Founders & Administration

Wilfredo Rivera

Co-Founder & Artistic Director

Wilfredo Rivera (Artistic Director) is a co-founder of Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, Artistic Director since 2007. Decades as a working artist forged Wilfredo’s belief that only a diverse group can create the artwork for which the company is known – eclectic, culturally rich, deeply moving, utterly relevant. Every season he carefully selects the leading collaborators and thematic concepts for Cerqua Rivera and curates the company’s artistic process. In 2016, he launched his most ambitious artistic project to date, American Catracho. This 4-year exploration of immigration premiered in segments and debuted to critical acclaim in celebration of Cerqua Rivera’s 20th Anniversary in 2019.


Wilfredo was born in Honduras, trained with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and was a founding member of River North Dance Chicago. He was honored with the 2009 Cliff Dwellers Arts Foundation Choreography Award, a 2001 After Dark Award and nominated for a 3Arts Award in 2016 & 2018. His concert work has been featured at the Auditorium Theatre, Chicago Jazz Festival, Hyde Park Jazz Festival, Harris Theater, Chicago Symphony Center with the Chicago Sinfonietta, Ruth Page Center for the Arts, DuSable Museum, Links Hall and Mayne Stage. Additional choreography credits include productions for Goodman Theatre, Bailiwick Theatre, Teatro Vista, Forward Theater, Metropolis Arts Center, Columbia College, American Theater Co., American Players Theater, Porchlight Theater and Pegasus Players among others.

Matt Lamb


Matt Lamb was a funeral director-turned-artist-sculptor-philosopher-peace activist. Oh, yes, and globe-trotting dynamo. Matt made the career switch after mistakenly being diagnosed with an incurable disease and deciding he wanted to do something different with the rest of his life. His artistic work has been exhibited in major galleries in Germany, France, Greece, Ireland, Mexico, Switzerland and Israel. He won a bronze medal from the National Federation of French Culture and served as president of the Midwest Patrons of the Arts, and director of the Vatican Museum Foundation. But Matt, who firmly believed that "art can change the world," is best known for his Umbrellas for Peace project. It began as a therapy for 38 children who lost parents in the terrorist attackts of Sept. 11, 2001. But in the next decade the idea of painting umbrellas for peace spread to more than 2-million participants in 29 countries. The CRDT family was privileged to work with him. Matt is missed.

Joe Cerqua


Joe is a freelance, award-winning composer, producer, vocalist and sound designer. Joe has composed/designed sound for over 300 productions nationally and internationally. Original music and sound design: Steppenwolf, Goodman Theatre, American Players Theater, Milwaukee Rep, Asolo Theater, The Alliance, Mark Taper Forum, Geva Theater, Deaf West, Northlight Theatre, Skyline Opera, Cleveland Playhouse, Clarence Brown Theatre, Forward Theatre, Kansas City Rep, Indiana Rep, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Shakespeare and Co, Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Repertory Theatre of St Louis, Remy Bumppo. National Tours: Sideman, American Buffalo, How I Learned to Drive, The Laramie Project, Broken Glass, Master Class. Joe is the Composer in Residence for the Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre and the Creative Director and Producer for the Music Department at Columbia College. Future projects include concerts in Chicago with Cerqua Rivera, original music and sound designs for productions with the Arizona Theater Company, American Conservatory Theater, American Players, and Forward Theatre.

Catherine Painter

Executive Director

Catherine Painter became the first Executive Director of CRDT in 2015.  She is also Managing Director at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble and Development Consultant to Praize Productions Inc. She is a member of the faculty at the University of Illinois - Chicago Certificate in Non-Profit Management Program where she teaches classes on Individual Giving and Strategic Leadership. Previously, she consulted with the American Indian Association, Trinity Irish Dance Company, and independent artists, and worked with Victory Gardens Theater, Merit School of Music, Northlight Theatre, and Latin School of Chicago. She holds Bachelor and Master of Science degrees from Northwestern University.

Cerqua Rivera
Dance Theatre
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