On Monday, February 23rd there will be a free public showing of works being developed in our arts incubator program. The incubator program takes place at Loyola University where professional artists are given time and space to create new performance and students are mentored on each project. Applicants to the program must show that their work is innovative and/or multidisciplinary in order to be accepted. While there are many new play development programs across the country, our focus is on bringing together collaborators who need to be in the same room together in order to create work that is in some way unique.

Why do we do this?

Pivot Arts’ mission is to “produce, present and develop innovative performance.” At the heart of this mission is a desire to support the work of artists whose work may not find a home at a more traditional theater or dance company and to push the boundaries of what is possible in Chicago. By developing innovative work and by giving artists resources like rehearsal space we hope to send exciting projects out into Chicago that will either be shown at our festival or picked up by another organization. The incubator program is a small step towards contributing to an innovative and exciting performance culture in our city.

I’m going to be brutally honest now. When I see yet another group of young actors starting a theater company in Chicago and producing realistic plays in a completely realistic style it makes me want to tear my eyeballs out. Chicago has long had an international reputation for powerhouse productions of realistic plays. Shouldn’t young companies be pushing the boundaries of what is possible in performance?

Spectacle-based organizations like Redmoon and Lookingglass or companies with original styles like the Neo-Futurists or the Hypocrites have long been the exception to the “realism rule” in Chicago. However, I believe that landscape is changing now. Young organizations like shadow puppet company, Manual Cinema, for example, are demonstrating the success of innovative work that is also high in quality. And Chicago audiences are loving their work.

On Monday, Kerry Reid, frequent contributor to the Chicago Tribune will lead a discussion on the development of non-realistic performance in Chicago with a panel of exciting voices like Shoni Currier from the Department of Cultural Affairs who has produced for P.S. 122 in New York; Leslie Buxbaum Danzig, co-founder of 500 Clown, a former performer with Elevator Repair Service and currently working with Lucky Plush Productions; Andy White a founding member of Lookingglass Theatre (now their Artistic Director) and several other key people.

Don’t miss this opportunity to see, listen and discuss what the future of Chicago performance might look like…

Followed by Panel Discussion “Is Chicago Ready for Non-Realistic Performance?”
7pm Monday February 23rd
Mundelein Center for the Fine and Performing Arts at Loyola University
1020 W. Sheridan Road 4th Floor in Chicago
FREE please RSVP with meg@pivotarts.org

The incubator program is made possible by the Department of Fine and Performing Arts at Loyola University with generous support from the Alphawood Foundation and the MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.

Photo of Pivot Arts Incubator Artist, Vanessa Valliere, by C.B. Lindsey.