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We are pleased to announce grants totaling $629,000 over two years to Chicago arts and cultural organizations with small budgets. These grants are made in partnership with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation through the MacArthur Funds for Arts & Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. Grants target theater and dance organizations with budgets under $150,000 that serve Chicago audiences.  

A complete list of general operating grant recipients and links to their organizations are below.  

Congratulations to the 2017 MacArthur-Driehaus Small Theater and Dance grantees! 

Aerial Dance Chicago  

$23,000 over two years 

Aerial Dance Chicago brings floor-based contemporary dance into vertical space with the use of silks, harnesses, hoops, and other apparatus. In 2017, Aerial will host two in-studio performances. 

The Agency Theater Collective  


The Agency Theater Collective creates immersive, interactive theatrical experiences, inviting the audience to embrace their collective agency in the process. 2017 productions include “Nautalina” and “Hellcab” in addition to its weekly performance series “No Shame.” 



AstonRep is an ensemble of artists creating theatre to engage audiences and spark discussion through new works and re-imagined classics in an intimate setting. Upcoming productions include Donald Marguiles' “Time Stands Still” at Raven Studio.  

Audible Odyssey 


Audible Odyssey supports emerging, diverse tap choreographers. In 2017 they will present "PERSIST," a night of emerging female artists. 

Bohemian Theatre Ensemble 

$23,000 over two years 

Bohemian Theatre Ensemble (BoHo) presents three to four plays per year in Rogers Park as well as the Belmont Theatre District.  2017 productions are "Urinetown", "Three Days of Rain" and "Marie Christine". 

Brown Paper Box Co.  

$6,000 over two years 

Brown Paper Box Co. developed its name from the company’s artistic vision, “Theatre, plain and simple," and produces two shows per year. 2017 productions are “They're Playing Our Song,” the Marvin Hamlisch/Neil Simon musical, and Stephen Karam's drama “Speech and Debate." 

The Cambrians  


The Cambrians [KAYM-bree-uns] is a global dance production network based in Chicago. Collaborative projects feature 10 to 15 choreographers of diverse genres.  

Chicago Folks Operetta  


Chicago Folks Operetta is dedicated to the revival and development of operetta, especially productions of Viennese and American operettas from the early 20th century. This season features Kurt Weill’s "Johnny Johnson" and a concert of forgotten songs from WWI operettas. 

Chicago Repertory Ballet  


Chicago Repertory Ballet presents one production a year with a focus on narrative. In 2017, they produced an anniversary concert that featured one premiere and highlights from the past five years.  

Chicago Tap Theatre  


Chicago Tap Theatre maintains the tradition of tap and pushes the form by creating innovative new work. Each season includes an annual holiday show, a narrative “story show,” and an interdisciplinary performance.  

Clinard Dance  

$20,000 over two years 

Clinard Dance Theater (CDT) brings together people from diverse artistic disciplines and cultural backgrounds to pioneer a unique approach to contemporary flamenco. Clinard will present workshop performances of their new work, ""Everyday People Everyday Actions"" and a series of flamenco concerts. 

Corn Productions  


Corn Productions is dedicated to producing original works at a reasonable price. With a focus on comedy and improvisation, Corn Productions produces shows every week of the year while also operating as a rental venue.  

Dance in the Parks 

$9,000 over two years 

Dance in the Parks brings free dance to neighborhood parks throughout Chicago. The 2017 season features 16 performances from talented dancers and choreographers, many of whom create new works to complement the site-specific environment of Chicago parks. 

Dropshift Dance  


dropshift dance is a contemporary dance company that uses movement and collaborations with sound and visual installation artists to create unique performances. In 2017, the company is will present "The Remains," the fourth installment in The Imposter Series. 

Eclipse Theatre Company  

$18,000 over two years 

Eclipse Theatre Company focuses on a single playwright each season. The upcoming season will feature the works of Kia Corthron: "Force Continuum," "Megastasis," and "Breath, Boom." 

