Forum: Breaking the Mold/Unearthing the Foundations of Chicago’s Performance Ecology

Mon, Sep 16, 6:30 pm at the Theatre Center, Columbia College Chicago
Classic Studio (Ground Floor), 72 E 11th St
Join Chicago-based devised, DIY, and experimental theater directors Sydney Chatman, Denise Serna, and more, as they discuss their participation in The Storefront Project. Find out what it’s like to devise new work to be performed backstage and in public spaces at the MCA and in the small black-box theaters and interstitial spaces of Prop Thtr. Timed between the opening and closing weekends of these performances, this conversation addresses questions that have been raised by this cross-institutional collaboration: How do these performances exemplify the participants’ experiences of Chicago’s theater scene; how have they proven to be exceptions? What tensions does this project uncover between Chicago theater’s reputation and the full scope of its actual history and current practice? What is unique about Chicago’s performance infrastructure, from enduring grassroots institutions to large, monolithic venues, and what has this project revealed about their relationship to one another? What possibilities and frustrations do moments of exchange or hybridization across different geographical locations, theatrical lineages, disciplinary categories, terminologies, practices, and economies of scale bring up? Chicago performance scholar, writer, and artist Ira S. Murfin moderates.

The panel is free and open to the public. Seating at the Theater Center is limited, so please RSVP to Anthony Williams at

Many thanks to John Green and the European Devised Performance Practice program at Columbia College Chicago for hosting this panel discussion.

We hope you’ll also join us for this site-specific celebration of Chicago theater! Watch how space transforms the work by getting tickets in both venues! Capacity for these roving performances is extremely limited, so purchase tickets soon! Online at or by phone at 312-397-4010.

Noon and 3 pm, Program A at PROP
7 pm and 8 pm, Program B at MCA

Noon and 3 pm, Program B at PROP
7 pm and 8 pm, Program A at MCA
Program A: Sydney Chatman, Coya Paz, and Denise Serna
Program B: Lucky Stiff, Dado Gyure, and Mikael Burke with April Cleveland