by Chloe Johnston and Coya Paz Brownrigg
Northwestern University Press, 2019
Paper: 978-0-8101-3878-0 | eISBN: 978-0-8101-3879-7
Library of Congress Classification PN2193.E67J64 2019
Dewey Decimal Classification 792.0220977311


Featuring the work of: About Face Youth Theatre • Albany Park Theater Project • Barrel of Monkeys • Every house has a door • FEMelanin • 500 Clown • Free Street Theater • Honey Pot Performance • Lookingglass Theater • The Neo-Futurists • The Second City • Southside Ignoramus Quartet • Teatro Luna • Walkabout Theater • Young Fugitives

Ensemble-Made Chicago brings together a wide range of Chicago theater companies to share strategies for cocreating performance. Cocreated theater breaks down the traditional roles of writer, director, and performer in favor of a more egalitarian approach in which all participants contribute to the creation of original material. Each chapter offers a short history of a Chicago company, followed by detailed exercises that have been developed and used by that company to build ensemble and generate performances. Companies included range in age from two to fifty years, represent different Chicago neighborhoods, and reflect both the storefront tradition and established cultural institutions. The book pays special attention to the ways the fight for social justice has shaped the development of this aesthetic in Chicago.

Assembled from interviews and firsthand observations, Ensemble-Made Chicago is written in a lively and accessible style and will serve as an invaluable guide for students and practitioners alike, as well as an important archive of Chicago’s vibrant ensemble traditions. Readers will find new creative methods to enrich their own practice and push their work in new directions.

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