theater includes the Zacek-McVay Theater, a state-of-the-art 299-seat mainstage and the 109-seat studio theater on the second floor, named the Richard Christiansen Theater.

In 2012, Victory Gardens Victory Gardens appointed new Ensemble Playwrights Philip Dawkins, Marcus Gardley, Samuel D. Hunter and Tanya Saracho, for seven-year residencies. The Playwrights Ensemble Alumni includes Claudia Allen, Lonnie Carter, Steve Carter, Gloria Bond Clunie, Dean Corrin, Nilo Cruz, Joel Drake Johnson, John Logan, Nicholas Patricca, Douglas Post, James Sherman, Charles Smith, Jeffrey Sweet and Kristine Thatcher.


For more information about Victory Gardens,  Follow us on Facebook at and Twitter @VictoryGardens.

Victory Gardens Theater receives major funding from Alphawood Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, The Chicago Community Trust, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Boeing Company, Allstate Insurance, Polk Bros. Foundation, Crown Family Philanthropies, Leo S. Guthman Fund, National Endowment for the Arts and REAM Foundation. Additional funding is provided by: Illinois Arts Council (a state agency), The Edgerton Foundation, Charles & M.R. Shapiro Foundation, Venturous Theater Fund, McVay Foundation, The Seabury Foundation, Wrightwood Neighbors Conservation Association, The Charles H. andBertha L. Boothroyd Foundation, John R. Halligan Charitable Fund, Illinois Tool Works, Motorola Mobility Foundation, Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, a City Arts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, The Irving Harris Foundation and The Saints.