We are pleased to announce general operating grants totaling $458,000 over two years to 49 Chicago arts and cultural organizations. These grants are made in partnership with the the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation through the MacArthur Funds for Arts & Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. The grants target theater and dance organizations with budgets under $150,000.
2nd Story $20,000 ($10,000 each year for 2 years)
2nd Story is a collective of story-makers and story-lovers working to build community through the power of storytelling. 2nd Story produces 2-3 live literary/theatrical storytelling events per month that fuse page, stage, and sound at various theaters, bars, cafés, and other venues throughout Chicago. 2nd Story also conducts storytelling workshops for emerging writers and maintains an online podcast.
The Agency Theater Collective $4,000 (1 year)
The Agency Theater Collective creates immersive, interactive theatrical experiences, inviting the audience to embrace their collective agency in the process. 2016 productions include an original devised work, The Spirit of ’76, and a revival of Chicago playwright Mia McCollough’s Chagrin Falls, in addition to its weekly variety show No Shame, which runs late-night 52 weeks a year.
Aguijón Theater Company $20,000 ($10,000 each year for 2 years)
Aguijón Theater presents exciting and meaningful theatrical experiences through Spanish-language and bilingual works. Aguijón promotes diversity by challenging and inspiring its audiences to surmount idiomatic barriers and cross cultural boundaries. Next year’s season will feature Romeo y Julieta, and Cervantes' short plays.
Akvavit Theatre $10,000 ($5,000 each year for 2 years)
Akvavit takes as its inspiration from the striking landscapes of Nordic countries and strives to find the universal through the voices of the Nordic world. Akvavit works with contemporary Nordic playwrights on new translations of their work, and stages two productions per year that are either U.S. or English-language premieres.
Antibody Dance $10,000 ($5,000 each year for 2 years)
Antibody Corporation takes a trans-disciplinary approach to art-making, producing dance, performance art, music, video, writing, and photography, with an investigation of the body itself at the center. In 2016, the company will present work in Chicago at Defibrillator and the Chicago Cultural Center and tour to Germany, Russia, and Mexico.
Artemisia, A Chicago Theatre $6,000 (1 year)
Artemisia produces women-driven plays featuring female leading characters whose journeys are about empowerment. The plays examine and dramatize female equality, autonomy, self-awareness, and independence. 2016 productions include: Chewing on Beckett and Shrewish, a gender-bending adaptation of Taming of the Shrew. The company’s signature fall festival, Her Story is Our Story, will present six cutting-edge new plays produced as staged readings, offered free to Chicago audiences.
Audible Odyssey, NFP $3,000 (1 year)
Audible Odyssey aims to identify burgeoning Chicago-based tap dance choreographers and assist them with resources and opportunities. AO’s Artist in Resonance (AiR) program is a 6-month incubator that supports emerging tap choreographers as they create new works. In 2016, AO will present Take Five, its sixth AiR show, at Stage 773.
Bohemian Theatre Ensemble $8,000 (1 year)
Bohemian Theatre Ensemble is founded on truth, beauty, freedom, and love, in true nineteenth century Bohemian fashion. Located in Rogers Park in the Heartland Theatre, Boho Theatre presents three dramatic plays and American musicals yearly.
Brown Paper Box Co. $3,000 (1 year)
The Brown Paper Box Co. produces “Theatre, plain and simple” — its mission is to create thought-provoking and accessible theatrical experiences without the glitz of overproduction. The company produces one play and one musical per season—withNow. Here. This. and The Baltimore Waltz scheduled for 2016-17.
Chicago Dance Crash $16,000 ($8,000 each year for 2 years)
Chicago Dance Crash is a multi-disciplinary, hip-hop oriented contemporary dance company committed to both exploring and exploiting the potential of human response and athleticism through live performance. This year, a partnership with the Shedd Aquarium features CDC on Lake Michigan in a performance called Fantasmagory.
Chicago Moving Company $20,000 ($10,000 each year for 2 years)
In 2016, CMC continues its multifaceted programming with productions of Dance Shelter and Dance for $9.99; its artist-in-residence program; and its rental program which provides performance space at low cost for young, self-producing choreographers. The company will also travel to Japan for a choreographic exchange with noted choreographer Saiko Kino.
