Storycatchers Theatre could not deliver its award-winning programs to court-involved young people without the support of many individual and institutional donors. Right now, the company is poised to make an extraordinary evolutionary leap because of the generosity and vision of Chicago Beyond, a philanthropic venture capital fund that seeks to create opportunity and access that the young people of Chicago deserve in school, career and life.
“Maestro Muti is very passionate about making the music of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) available to people who wouldn’t ordinarily be able to experience it,” Coordinator of Civic Engagement Programs, James Hall, explains. “We feel strongly that the Chicago Symphony Orchestra should be an orchestra for everyone, regardless of their current situation in life. We work annually with the Illinois Youth Centers of the Department of Juvenile Justice to demonstrate our belief that music serves a central and vital role in our society.” This mission to make music available to everyone has brought the CSO to Illinois Youth Centers (IYC) in Warrenville and Chicago annually since 2010. This year, IYC-Chicago hosted Maestro Muti and the CSO on Sunday, September 25 for a night of opera and classical music.
Storycatching will be a monthly column by Artistic Director Meade Palidofsky relating stories that have shaped company philosophy, mission and process over the past 30 + years.
Soon we will be hanging the banner for the Sheila Kalish Memorial Theatre in the gym at Illinois Youth Center (IYC)-Warrenville. That banner will welcome audiences for our fall 2016 production of Dear Sky, the culmination of a year’s work. That banner, posted high above the entrance into our red-curtained space, makes me vividly remember Sheila, a generous high-powered attorney, and Lourdes, a short, spunky, tomboyish Latina girl. [Read more…]
NEW BEGINNINGS AND EXCITING GROWTH
As the new Executive Director of Storycatchers Theatre, I am excited to announce the company’s plan to grow Changing Voices, our post-release youth employment project, to a statewide program. Our goal is to lay the foundation for a national post-release youth employment movement combating structural racism and generational poverty.
After 19 successful years, Storycatchers says a fond farewell to the Teens Together Playwriting and Summer Touring Ensemble programs with the company’s decision to focus its programming on court-involved youth. For the program’s final summer, fifteen teens came together from all over Chicago to tour their original musical One Big Crazy Family to children and adolescents at park districts and other venues across the city. Their drive and enthusiasm inspired all who experienced the production.
Take a look at what the 2016 Teens Together Summer Touring Ensemble was up to this summer, and see the group that made it possible.
The Changing Voices Ensemble wrapped up a successful summer of programming, which included touring Chicago with their original musical, STUCK. Over the past three and a half months, CV has performed a total of 46 shows for 1,058 Chicagoans at various sites, including UCAN Academy, Heartland Alliance, the Juvenile Probation Department, Summer Advantage Learn & Earn, the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, the 20th District Police Department, and many more!
Storycatchers Theatre and Sharing Who I Truly Am:
An Interview with Jacob Clinkscales
By Ashlyn Wheeler
When Jacob joined Teens Together at the age of 13, he was one of the youngest members in the ensemble. Today, he has just ended the summer serving as the Teens Together 2016 Summer Touring Ensemble’s Stage Manager and Teaching Artist. Learn more about Jacob in his interview with Program Manager Ashlyn Wheeler and the accompanying photo gallery: from his first experience with Storycatchers Theatre to his new role as a Teaching Artist and soon-to-be college freshman.
The Health & Medicine Policy Research Group and the Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellowship Program recognized Storycatchers Founder and Artistic Director, Meade Palidofsky, with a 2016 Schweitzer Leadership Award. Each year, this award honors an individual who has done significant work to mitigate the social determinants of health in the community, and whose commitment to service has influenced and inspired others.
Colleen McLoughlin, HMPRG Schweitzer Fellows Program Coordinator, with the 2016 awardee to Meade Palidofsky.
Photo by Mike Kelly Photography
On May 10, 2016, Storycatchers’ Changing Voices Ensemble hosted officers from the Chicago Police Department at a performance and lunch as part of the Chicago Community Trust On the Table Initiative. After watching a rehearsal of two scenes from Stuck, the Ensemble’s current show, officers from the 12th and 20th Districts and a 911 operator from Oak Park joined the ensemble for a home-cooked lunch and conversation at Changing Voices’ home base at 100 N Western Ave. [Read more…]
The development of communication and leadership skills is one of the primary benefits of participation in a Storycatchers program. This is particularly true of the Changing Voices post-release employment program, where youth focus on honing life skills as well as job-readiness. Building on the storytelling and teamwork they learned with Storycatchers inside the Illinois Youth Centers, staff train youth to be leaders and mentors to their peers in the community. [Read more…]