Cheryl Coons

Program Manager

Making theatre with the young residents of the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center is transformational- not just for them- but for all of us who are lucky enough to know them, love them, and work with them. Though many of the young people have survived incredible difficulties, there’s open-heartedness, goodness, and a willingness to stretch way outside their comfort zone to collaborate and create theatre.

Some newcomers begin our sessions with downcast eyes, sad or distressed about their cases, withdrawn from their peers. We often see big changes in just 2 hours together. Witnessing the power of the ensemble members to comfort and inspire each other is one of the great joys I have experienced in my professional life. We often see young people grow to become mentors for the new arrivals to the ensemble. I’ve spent nearly 40 years in the professional theatre.

Nothing tops this.

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