Every House Has A Door  

$15,000 over two years 

Every house has a door is a performance company that embraces historically or critically neglected work through interdisciplinary collaborations. In 2017, they perform "The Three Matadores" at the Logan Center for the Performing Arts.   

First Floor Theater  

$12,000 over two years 

First Floor Theater stages stories of individuals facing moments of radical change. Upcoming shows are “American Hero” at The Den, and “Peerless” at Theater on the Lake.  

Hell In A Handbag Productions  


Hell in a Handbag Productions “is dedicated to the preservation, exploration, and celebration of the art of camp via theatrical productions through parody, music, and homage.” Performances occur at Mary's Attic above Hamburger Mary's in Andersonville. 

Irish Theatre of Chicago  

$23,000 over two years 

The mission of Irish Theatre of Chicago is to return theatre to its origin - by creating compelling productions and programs that focus the energy of artists toward the common goal of exceptional storytelling. Productions in 2017 include “The My Way Residential.”  


$23,000 over two years 

Khecari is a contemporary dance company that strives to fully sustain the creative process of its artistic directors and collaborating artists through offering original works of dance savored for their power, idiosyncrasy, and resonance. Upcoming projects include TEEM and Allogrooming. 

Midsommer Flight  


Midsommer Flight is dedicated to producing accessible Shakespeare in Chicago communities. Their credo is “Shared joy. Flights of fancy.” In 2017, they present "Hamlet" in four Chicago parks and "Twelfth Night" at the Lincoln Park Conservatory. 

Mordine & Company Dance Theater  


Mordine & Company Dance Theater is celebrating its 48th year in 2017. The company will travel to India as part of a cultural exchange with Chicago performances scheduled for late summer. 

Muse of Fire Theatre Company  


Muse of Fire Theatre Company produces Shakespeare-in-the-park productions that are free and open to the public. Upcoming productions include “Much Ado About Nothing” and “Pericles.” 

NAJWA Dance Corps  


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.  

New Millennium Theatre Company  


New Millennium Theater Co. has produced new, non-traditional, pop culture theatre since 1998. The 2017 season begins with "The Incredible Hank," a story of a reluctant superhero trying live a normal life.  

Nothing Without a Company  


Nothing Without a Company is planting theatre around Chicago to empower self and community through immersive and revolutionary acts of art in site-specific and reclaimed environments. The 2017-18 season includes an original play called “Not One Batu.” 

The Other Theatre Company  

$14,000 over two years 

The Other Theatre Company is dedicated to telling the stories of individuals or groups who are othered by systems of oppression. In 2017, they will present the Chicago premiere of "Threesome" at the Greenhouse Theater Center and participate in the Grafting Project at Chicago Dramatists. 

Physical Festival Chicago  


Physical Festival Chicago is an annual nine-day festival of contemporary, visual, and physical theater that brings new forms of theater from around the US and the world to Chicago. In 2017, the festival will present companies from France, Germany, the UK, Finland/Switzerland/Italy, and Chicago.  

Prop Thtr  

$22,000 over two years 

Prop Thtr incubates and produces new works through long-term relationships with theater artists and collaborations with itinerant companies. This season features Lee Peters' "Alone with Friends" and the annual RhinoFest, now in its 30th year. 

Quest Theatre Ensemble 


Quest Ensemble is committed to making theatre accessible to everyone through free performances, innovative community engagement, and stories with universal appeal. 

RE Dance Group  


RE|dance group is dedicated to the presentation of dance theatre works that examine personal, intimate human relationships. In 2017, the company premieres a new work at Hamlin Park and collaborates with the Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble.  

Red Tape Theatre Company  


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 annual Fresh Eyes workshop provides emerging playwrights with opportunities to develop new work.  

Red Theater Chicago  


Red Theater Chicago is committed to creating work with deaf and hard of hearing actors, and their plays are always free. Its 2017-18 season includes "Red Cyrano," adapted by the artistic director as an ASL inclusive show. 

