Mission and History


Theatre is essential to the life of a great city and to its citizens. The League of Chicago Theatres is an alliance of theatres, which leverages its collective strength to support, promote and advocate for Chicago’s theatre industry. Through our work, we ensure that theatre continues to thrive in our city.


The League of Chicago Theatres was founded in 1979 by a small group of theaters formerly known as the Off Loop Producers Association. Their mission was to enrich and sustain the economic and cultural life in Chicago by developing marketing, advocacy and information services to strengthen the operations of member theatres. Very soon after its founding the organization launched Hot Tix, a discount program intended to increase audiences by offering half price tickets through the allocation of unsold inventory the day of the show. The first Hot Tix booth was housed in a trailer in the Block 37 lot. Hot Tix remains to this day one of the League’s flagship programs now selling advance tickets online along with two downtown in-person locations. In the 1980s, when conservative groups began protesting the allocation of funds to the National Endowment for the Arts, the League successfully organized advocacy efforts aimed at continuing funding for the arts. In the 1990s, the League continued to grow and to address the needs of our members in new ways, such as organizing annual showcases for members, hosting community retreats, starting an advertising coop and raising the profile of Chicago theatre through public relations efforts and advertising campaigns. Today the League serves many functions for the community including audience development, advocacy, government relations, grant-making, and professional development. The League remains an organization that is governed by our membership and is proud to serve more than 200 theaters. Our membership encompasses a diverse list of companies including not-for-profit and commercial operations, suburban and city-based, all-volunteer storefront operations and large regional theatres. This diverse and supportive ecosystem is a strength of our community and encourages us as a service organization to offer a wide variety programming to meet the varied needs of our member theatres.