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A special city-wide initiative aims to bring significant attention to Chicago’s diverse and innovative theater industry in 2019. “The Year of Chicago Theatre will connect more Chicagoans with the life-changing experience of the live performance arts that Chicago is world famous for,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Chicago has long set the standard for creative, original, and inspiring theater, comedy, music, and art, and I am thrilled that this year the spotlight will shine on arts and culture downtown and in neighborhoods throughout the city.”

Branded as “THEATRE IS THE FEARLESS SOUL OF CHICAGO. Brave. Awe-Inspiring. Visceral. Provocative. Welcoming,” the initiative is a partnership between the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), Choose Chicago, and the League of Chicago Theatres.

The League, through support from The Driehaus Foundation, has increased its capacity to ensure all League members are aware of and participating in the Year of Chicago Theatre. To this end, it is collecting performance information and marketing materials from members and pushing these out through numerous channels. The League is also working with municipal partners to present the work of local theater companies in communities without regular access to theater in their own neighborhoods (for example, as part of Night Out in the Parks). In addition, the League’s ComEd re-granting program is giving special consideration to projects that address Year of Chicago Theatre goals.

Projects currently underway include a brochure, social media blitzes, and a regular Year of Chicago Theatre presence by the League at McCormick Place, Millennium Park, and other high traffic sites. DCASE programming in Millennium Park will emphasize theater, and theater will be the theme for its music and film series. Theater will also have a more dominant presence in the Welcome Center, Learning Labs, and exhibits at the Chicago Culture Center. In addition, DCASE is dedicating $200,000 in sector-building grants for local theater.

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