Monday, February 23, 2015
7pm |Loyola University’s Mundelein Center for the Fine and Performing Arts, 1020 W. Sheridan Road, 4th Floor
For Reservations, email

BlairThomasPivot Arts and Loyola University’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts (DFPA) continue their partnership with a unique Performing Arts Incubator Program for artists, which includes mentorships for Loyola undergraduates throughout January and February 2015. The program provides companies and individual artists time and space to develop work that is innovative and often blurs the boundaries between music, dance, theater and other disciplines.  Students will work alongside professional artists on each project as performers, assistant directors, dramaturgs and production managers.

Join us for our Public Showing of the various artists’ work-in-progress on February 23 at 7pm, followed by the panel discussion, Is Chicago Ready for Non-Realistic Performance? Chicago has a reputation for powerhouse productions of realistic plays with spectacle-based companies like Redmoon or Lookingglass standing out more as an exception than the rule. How has the performance scene here changed over time and are Chicago audiences ready for work that is outside of the realistic box?

Kerry Reid
, regular freelance contributor to the Chicago Tribune addresses these questions and looks at trends in other U.S. cities in a panel discussion immediately following a showing of works from our incubator program. Esteemed panelists include Leslie Buxbaum Danzig, Collaborating Director of Lucky Plush Productions; Shoshona Currier, Director of Performing Arts for the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events; Meida Teresa McNeal, Artistic Director of Honey Pot Performance; Anna Trier, Residency Director at Links Hall; Juan Villa, Playwright and member of the Incubator Program; and Andrew White, Artistic Director at Lookingglass Theatre.

Kerry Reid is a longtime theater critic and arts journalist. She has covered theater for the Chicago Tribune since 2002 and has also written extensively for the Chicago Reader, American Theatre magazine, and many other publications. She spent most of the 1990s in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she covered theater for the East Bay Express and Back Stage West. She is also the author of several plays and solo performance pieces that have been performed in various venues and festivals in North America and Europe.


Participating Artists and Companies in 2015 Incubator:

The incubator program begins with playwright and Literary Manager of Victory Gardens, Isaac Gomez, who is developing a play that integrates traditional Mexican music as a core storytelling component. Entitled, THE WOMEN OF JUAREZ, this ethnographic piece focuses on the mass murder of women in the Ciudad Juarez, Mexicousing testimonials of real women from the city, resulting in a multidisciplinary work that challenges the boundaries of traditional storytelling.

terraNOVA Collective continues to develop DON CHIPOTLE, a multi-medium play written by award winning playwright and performer Juan Villa. Inspired by the classic tale Don Quixote and Villa’s own experience growing up in the violent atmosphere of lower East Side Manhattan, DON CHIPOTLE uses puppetry, music, song and dialogue to create a magical adventure about an uninhibited child who has his childhood taken away.

Laboratory for the Development of Substitute Materials (LDSM) will develop STRUCTURAL REMAINS: A MEMORY EXPERIMENT, a devised piece based on abandoned buildings and the memories that remain. LDSM is a devised theatre collective consisting of Seth Bockley, Rachel Claff, Chloe Johnston, Ira S. Murfin, Kerensa Peterson, Angela Tillges and Seth Zurer. They seek to make collectively devised, research-based work that explores issues arising from scientific research and the built environment using the tools and techniques of theatre.

Vanessa Valliere combines puppetry and dance to create NICE TRY, an interactive clown show based around the idea of an impaired performer. Amidst an adventure of dolls, a burlesque show and mashed potatoes, Valliere’s well-meaning clown aims to please… and her utterly unique failure inevitably delights the audience. Valliere is a performer, clown, and proud nerd-cheerleader for Chicago’s own thirty-piece marching band, Mucca Pazza.


Past Participants:

2014 Artists

Hearts and Brains further developed GASHLYCRUMB ORPHANGE, an immersive clown show based on the gleefully macabre world of author/illustrator (and Rogers Park native) Edward Gorey.

The Dilettantes developed Science Night, a live, interactive game composed of middle-school style science experiments.  The Dilettantes is a three-person collective consisting of: Erika Grammel, Rebecca Stevens and Aaron Weissman.

Playright and rock journalist, Mark Guarino teams up with rocker and founder of the British band, the Mekons, Jon Langford to create a new musical about a man with an ailing wife who convinces the city of Roswell, NM to build an alien theme park.

Nationally respected puppeteer and founder of Redmoon Theater Company, Blair Thomas, created a puppetry work accompanied by the music of Chopin entitled, CHOPIN “SCHERZO IN B MINOR.”

2013 Artists

Chicago Opera Vanguard’s “The Passion of Joseph Smith,” a new opera with music by Eric Reda (Artistic Director, COV) and with lyrics by Philip Dawkins (Victory Gardens Associate).

Dog & Pony Theatre Co. explores the relationship between Richard Wagner and Ludwig II in a new play about art, money and lust.

Ruth Margraff, playwright and musician develops her working-class, world folk opera THREE GRACES based in “emotional vibrato” –a technique that explores the boundaries between speaking and singing.


Photos: CHOPIN “SCHERZO IN B MINOR” – David Silverman