A New Co-Artistic Director Starts at Outskirts Theatre Co.

Samantha Paige will join the team just in time for its 10th-anniversary season.

After a decade of producing entertaining, thought-provoking theatrical productions and providing professional opportunities for emerging artists, Outskirts Theatre Co. is making a change to its leadership structure.

“It isn’t lost on us how lucky we are to have survived to the ten-year mark,” Outskirts Theatre’s founder Ryan Rehak said in a news release. “From starting with literally nothing on the floor of my college dorm, to surviving a global pandemic and every hurdle that’s happened in between, it really is quite incredible.”

As part of the change in structure, Outskirts Theatre’s board of directors has named Samantha Paige as its new co-artistic director, with Rehak remaining as the other. Rehak and Paige will lead a staff that also includes artistic associates Dyllan Brown, Allyson Imig and Francesca Steitz.

“The Outskirts board is delighted to welcome Samantha Paige as our co-artistic director,” board president Kristin Hansen said. “We are launching our 10th anniversary season with shows that Ryan and Sam will bring to life for our audience members – those who have been with us since the beginning and those who are discovering us now. With such talented people as Sam and Ryan leading this theatre company, the future is bright.”



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Paige joins the artistic leadership team with more than two decades of experience in the performing arts. She has worked professionally as an actor, vocalist, dancer and choreographer. After graduating from Milwaukee High School of the Arts, she has worked with a wide variety of local arts organizations including Carte Blanche Studios, Sunset Playhouse, In Tandem Theatre, Greendale Community Theatre and Marquette University’s Helfaer Theatre.

“It is an honor and a privilege to be at the helm of Outskirts, working in partnership alongside its founder,” Paige said. “Running a theatre company has been a dream of mine for many years, and I’m thrilled and grateful to finally see my dream become a reality. I am so proud of the resilience of this team and company and cannot wait to see what the next decade of Outskirts Theatre brings to our community.”

Paige first began working with Outskirts Theatre in 2018, playing one of the leading roles in its production of The Children’s Hour. She later took on the dual roles of Snow White and choreographer in Disenchanted! – a production that sold out its run at Waukesha Civic Theatre, followed by two successful remounts at Summerstage of Delafield and in the Milwaukee Fringe Festival.

She joined the staff as an artistic associate in 2019 and has also choreographed every musical for the organization since.

“Having Sam step up into the role of co-artistic director opens up so many opportunities for Outskirts,” Rehak said. “We are ready to hit the ground running in our 10th Anniversary Season, and it is certainly going to be a job big enough for two.”

Rehak started Outskirts Theatre as a student in Carroll University’s Theatre and Arts Management Program. Aside from serving as artistic director since its inception, he has also directed many of the organization’s productions.

“I’m proud of the work my team and I have accomplished over the last decade,” Rehak said. “But as we continue to grow, there’s only so much we can do without additional strong leadership, talent and support.”

The move to a leadership model that features two co-artistic directors is similar to moves many other arts organizations have made since the pandemic, including Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre, Rehak said.

“It’s a move I’ve wanted to make for a long time, but I’ve never found the right person for the role,” Rehak said. “In order to successfully pull it off, the role needed to be filled by someone not only with talent and experience to create and represent our work, but also someone who has the passion for this organization and the drive to do anything to make this a success.”

Outskirts will launch its season in August, with four productions throughout 2023-24. This season will mark Outskirts’ first as a permanent resident company of Waukesha Civic Theatre, which provides reliable space to the organization for rehearsals, administrative tasks, educational classes and performances.

Two of the four productions this season will take place at Waukesha Civic Theatre. Under the guidance of Rehak and Paige, Outskirts will also launch the Growing Artistic Professionals program, which will offer emerging artists the opportunity for professional development, scholarships, networking and refining their skills to kick off their careers.



Rich Rovito is a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine.