Martha Lavey Credit: Steppenwolf Theatre

Longtime former artistic director Martha Lavey died today, after a stroke suffered earlier this month. Steppenwolf Theatre announced the news via press release.

Lavey had suffered a previous, more serious stroke in 2015, shortly after she’d left her job at Steppenwolf, where she’d been artistic director for 20 years. She was replaced by current artistic director Anna Shapiro.

 Here’s the Steppenwolf statement:

We are deeply saddened to announce that Martha Lavey, ensemble member and former Steppenwolf Artistic Director, passed away today due to complications from a stroke suffered last Wednesday, April 19. This stroke was in addition to the debilitating stroke she suffered in May of 2015, and from which she had been struggling to recover. She spent her last days as she lived, in the company and comfort of family, ensemble members and people who love her deeply.

As faithful friends, audience members, donors, staff, artists, mentees and members of the Steppenwolf community, we were all indelibly impacted by Martha’s passion, commitment, vision and unmatched intellect. Martha cared deeply for each and every one of us-no matter our relationship to her or the theatre. She will be dearly missed.

Services for Martha will be held near her parent’s home in Vienna, Virginia at St Mark Catholic Church. A memorial to celebrate her life and her impact on Steppenwolf and the Chicago community will be held at Steppenwolf, with a date and time to be determined.

If you have a memory or a thought about Martha, please share your story with us. Comments will be collected and shared with Martha’s family and the community.

With sadness and love,
Artistic Director Anna Shapiro and Executive Director David Schmitz