Victory Gardens Theater Announces Participants in Inaugural Season of the Resident Theater Program

VGT_logo_bw_1Victory Gardens Theater announces its Resident Theater Program, to begin in the upcoming 2013-2014 Season.  The Program’s first participants will include Bailiwick Chicago, Rasaka Theatre Company, Sideshow Theater Company, and Teatro Vista.  Each Resident Theater will individually announce its 2013-14 season soon.

For the last 38 years, Victory Gardens has been an artistic home for Chicago’s diverse communities. By cultivating new voices (Ignition Festival, Playwright’s Ensemble) and developing public programming to reach new audiences (Dig Deeper, Access Project, Fresh Squeezed), the Theater aspires to foster dialogues with the city’s population through the work onstage.

Through the Resident Theater Program, Victory Gardens aims to be an incubator for existing storefront theatres in Chicago and further each company’s growth and stability.  Victory Gardens is seeking opportunities to collaborate with the resident companies on key projects while maintaining their respective missions and aesthetic identities. During their multi-year residency, Victory Gardens will give each company a physical home to nurture its audience base, develop its respective board, and fully realize the next phases of its own strategic plan.

Artistic Director Chay Yew states, “This is a natural extension of our theater’s founding mission. When we started talking to the leaders of these amazing companies, the electricity was palpable. These Resident Theaters have incredible offerings in store for the public.” He continued, “I want Victory Gardens to help existing storefront theatres grow and develop institutional stability. Our ultimate objective is to position Victory Gardens, with its location in the heart of Lincoln Park at the crossroads of a major transportation hub, as a premier cultural performing arts center. By gathering these diverse theaters under one roof, Chicago residents can more fully engage with all of the city’s communities throughout the year.”

Steve Miller, President of the Victory Gardens Board is enthusiastic about this new program, “This inaugural class of Resident Theaters brings unique aesthetics, and audiences to Victory Gardens, amplifying the mission of the theater and positioning it as a new cultural performing arts center. For our partners, their companies will be given greater exposure to new audiences. All of us benefit.”

About The Resident Theaters

Bailiwick Chicago

Bailiwick Chicago is a non-profit professional company with a mission to produce contemporary musicals and plays, reinvent classic musicals, and develop new work, while sharing a powerful and authentic theatrical experience. They celebrate and engage the community through diverse programming, artistic partnerships and outreach opportunities.

Bailiwick Chicago is a theatre company that was formed by a group of dedicated actors, directors, and production professionals after Bailiwick Repertory Theater closed its doors in September 2009. This group, called the “Collective,” is the artistic ensemble responsible for the artistic mission and vision of the company.  In its first 2 seasons, Bailiwick Chicago garnered 28 award nominations and received critical acclaim for its innovative Chicago productions.

 Rasaka Theatre Company: Illuminating the Global South Asian Experience

Rasaka Theatre Company is based in Chicago and is the Midwest’s first South Asian American theater. Its goal is to increase diversity among artists and audience by engaging and illuminating the South Asian Diaspora and the South Asian experience. Rasaka is particularly dedicated to providing a platform for the artistic expression of South Asian artists.

The essence of their vision is to tell stories that illuminate the South Asian culture. Their stories encompass projects inclusive of the South Asian global experience, both historical and contemporary.

Managing Director Kamal Hans says, “Rasaka is honored to be sharing this dynamic, diverse and rich new world created by Victory Gardens through its residency program. Collaborating with Victory Gardens and the other excellent theatre companies who are part of this new residency will allow Rasaka to share its vision and

cultural landscape at a higher level for audiences to engage and enjoy.”

Sideshow Theater Company

Familiar Stories. Unorthodox Methods. Perpetually Curious.

It is Sideshow Theatre Company’s mission to mine the collective unconscious of the world we live in with limitless curiosity, drawing inspiration from the familiar stories, memories and images we all share to spark new conversation and bring our audience together as adventurers in a communal experience of exploration.

