“Ensemble-Made Chicago” Free Virtual Workshops Invite Everyone to Inspire Creativity and Develop Collaboration Tools with Chicago’s Renowned Theater Ensembles

September 18, 2020

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CHICAGO, IL — The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) announce a new series of free virtual theater workshops for anyone interested in learning how many of the City’s most renowned ensembles create and deliver world class performances. Led by a wide range of Chicago theater groups, “Ensemble Made Chicago” will offer tools of the trade to the public, while also providing a way for performers to do what they love. For participants, no previous experience required.

Chicago is home to one of the most exciting and democratic forms of theater: devised and ensemble-made performance – a way of working that invites everyone to be a part of creating something new and uniquely theirs. Drawing inspiration from Ensemble-Made Chicago: A Guide to Devised Theater by authors Chloe Johnston (of The Neo-Futurists) and Coya Paz Brownrigg (of Free Street Theater), Chicago theater ensembles – including Sol Cabrini of Young Fugitives, Adrian Danzing of 500 Clown, Honey Pot Performance, The Neo-Futurists, Teatro Luna, and PlayMakers Laboratory – lead workshops to inspire creativity and develop collaboration tools. Theatre creatives, performers and artists of all backgrounds, teachers, students, and everyone curious to learn new collaboration tools are invited to apply for free to any of the workshops at chicago.gov/EnsembleMade. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, with priority given to those received before October 5.


Ensemble-Made Chicago Virtual Workshop Schedule

Monday, October 12, and Monday, October 19, 7-8:30
Sol Cabrini de la Ciudad (Young Fugitives)
Join Sol Cabrini for a two-part workshop that considers digital intimacies and the potential for long distance theater. Participants will workshop material together and create short-shared performances.

Sol Cabrini is an alum of Free Street Theater and the Young Fugitives in Chicago and currently lives in New York City. Her performance practice (trans)mits research between moving image, trans dysfunctional bodily conformity, and sound editing as a way of productive fragmentation.


Tuesday, October 13, 6-9pm
Adrian Danzing (500 Clown)
Use physical theatre and clowning techniques to create original performance.
Adrian Danzig is the founder and creative director of 500 Clown, a Chicago-based physical theater company. He has led workshops in physical theater all around the country and internationally.


Saturday, October 17, and Sunday, October 18, 1-2:30pm
Honey Pot Performance
Build the power and magic of collective creative decision-making using trust, intuition, and structure. Honey Pot Performance offers a performance devising workshop using binary systems as “divining tool” and “tuning" portal to find full interactive presence. Participants will generate a body of creative choices guided by energetic connections, chance operations, and consistent practice.

Honey Pot Performance (HPP) is an Afro-feminist multidisciplinary performance and public humanities organization. Since 2011, HPP has cultivated an approach to performance integrating movement, theater, and first-voice to examine the nuanced ways people negotiate identity, belonging, and difference in their lives and cultural memberships. We create multiform performance projects, participatory public humanities programming, and act as an incubator for the development of new works by artists of color aligned with our commitment to performance, storytelling, and the Black experience in all its diasporic variation.


Monday, October 26, and Wednesday, October 28, 7-8:30pm
The Neo-Futurists
Part one explores one of the base tenets of Neo-Futurism and one of the oldest theatrical structures – the monologue. Ensemble member Nick Hart introduces short writing exercises, readings, lecture, and discussion, while examining the company’s artistic history of the monologue. In part two, ensemble member Jasmine Henri Jordan teaches how to write towards immediate existential dread through the lens of celebrity pop culture. Workshop short plays on the multitude of tiny trivial moments that make the giant moment in history that we’re living through.

The Neo-Futurists are a collective of wildly productive writer/director/performers who create: Theater that is a fusion of sport, poetry and living-newspaper; Non-illusory, interactive performance that conveys our experiences and ideas as directly and honestly as possible; Immediate, un-reproducible events; Work that embraces those un-reached or unmoved by conventional theater – inspiring them to thought, feeling and action.


Saturday, November 7, 2-5pm
Teatro Luna
Learn to cultivate a virtual creative ensemble experience for all skill levels by integrating text, movement, sound, and beyond – adapted from Teatro Luna’s in-person practice. Through prompt-based writing and generative physical movement, participants can expect to expand their relationship to collaboration.

Teatro Luna, founded in Chicago in 2000, is an ensemble of Womxn of Color that creates original performances for social impact. A development space for artists, a training ground for collaborative creation and shared leadership, we also offer opportunities to learn generative and healing methodologies that enact large-scale equitable change.


Saturday, November 14, 2-5pm
PlayMakers Laboratory
Explore self-expression through creative writing and creative drama. Learn PlayMakers Laboratory classroom pedagogy through creative drama techniques that engage people of all ages in literacy and writing. All workshop attendees will explore differentiated learning through structured play and will get experience collaboratively writing and adapting stories for the stage.

PlayMakers Laboratory (PML) is an ensemble of teaching artists who create an experimental learning environment in which students share their personal voices and celebrate the power of their imaginations. PML accomplishes this through creative writing workshops and in-school performances of student stories. PML also engages the broader community in support of the visions of young people through public performances of their work.


Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors. For more information, visit chicago.gov/dcase.


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