Victory Gardens Theater presents We Must Breathe: A Response from Chicago Playwrights and Poets Tonight at 7pm

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Victory Gardens Theater announces We Must Breathe: A Response from Chicago Playwrights and Poets, a special event gathering members of Chicago’s artistic community to share their views on discrimination, race and inequality and engage Chicagoans in a discussion about these social issues. We Must Breathe features performances from poets and playwrights directed by Victory Gardens’ Associate Artistic Producer Joanie Schultz, and a forum discussion on the performance topics, moderated by Congo Square Theatre’s Artistic Director Samuel Roberson. The event is on Thursday, December 18, 2014 at 7:00pm at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, and is free and open to the public. 

Due to overwhelming demand, Victory Gardens is no longer able to accept reservations. The event will be live-streamed via Howlround.tv and is available at www.livestream.com/newplay/. For more information: http://victorygardens.org/also-playing/we-must-breathe/. 

In recent months the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Oscar Grant, Tamir Rice, John Crawford, Sean Bell, Rekia Boyd, and countless others have brought to light ongoing national issues of race, discrimination and inequality. Droves of individuals across the country have taken to the streets participating in rallies, riots and die-ins. During this one-night-only event, members of the Chicago artistic community will address these topics through artistic expression.

“As a theater that passionately believes in civil discourse and social justice, Victory Gardens will provide a venue for Chicago playwrights, poets, actors and community members to respond to these recent events the best way they know how—through their art. We hope this gathering will allow our artists and our city to find better ways for a more equitable America,” says Artistic Director Chay Yew.

We Must Breathe begins with performance pieces from a diverse group of artists, including Victory Gardens Ensemble playwrights Marcus Gardley (The Gospel of Lovingkindness; Black Odyssey) and Tanya Saracho (El Nogalar; Mala Hierba), Nambi Kelley (Native Son), Andrew Hinderaker (Dirty; Suicide Incorporated), Kristiana Colón (Octagon; Lack on Lack), Calamity West (The Peacock, The Gacy Play), Damon Williams (Lack on Lack), Nikki Patin (Surviving the Mic), Javon Smith (Louder than a Bomb), Kevin Coval (Young Chicago Authors) and Malcolm London (Young Chicago Authors) and several others. Performances are directed by Joanie Schultz. Following the performances is an open forum, moderated by Samuel Roberson exploring the social issues expressed by the featured artists.

Admission to We Must Breathe is free and open to the public, and the reservation list is currently full. For more information on We Must Breathe, visit http://victorygardens.org/also-playing/we-must-breathe/ or call the Victory Gardens box office at 773-871-3000.

We Must Breathe will be livestreamed courtesy of Howlround.tv. Instructions to live-stream the performances and discussion can be found at www.victorygardens.org. During the moderated discussion, every third question will be selected from Twitter. To follow the event and participate in the conversation via social media, use the hashtag #wemustbreathe.

The Coalition in support of We Must Breathe includes: Mothers of Murdered Sons, Congo Square Theatre, Chicago Torture Justice Memorials, I Grow Chicago, J-DEF Peace Project, Imagine Englewood If…, Arte y Vida, Dr. Soyini Madison of Northwestern University, JRV MAJESTY Productions, Civil Rights Agenda, League of Chicago Theatres, Amnesty International, Dr. Noni Gaylord-Harden of Loyola University, Black Ensemble Theater, and Adventure Stage Chicago.

About Victory Gardens Theater

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Chay Yew and Managing Director Christopher Mannelli, 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 259-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, www.victorygardens.org. Follow up on Facebook at Facebook.com/victorygardens and Twitter @VictoryGardens.

Victory Gardens Theater receives major funding from Alphawood Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Allstate Insurance, Polk Bros. Foundation, Crown Family Philanthropies, The Leo S. Guthman Fund, The Fry Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The William and Orli Staley Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, and The REAM Foundation. Additional funding is provided by: Abbot Downing & Wells Fargo, Alliance Bernstein, Berghoff Catering, The Charles H. and Bertha L. Boothroyd Foundation, a City Arts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, The Conant Family Foundation, The Edgerton Foundation, Exelon, John R. Halligan Charitable Fund, Illinois Arts Council (a state agency),  Illinois Tool Works, Italian Village Restaurants, James S. Kemper Foundation, Mayer Brown LLP, The McVay Foundation, Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg, LLP, The Prince Charitable Trusts, The Seabury Foundation, Charles & M.R. Shapiro Foundation, Southwest Airlines, The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation and Wrightwood Neighbors Conservation  University, Black Ensemble Theater, and Adventure Stage Chicago.