Redtwist Theatre  

$33,000 over two years 

Redtwist’s mission is to do white hot drama, in a tiny black box, with a little red twist. They will conclude their 2016-17 season with a Chicago premiere of "Going to the Place Where You Already Are."   

Rough House Theater Company  


Rough House Theater Company uses puppetry, music, and human performers to tell stories that are intimate, strange, and sincere. In 2017, they remount their acclaimed "Ubu the King" at the Chicago International Puppet Theatre Festival and Pivot Arts and debut their new show "Cicada Summer."  

The Route 66 Theatre Company  

$18,000 over two years 

Route 66 produces new plays that embrace the American spirit of risk, exploration, and fearlessness. The company produces two new productions each year at The Den Theatre, a monthly play reading series, a new play development workshop, and two concerts.  

Same Planet Performance Project  


Same Planet Performance Project is a contemporary dance company that presents work from local, national, and international choreographers. In 2017, SPPP will perform at the Pivot Arts Festival in Chicago.  

The Seldoms 

$29,000 over two years 

The Seldoms make visually rich dance theater. Highlights of their 2017 season include the premiere of "The Making," a multi-media site-specific work. 

The Side Project  


The Side Project produces the works of burgeoning playwrights, giving new directors, designers and actors a place to hone their voice and stretch their vision. In 2017, the company will present a full-length production at Prop Thtr as well as its Festival of Storytelling and New Works Festival.  

The Space/Movement Project  


The Space Movement Project is a female dance group inspired by collaborative inquiry. In 2017, they will present their work at Links Hall and OuterSpace and participate in a creative exchange with Detroit-based Kristi Faulkner Dance. 

Stage Left Theatre  


Stage Left Theatre produces plays that explore political and social landscapes. The 2016-17 season consists of a world premiere by Beth Kander, a co-production with Cor Theatre, and LeapFest XIV, their annual festival of new plays. 

Theater Oobleck 

$22,000 over two years 

Theater Oobleck is an ensemble-based collective dedicated to producing original works. In 2017, the company presents plays by Mickle Maher and Martha Bayne and the final installment of its "Baudelaire in a Box" series. 

Theatre Y  


Theatre Y is focused on the experimental avant-garde theatrical traditions of Eastern Europe (Poland, Romania, and Hungary).  

Third Eye Theatre Ensemble 


Third Eye Theatre Ensemble brings affordable opera to the public. The company performs new or seldom performed works that have the power to stimulate conversations on topics of social justice and human rights. In 2017 it presents "With Blood, With Ink" by Daniel Crozier. 

Trap Door Theatre  

$27,000 over two years 

Trap Door Theatre seeks out challenging and obscure works and reflects a European-influenced performance style. 2017 includes work by Racine, Brecht and a new devised piece called "Into the Empty Sky…"  

TUTA Theatre Chicago  

$18,000 over two years 

By producing foreign, lesser-known plays, TUTA probes issues of contemporary American life, examined in a broader, international context.  In 2017, the company presents "Gentle," an original adaptation of a Dostoevsky short story. 

Underscore Theatre Company 


Underscore Theatre is dedicated to producing new works of musical theatre. In the 2017-18 season, it will produce two new works of musical theater and in 2018 will host their annual musical theater festival.  

Walkabout Theater Company  

$22,000 over two years 

Walkabout Theater Company creates performances that push the boundaries of conventional theater and attempt to redefine the traditional actor-spectator relationship. Multidisciplinary performances include elements of dance, vocalization, sound engineering, and elaborate costumes.  

Winifred Haun & Dancers 

$14,000 over two years 

Winifred Haun & Dancers presents the contemporary dance works of Winifred Haun. In 2017 Haun will present “Trashed,” a dance that combines contemporary circus with modern dance. 

Zephyr Dance Ensemble  


Zephyr Dance is a contemporary dance company that presents work that expands the traditional bounds of dance in one to two concerts annually. In late 2017 and spring 2018 the company will produce "SITE/less" in its new West Loop venue. 

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