After eight years with Signature, Lipuma will be returning to her roots in Chicago to pursue other artistic challenges.
"I have been so fortunate to have spent my time in New York working with this amazing company," Lipuma said in a statement. "I am so proud of the work we have accomplished over the years and will always be grateful for the opportunity to work alongside Jim Houghton, an incredible board and staff, and so many gifted playwrights. I just feel it is the right time for me to return to my friends and family in Chicago and to pursue new opportunities there."
"Kate has been a tremendous asset to Signature for the past eight years and a superb colleague," said founding artistic director James Houghton. "Much of the theatre's growth and accomplishments are due to her devotion and commitment to the company and our playwrights. We will miss her dearly but we know she will do great things back home in Chicago."
Signature Theatre Company will be conducting a national search in the next few months for Lipuma's replacement.
Following six seasons at The Goodman Theatre in Chicago, Lipuma came to Signature Theatre in 1998 as director of development. She was quickly promoted to director of external affairs and then in 2003, she became the executive director of Signature Theatre. She has been with the company for nine seasons working with writers including Edward Albee, Lee Blessing, Horton Foote, Maria Irene Fornes, John Guare, Bill Irwin, Romulus Linney, Paula Vogel and Lanford Wilson. In addition to her work at Signature, Lipuma is a fundraising consultant, a guest lecturer on arts management in the graduate programs at a variety of New York universities and colleges, and serves on numerous arts and funding panels including the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the Philadelphia Theatre Institute for the Pew Charitable Trust.
Signature Theatre Company was founded in 1991 by artistic director James Houghton and is the first theatre in the United States dedicated to season-long explorations of a single-living-playwright's body of work.
The company's first nine seasons presented the works of Romulus Linney, Lee Blessing, Edward Albee, Horton Foote, Adrienne Kennedy, Sam Shepard, Arthur Miller, John Guare and Maria Irene Fornes. The 10th Anniversary of Signature Theatre Company — its 2000-02 All-Premiere Celebration —featured new works from a selection of the theatre's distinguished past Playwrights-in-Residence. The 2002-03 Season was dedicated to Lanford Wilson, the 2003-04 season to Bill Irwin, and the 2004-05 season to Paula Vogel.
The first half of the 15th Anniversary (2005-2006) featured The Trip to Bountiful by Horton Foote, Landscape of the Body by John Guare, as well as a workshop and public staged reading of Adrienne Kennedy's adaptation of Madame Bovary. The second half of the Anniversary Celebration features three works by the late August Wilson, who was to be Signature's 13th Playwright-in-Residence.
As a direct result of the company's work, Signature, its productions and its resident writers have been recognized with the Pulitzer Prize, Lucille Lortel Awards, Obie Awards and Drama Desk Awards, among many other distinctions. The National Theatre Conference recognized the company as the 2003 Outstanding National Theatre of the Year.