Teaching Artist (Various Locations)

To apply, please send your cover letter and resume to with the position title in the subject line.

Who we are. 

Storycatchers Theatre is a non-profit that works with youth in incarceration facilities, detention centers, and post-release programs to write true personal stories, overcome traumatic experiences, and empower their individual growth. Staff uses a healing-centered methodology to meet the youth where they are and identify how they want to creatively tell their stories. Some of the formats include rap songs, anthologies, podcasts and musical theatre pieces. Every effort is made to share these pieces with the families and communities of the young people, facilitating discussions that create change in themselves and their audiences.  

 Who should apply.  

We place a high value on the ability to relate on a personal level to the population we serve. Maybe you have experienced growing up in underserved neighborhoods. Maybe you are dedicated to uplifting and empowering people who have lived through, or are currently living through, serious trauma. We’re looking for individuals who have a strong desire to work in youth development and possess a proactive and resilient nature. Experienced teaching artists who specialize in writing, acting, music, movement, or devised theatre are a definite plus. The most important quality is the ability to relate to the young people we work with, combined with a passion for this work and willingness to lean into our process and learn the necessary skills to work collaboratively with other staff to help participants develop their voices and turn their stories into creative expression.  

Our teaching artists help people find their voice and empower them to have personal goals, more positive trusting relationships, new opportunities, more joy and reclaimed futures. 

We offer a place where art makes real change. 

Job expectations. 

Artistic expectations: 

  • Study and develop proficiency in Storycatchers Theatre’s artistic process. 
  • Work with participants to help them share and write personal stories; read all drafts of all participants’ stories.  
  • Learn all choreography, blocking, songs, and other elements of each staged reading or production and be prepared to coach and/or understudy participants in all these aspects. 
  • Provide participants with individual acting or presentation skills coaching as needed. 
  • Support participants onstage as a Teaching Actor and ensemble leader; manage onstage entrances and exits as needed. 
  • Lead theatre games and rehearsal activities. 
  • Provide emotional support to participants as needed; model professional rehearsal demeanor; work with other Teaching Artists to create and maintain a safe, positive program environment for all participants 

Additional expectations: 

  • Act as a role-model for participants by being on time to all program sessions, rehearsal calls and or touring calls as determined by specific program needs. 
  • Maintain a mature, respectful, and patient demeanor. 
  • Be on time to all program sessions, meetings, and teaching artist trainings. 
  • Be proactive about maintaining a working rehearsal space, including participation in setup and breakdown of rehearsal elements. Maintain security clearance qualifications in order to access secure facilities where residential programs take place. 

Some things a teaching artist might do in a typical week. 

Program Delivery: 

  • Attend a weekly program meeting to discuss a young person’s challenges in writing their story. 
  • Develop a creative workshop that addresses a curricular need. 
  • Discuss the lyrical emotions of an original song with a composer. 
  • Help block a scene or teach a new piece of choreography. 
  • Run the group warm-up. 
  • Develop a creative expression to better understand a traumatic event in the community. 
  • Accompany the ensemble on tour to a community performance. 
  • Prepare youth for a post-show discussion with the community. 

Youth Mentoring: 

  • Talk with a young person about why health and wellness are important. 
  • Check-in with a young person about progression towards a personal goal. 
  • Lead a team celebration for a young person who graduates into a full-time job. 
  • Provide encouragement through a stressful program session. 
  • Empower youth to develop coping tactics for handling a personal situation. 
  • Convince a young person to take advantage of a case management workshop. 

What you’ll need to be a great candidate. 

  • Be level-headed, resilient, and patient in the face of challenges and/or volatile situations such as youth exhibiting trauma triggers. 
  •  Have experience working with those who have been traumatized and/or underserved. 
  • Be willing to work within a documented, trauma-informed writing methodology. 
  • Have teaching experience in a diverse setting.  
  • Have experience with collaborative teaching where leadership is shared 
  • Must have the characteristics of a motivational, empathic leader.  
  • Self-starter and team player with a positive mindset toward immediate responsibilities and urgent tasks. 
  • Be willing to respectfully accept and apply feedback. 
  • Be willing and capable of respectfully asking questions and seeking what you need as an individual to best support participants 
  • Able to accommodate a flexible, changing schedule.  
  • Have strong interest in advocating against the societal issues and oppressions prevalent in minority communities and the justice system. 
  • Have a strong sense of professional boundaries in relationships with youth participants.

Required availability.        

Average 20 hours per week. Days and times vary depending on the programs (See Below).  


Between $25 and $30/hour depending on experience. We pay for all assigned off-site prep time. That means compensation for script reading, curriculum planning and staff meetings, monthly artist trainings – anything you are required to do for each program session, performance, or professional development. 

Where you’ll work. 

Location and Required Hours:   

Storycatchers currently runs four programs. Our residential programs take place inside one of several juvenile justice facilities. Our post-release program takes place in Washington Park.  

Changing Voices: 

In January 2023 our Changing Voices post-release program moves into its new home on the third floor of a repurposed school building at 5410 S State. General hours for this program are Monday through Thursday from 10am to 5:30pm. Specific hours for each teaching artist are determined on an ongoing basis and are dependent on program needs.  

Temporary Lockdown Program: Cook County Juvenile Detention Center – 1100 S. Hamilton, Chicago, IL. 

Program Hours: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays 5:30-8:30 

Firewriters Program: Illinois Youth Center-Chicago, 136 N. Western, Chicago, IL. 

Program Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays 3:30-6:30 

Word Warriors Program: Illinois Youth Center-Warrenville, 30W200 Ferry Rd., Warrenville, IL. 

Program Hours: Mondays and Wednesdays 3:30-5:30 

About Storycatchers Theatre.  

Since 1990, Storycatchers Theatre has been amplifying and elevating the voices of youth impacted by the carceral state. Using an award-winning and transformational writing methodology, Storycatchers prepares these young people to be self-advocates and provides tools for them to envision and pursue productive futures of their own choosing.