Chicago Repertory Ballet $4,000 (1 year)
Dedicated to showcasing contemporary choreographic voices and incomparable storytelling, Chicago Repertory Ballet incorporates classical ballet vocabulary with contemporary dance styles. In 2016, the company presents an evening-length retelling of Macbeth.
Cock & Bull Theatre Company $4,000 (1 year)
Cock and Bull Theatre aims to produce “work that appears to be unproducible, or difficult to produce,” with a specific focus on gender and identity. A production based on Ibsen’s Ghosts opens in fall 2016 at the Berger Park Cultural Center.
Concert Dance, Inc. $8,000 ($4,000 each year for 2 years)
Founded in 1981, Concert Dance, Inc. is the official contemporary dance company and artist-in-residence at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts. CDI presents new work each summer at the Ravinia Festival and this year will revisit its seminal work from 1985 called “The Chicago Project.”
Corn Productions $7,000 (1 year)
Corn Productions is a North Center storefront company dedicated to cultivating new audiences by providing original works at a reasonable price. Upcoming productions include Spiderman: The Musical: The Musical and Silence!, in addition to ongoing sketch-comedy shows.
Curious Theatre Branch $20,000 ($10,000 each year for 2 years)
For nearly 30 years, Curious Theatre Branch has presented affordable, original theater and has provided a platform for emerging and innovative artists. In addition to presenting the Rhino Fest, a yearly fringe festival, they continue to produce three new works written by the ensemble each season.
The Dance COLEctive $20,000 ($10,000 each year for 2 years)
The Dance COLEctive celebrates its 20th anniversary with Revelry/20 Years, a retrospective at Links Hall which will be livestreamed on the web to reach TDC’s fans across the globe. Revelry/20 will feature TDC founder Margi Cole in a solo called threadwork, by renowned choreographer Margaret Jenkins.
Dropshift Dance $3,000 (1 year)
Conceived through a collaborative laboratory of movement, sound, and visual installation, DSD works through a rigorous process of studio investigation to create work that energizes the space and creates an alternate world for the performer and viewer. In 2016, the company premieres Float Brilliance at the Chicago Cultural Center, the final installment in their Imposter trilogy.
Elements Contemporary Ballet $16,000 ($8,000 each year for 2 years)
Elements Contemporary Ballet celebrates its 10th anniversary reprising two seminal works: Pathos ###/emThe Sun King. The Sun Kingwill be presented in the newly renovated Studebaker Theatre in the Fine Arts Building with live musical accompaniment on period instruments.
Esoteric Dance Project $3,000 (1 year)
Esoteric Dance Project seeks to demystify the skilled craft of modern dance and lead audiences to engage, observe, and appreciate the mastery and freedom that define the art form. In the fall, they will present a new evening-length work celebrating the company’s fifth year in production.
The Factory Theater $10,000 ($5,000 each year for 2 years)
Factory Theater’s mission is to write and produce original theater penned only by ensemble members. The company has presented over 55 productions. Season 23 will feature two plays, The Last Big Mistake and Dating and Dragons. The company opened a new venue in Rogers Park in 2016.
First Floor Theater $3,000 (1 year)
First Floor Theater produces new plays, a workshop series, and an annual LitFest short-play festival. Upcoming productions includeWorld Builders—an examination of mental illness and the human connection—at Collaboraction in summer 2016.
Honey Pot Performance $10,000 ($5,000 each year for 2 years)
Honey Pot Performance creates multifaceted works that draw on ethnographic, improvisational, and collaborative practices to reinforce the notion that non-Western, everyday, popular and/or folk forms of cultural performance are valuable sites of knowledge production. In 2016, they will premiere their original Afro-Surrealist tale Ma(s)king Her at the Pritzker Pavilion.
Idle Muse Theatre $6,000 ($3,000 each year for 2 years)
Idle Muse is committed to transporting its audience to the world of daydreams, creating work that is “transporting, timely, and true.” 2016 productions include an original adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, and the Chicago premiere of Victor Lodato’s The Woman Who Amuses Herself, centered on a 1911 theft of the Mona Lisa.