Sideshow has been creating transcendent, sophisticated, critically-acclaimed and award-winning productions since its inception in 2007. Its first production, Dante Dies!! (and then things get weird), was originally mentioned jokingly as the strangest imaginable subject matter for a one-person show. But when the laughter died down, an intense curiosity remained, as well as one defining question: “What if?”  From that question a show, a company, and a mission were born.

Called “one of the most polished young theatre companies to emerge in Chicago in the last few years” by Time Out Chicago, Sideshow has been tackling incredibly challenging material, taking risks, and presenting work the likes of which Chicago sees nowhere else. “We are proud and honored to join this group of companies in launching Victory Gardens’ Resident Theater Program” says Artistic Director Jonathan L. Green.  “We are excited to bring Sideshow’s unique aesthetic and engaging vision to the diverse voice of the program.”


Teatro Vista

Teatro Vista is Chicago’s premier Equity Latino ensemble theater company. The company produces new work by new playwrights with a focus on sharing the stories of the multicultural Latino experience. Featuring a talented and diverse ensemble, Teatro Vista gives voice to artists of all backgrounds and shares those stories with a large, sophisticated audience.

Teatro Vista, Theatre with a View, is firmly committed to sharing and celebrating the riches of Latino culture with Chicago theater audiences and beyond. This commitment stems from the belief that there are as many similarities between us as there are differences, and perhaps the answer to breaking down the walls of prejudice and stereotypes lies in understanding these similarities and differences. Ultimately, it is through this “view” that Teatro Vista intends to bridge the gap between Latino and non-Latino cultures in Chicago.

Teatro Vista is the vanguard of Latino theater in the United States, a place where Latino and non-Latino artists can expressively flourish and excel to the highest level of theatrical professionalism. We are dedicated to sharing new work by new playwrights in cutting-edge productions and presenting classic plays featuring artists of color.

About Victory Gardens Theater

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Chay Yew, Victory Gardens is dedicated to artistic excellence while creating a vital, contemporary American Theater that is accessible and relevant to all people through productions of challenging new plays and musicals.  With Victory Gardens’ first new Artistic Director in 34 years, the company remains committed to the development, production and support of new plays that has been the mission of the theater since its founding, continuing the vision set forth by Dennis Zacek, Marcelle McVay, and the original founders of Victory Gardens Theater.

Victory Gardens Theater is a leader in developing and producing new theatre work and cultivating an inclusive Chicago theater community. Victory Gardens’ core strengths are nurturing and producing dynamic and inspiring new plays, reflecting the diversity of our city’s and nation’s culture through engaging diverse communities, and in partnership with Chicago Public Schools, bringing art and culture to our city’s active student population.

Since its founding in 1974, the company has produced more world premieres than any other Chicago theater, a commitment recognized nationally when Victory Gardens received the 2001 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, Victory Gardens Biograph Theater includes the Zacek-McVay Theater, a state-of-the-art 299-seat mainstage and the 109-seat studio theater on the second floor, named the Richard Christiansen Theater.

In 2012, Victory Gardens Victory Gardens appointed new Ensemble Playwrights Philip Dawkins, Marcus Gardley, Samuel D. Hunter and Tanya Saracho, for seven-year residencies. The Playwrights Ensemble Alumni includes Claudia Allen, Lonnie Carter, Steve Carter, Gloria Bond Clunie, Dean Corrin, Nilo Cruz, Joel Drake Johnson, John Logan, Nicholas Patricca, Douglas Post, James Sherman, Charles Smith, Jeffrey Sweet and Kristine Thatcher.

For more information about Victory Gardens,  Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @VictoryGardens.

Victory Gardens Theater receives major funding from Alphawood Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Boeing Company, Allstate Insurance, Polk Bros. Foundation, Crown Family Philanthropies, Leo S. Guthman Fund, National Endowment for the Arts and REAM Foundation. Additional funding is provided by: Illinois Arts Council (a state agency), Charles & M.R. Shapiro Foundation, Venturous Theater Fund, McVay Foundation, The Seabury Foundation, Wrightwood Neighbors Conservation Association, The Charles H. and Bertha L. Boothroyd Foundation, John R. Halligan Charitable Fund, Illinois Tool Works, and the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation.