Chicago Humanities Festival Presents The American Revolution May 9 & 16–17

Stages_headerThe Chicago Humanities Festival (CHF) is pleased to present The American Revolution by Theater Unspeakable (TU), as part of the Stages, Sights & Sounds annual international performance festival for young audiences, with performances May 9, and 16–17 at Victory Gardens Biograph Theater (2433 N Lincoln Ave). The American Revolution explores the critical period of American history—all within the raised playing space of 21-square-feet. Tickets are $14 for adults and $7 for children (17 & under), and are on sale now at and via phone at 312-494-9509.

Theater Unspeakable revisits an epic period of American history in a mere 50 minutes. Confined to a 3-by-7 foot platform, seven actors recreate the American fight for independence, from Lexington to Yorktown. Combining tongue-in-cheek humor, fantastical feats of pantomime, and a dash of derring-do, The American Revolution displays the company’s signature brand of rowdy and imaginative theater.

“Theater Unspeakable is absolutely thrilled to be returning to Stages, Sights and Sounds!” said Marc Frost, founder of TU. “This will be our third appearance at this fantastic festival, and we are excited to perform once again for hundreds of Chicago area school kids and families. As a company that is doing a lot of touring, we are happy to be performing for some hometown audiences in Chicago, which is where we live and make our art.”

The American Revolution cast includes Brittany Anderson, Jeffery Freelon, Jr., Trey Hobbs, Kathleen Hoil, Quenna Lené, Aaron Rustebakke, and Vanessa S. Valliere. The artistic team includes Marc Frost (Director), Rachel K. Levy (Lighting Designer), Chloe Cappuccilli (Costume Designer), and Jacob Watson (Additional Set Designer).

Frost started Theater Unspeakable as a platform for creating new works of devised, physical theater. Based in Chicago, TU is dedicated to telling stories using the entire body, mind, heart, and soul. Working both indoors and outdoors, TU creates live theatrical performances combining the elements of movement, dance, mime, circus, and clown.

Since 2010, TU has created three original pieces, including: Superman 2050, Murder on the Midwest Express, and The American Revolution. TU has toured these pieces at venues across the US, including: Lincoln Center Education (NYC), McLean Community Center (DC), and in Chicago at Adventure Stage Chicago, The Second City, and the Chicago Cultural Center.

Event Information

The American Revolution

Theater Unspeakable | Chicago

Saturday, May 9 | 4 & 7 p.m.

Saturday, May 16 & Sunday, May 17 | 4 p.m.

Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, Začek McVay Theater

60 min | Ages 10+


Tickets to The American Revolution are on sale now! Tickets are $14 for adults, and $7 for children (17 & under) and can be purchased online at or by calling the CHF Box Office at 312-494-9509 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Additional 2015 Stages, Sights & Sounds Programs

May 7–20, 2015:

In addition to TU’s The American Revolution, this year’s festival will include productions from two international theater companies: The Secret Life of Suitcases by Ailie Cohen Puppet Maker (Scotland) and Ondin by L’Illusion, Théâtre de marionettes (Canada). Stages, Sights & Sounds will also offer hands-on experiences, including a writing workshop with 826CHI, a Lego stop-motion animation workshop, and a camera obscura workshop with the Liminal Camera. The Festival will also include a student reading with 826CHI and a film screening and discussion of The Homestretch by Kartemquin Films. Tickets are $14 for adults, and $7 for children (17 & under). A complete schedule can be found below.

Ondin | L’Illusion, Théâtre de marionettes | Canada

Saturday, May 16 | 11:30 a.m.

Sunday, May 17 | 10:30 a.m.

Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, Začek McVay Theater | 60 min | Ages 3+

L’Illusion delighted Stages audiences in 2013 with their popular adaptation of Hansel and Gretel. Now the masters of marionettes are back with a new show. Ondin is a dreamlike tale of a young fisherman who longs to know what’s at the bottom of the sea.

The Secret Life of Suitcases | Ailie Cohen Puppet Maker | Scotland

Saturday, May 16 | 10 a.m.

Saturday, May 16 | SOLD OUT

Sunday, May 17 | SOLD OUT

Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, Richard Christiansen Theater | 60 min | Ages 5+

Larry is an office worker who likes sorting, tidying, and generally putting things in order. But when a suitcase unexpectedly appears at his door, his routine world is turned upside down. Ailie Cohen’s latest puppet show is a funny and enchanting collaboration with the Unicorn Theatre, the UK’s leading theater for young audiences.


MANIFESTO! | 826CHI Writing Workshop

Saturday, May 9 | 10 a.m.

Victory Gardens Biograph Theater

60 min | Ages 10+

Tickets are free, but advance registration is required | Limited to 20 Attendees Per Workshop

Join 826CHI volunteers and interns for a one-hour workshop exploring the idea of manifestos. At the end of the workshop, participants will walk away with a manifesto they can believe in—and declare!

Lego Stop-Motion Animation Workshop

Saturday, May 9 | SOLD OUT

Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, Prince Charitable Trusts Event & Rehearsal Room

90 min | Ages 8+ | $7, Limited to 20 Attendees Per Workshop

This fun workshop offers hands-on experience with the basics of stop-motion animation so you can start making movies at home.

Camera Obscura Workshop with the Liminal Camera

Saturday, May 16 | 10 a.m. & 1 p.m.

DePaul Art Museum, 935 W Fullerton Ave

120 min | Ages 10+ | $7, Limited to 15 Attendees Per Workshop

Climb aboard the Liminal Camera and see what it’s like to be on the inside of a giant camera obscura on wheels! Then, check out the enormous photographs taken during the Camera’s visit to Chicago last fall. Finally, roll up your sleeves and spend time experimenting by making your very own cardboard box camera obscuras.

Readings and Screenings

Student Reading with 826CHI

Saturday, May 9 | 11:30 a.m.

Victory Gardens Biograph Theater

45 min | All Ages | Tickets are free, but advance registration is required

Cheer on young Chicago writers as they share their work. In partnership with 826CHI, students have composed various works on the theme of historical revolutions. Enjoy this showcase featuring the next generation of Chicago writing talent reading their work!

The Homestretch | Film Screening with Kartemquin Films

Saturday, May 9 | 1 p.m.

Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, Začek McVay Theater

75 min | Ages 12+ | $7 for children and adults

The Homestretch follows three homeless teens as they fight to stay in school, graduate, and build a future. Each of these smart, ambitious teenagers—Roque, Kasey, and Anthony—will surprise, inspire, and challenge audiences to rethink stereotypes of homelessness. The screening will be followed by a discussion with Kartemquin Films.

About the Chicago Humanities Festival

For 25 years, the Chicago Humanities Festival has celebrated the questions that shape and define us as individuals, communities, and cultures. For the curious at heart, CHF’s vibrant year-round programming and robust Fall Festival offer the opportunity to engage with some of the world’s most brilliant minds. Collaborating with leading arts, cultural, and educational organizations, it presents scholars, artists and architects, thinkers, theologians, and policy makers that change how we see the world, where we’re from, and where we’re going. CHF also presents the spring Stages, Sights & Sounds, Chicago’s only international performance festival for young audiences. Under the leadership of Executive Director Phillip Bahar and the newly appointed Marilynn Thoma Artistic Director Jonathan Elmer, CHF is one of Chicago’s most vital presenting organizations.

The Chicago Humanities Festival has grown from eight programs in one day at a single venue in 1990, to 170 programs year-round at more than 30 venues in and around Chicago. Over the past 25 years, CHF has put on more than 2,600 programs and performances, and presented more than 3,300 speakers and artists, including: 10 Nobel Prize winners, 70 Pulitzer Prize winners, 53 MacArthur Award recipients, 16 Tony Award winners, 10 Grammy Award winners, and seven Academy Award winners. Visit for more information.