Interrobang Theatre Company $8,000 ($4,000 each year for 2 years)
Interrobang (named after the punctuation mark “?!”) strives to build a new generation of theatergoers through provocative, engaging plays. 2016 productions include Craig Wright’s Recent Tragic Events and Rajiv Joseph’s The North Pool.
Irish Theatre of Chicago $9,000 (1 one year)
Founded in 1997, Irish Theatre of Chicago focuses on the Irish and Irish-American experience. ITC has garnered 7 Equity Jeff Awards over its history, including Best Ensemble for The Seafarer (2014). A new three-show season includes two Midwest premieres and one U.S. premiere.
Jackalope Theatre Company $22,000 ($11,000 each year for 2 years)
Jackalope Theatre Company produces three mainstage shows per year at the Broadway Armory and a series of theatrical programs at The Frontier, the company’s storefront venue in Edgewater. JTC received the 2015 Broadway in Chicago Emerging Theatre Award. The Pioneer Series at The Frontier cultivates original work by guest theater companies.
Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co. $8,000 (1 year)
Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co. has been producing plays that address the fears and passions of the human condition since 1986. In 2016, the company winds up its 30th and final season with David Mamet’s ###em and the 28th annual Abbie Hoffman Died for Our Sins Festival, a “performance mash-up” of comedy, theatre, music, and dance.
Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak $8,000 ($4,000 each year for 2 years)
Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak invites artists and audiences to reconsider limiting cultural beliefs about how we should look, move, dance, express, and relate. In 2016, the company will present a collaboration with dancer and costume designer Jeff Hancock, a new trio, and Blackbird’s Ventriloquy, a solo that features music by three leading Chicago composers.
Momenta! Inc. $14,000 ($7,000 each year for 2 years)
MOMENTA features dancers with and without physical disabilities. MOMENTA’s repertoire includes dances by legends like Doris Humphrey, Martha Graham, Isadora Duncan and new work from Chicago-based choreographers. MOMENTA will lead a Midwest convening of physically integrated dance in conjunction with a national conference to be held in New York.
Mordine & Company Dance Theatre $5,000 (1 year)
Mordine and Company is celebrating its 47th year. New work under development includes collaborations with puppeteer Michael Montenegro and choreographer Hema Rajagopalan. A crucial component of the work will be a series of community conversations that explore aging and how older peopled are valued.
Najwa Dance Corps $7,000 (1 year)
Najwa Dance Corps is devoted to the performance, production, and preservation of dance styles and techniques reflective of the African American dance heritage and experience. Najwa will participate in The Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks performance series this summer.
The New Colony $24,000 ($12,000 each year for 2 years)
The New Colony is an ensemble of artists who produce a full season of original plays and musicals in residence at The Den Theatre. Through workshops like the Writers Room, they develop new works by emerging artists for new audiences.
Nothing Without A Company $3,000 (1 year)
Nothing Without A Company is devoted to creating exciting theater in unusual spaces, using site-specific projects to push art into the immediate, everyday world. 2016 productions and events include Transformation, a co-production with figure-performance company The Living Canvas centering on transgender performers.
The Other Theatre Company $5,000 (1 year)
The Other Theatre Company is a collective dedicated to telling the stories of individuals and groups who are “othered” by systems of oppression. With two seasons under their belt, TOTC joins forces with the Greenhouse Theatre Center for a co-production in fall 2016.
Physical Festival Chicago $7,000 (1 year)
Now in its third year, Physical Festival Chicago is an annual weeklong festival dedicated to international physical theater. By its nature, physical theater lends itself to a global scale because it privileges the physical over verbal elements of theatrical storytelling. In 2016, companies from Poland, Spain, and Brazil join Chicago and New York artists at Stage 773.
Piven Theatre Workshop $8,000 (1 year)
The Piven Theatre Workshop is an Equity theatre and training center with over 45 years of history producing excellence in the theatre arts. In 2016-17, they will produce a season that focuses on women’s voice in theater.
