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

Position Summary. 

The Teaching Artist (TA) is a mentor and artistic coach who works with justice-involved youth in the creation of original theatre, songs, stories and poetry. The TA reports to the Program Manager and supports the Artistic Lead with implementing creative programming during each session. The TA is responsible for coaching youth (ages 13-18) through the writing and performance process, conducting one-on-one conversations about the story, character development, motivations, and emotions of the piece.  The TA will participate in all rehearsals and performances. A successful Teaching Artist will have a performance theater background.  They must demonstrate collaborative skills and be a role model for others, especially in stressful situations. 

This is a part-time, hourly, position working an average of 8-12 hours per week on-site in a secure juvenile justice partner facility.  This individual must work successfully with all persons in the organization without regard to ethnicity, religion, age, national origin, physical challenge, sexual orientation, or gender.

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. 
  • Attend weekly team meetings.  
  • 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 training. 
  • 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. 

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. 

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.
  • Successful completion of a facility-required background check.

Required availability. 

Days and times vary depending on program; average of 8-12 hours per week depending on program. (See below.)  

Where you’ll work. 

Our residential programs take place inside one of several juvenile justice facilities:

  • 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
  • Temporary LockDown: Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, 1100 S Hamilton Ave, Chicago, IL. Program Hours: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays 5-6:30p


We pay for time spent in program and all assigned off-site prep time. That means compensation for script reading, curriculum planning and staff meetings.

Why work here. 

We believe our staff is the heart and soul of the organization. Our workplace culture is challenging, supportive, collaborative and mission driven. We take a genuine interest in career paths, work-life balance, and welcome contributing ideas from staff at all levels. Working at Storycatchers means working somewhere full of engaging, savvy, diverse people who care deeply about pushing our work forward. If you want to work in a progressive organization, where you can build something meaningful and have fun while doing it, we would love to hear from you. 

About Storycatchers Theatre.  

Storycatchers Theatre guides young people to transform their past experiences into expressive arts-based presentations while developing the courage and vision to become leaders and mentors. By creating support for youth within the criminal justice system, Storycatchers prepares them to change their lives and emerge successfully from court involvement. We dedicate all our resources to meeting the complex needs of adolescents and young adults who have become involved in the justice system. We have worked with young people in the Illinois juvenile justice system since 1990, developing and refining a nationally recognized, award-winning, trauma-informed creative youth development methodology. We conduct year-round residential programs in three separate juvenile justice facilities and offer a post-release performing arts jobs program, Changing Voices, to young people navigating reentry to Chicago.   

We are a collaborative organization that believes in committing to each other and the youth we serve. We implement a uniquely effective arts education model that helps marginalized young people develop the capacity to envision and pursue meaningful futures. We believe in second chances.