The Plagiarists $6,000 ($3,000 each year for 2 years)
The Plagiarists steal from literature, visual art, history, and the culture at large to create new theater that finds the familiar in the strange, the unique in the commonplace, and ultimately engages the world. 2016 productions include THE EPIC OF GILGAMESH, AS TOLD BY MR. GEORGE SMITH, ASSOCIATE CURATOR FOR THE BRITISH MUSEUM (DECEASED). Also upcoming is ULYSSES 101, “an anarchic adaption of James Joyce’s ULYSSES that seeks to unwind the famously knotty text for experienced Joyceans and newcomers alike.”
Promethean Theatre Ensemble $10,000 ($5,000 each year for 2 years)
Promethean Theatre Ensemble was founded with a mission to fuse “simplicity of design with intelligent, passionate storytelling.” The company mainly produces classic works such as Shakespeare’s Winter’s Tale and Brecht’s Caucasian Chalk Circle. An expanded three-show season will feature Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde by Moises Kaufman, Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl, and The Liar by David Ives.
Red Tape Theatre Company $5,000 (1 year)
Red Tape Theatre Company is “committed to the creation of new and experimental work through collaborations with our ensemble, playwrights, musicians, dancers, and visual artists.” The company’s Fresh Eyes workshops provides emerging playwrights with opportunities to develop new work. The current season features a co-production with Stage Left Theatre called Mutt, by Christopher Chen.
Red Theater Chicago $3,000 (1 year)
Red Theatre Company presents new takes on classic plays, original work, and Chicago premieres that “ask dangerous questions theatrically.” They have a commitment to creating work with deaf and hard of hearing actors, and their plays are always free. They will be presenting a workshop of Beowulf: A Pocket Musical, and Gnit, by Will Eno, in 2017. They will also workshop the ASL bilingual Cyrano de Bergerac and hold their yearly Annual Red Playwriting Competition.
Redtwist Theatre $15,000 (1 year)
Redtwist is a storefront theater in the Edgewater neighborhood that produces “white hot drama, in a tiny black box, with a little red twist.” During the 2016-17 season, they will produce five shows, as well as host guest companies in their theater.
Same Planet Different World $7,000 (1 year)
Same Planet Different World performances seek to bring real life situations to the stage through technical and athletic contemporary dance. SPDW is currently developing an evening-length, disco-based piece called Honey, which will debut later this season.
Silent Theater Company $16,000 ($8,000 each year for 2 years)
Silent Theatre Company creates aesthetically awake moments, creating a universal language, one gesture at a time. In the fall of 2016, they will present a re-envisioned production of their inaugural show, Lulu: a black and white silent play and continue presenting the late night Wild Party Variety Hour.
Stage Left Theatre $7,000 (1 year)
Established in 1982, Stage Left’s mission is to “produce and develop plays that raise debate on political and social issues.” Stage Left has produced over 150 shows with 48 nominations and 16 awards from the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee. The Downstage Left program supports emerging playwrights in developing new scripts through workshop opportunities.
Synapse Arts Collective $14,000 ($7,000 each year for 2 years)
Synapse Arts is dedicated to making dance a part of daily life for everyone. Synapse presents both site-specific work for no or low cost as well as evening-length performances. In 2016, they will present their new piece, Openwork, at Links Hall.
Theatre Y $5,000 (1 year)
Theatre Y is focused on the experimental avant-garde theatrical traditions of Eastern Europe (Poland, Romania, and Hungary). In 2016-17, the company will produce an adaptation of Chekhov’s Three Sisters ###/emMacbeth at the Chopin Theater as part of the Shakespeare 400 Chicago festival.
Underscore Theatre Company $5,000 (1 year)
Underscore Theatre Company is dedicated to creating original musical theatre. They believe that Chicago should be an exporter of the art form, not an importer. In the coming season, Underscore will produce two works: Haymarket and Tanya and Nancy: A Rock Opera. In August, Underscore will host their third annual Chicago Musical Theater Festival at Victory Gardens Theater.
Waltzing Mechanics $3,000 (1 year)
Waltzing Mechanics produces documentary theater, often verbatim from interview transcripts. In addition to its open-run production of El Stories, Waltzing Mechanics’ recent production of Body/Courage, co-produced with Rivendell Theater, was a one-woman performance based on 300 interviews with women about their perceptions of their own bodies.