Oracle Productions Names Vanessa Stalling as New Artistic Director

The Board of Directors, Staff and Company Members of Oracle Productions are thrilled to announce that Vanessa Stalling has been named Oracle’s new Artistic Director. Stalling has been involved with the Chicago theatre community for over a decade, and is the current Michael Maggio Directing Fellow at The Goodman Theatre. Most recently, she’s adapted and directed United Flight 232 from the book Flight 232, by Laurence Gonzales, which premiered with The House Theatre. She began work with Oracle as a guest director in 2015, directing a production of The America Play by Suzan-Lori Parks. Vanessa is also known for her work as a core artist of Redmoon where she enjoyed performing, directing, and serving as Associate Artistic Director. She is a Resident Artist at The University of Chicago.

Stalling notes, “The aim of Oracle’s Public Access Theatre is much more than a free ticket; it is to provide accessibility by dismantling cultural, structural, and physical barriers. One of my primary goals as Artistic Director of Oracle Productions will be to create theatrical programming that is inclusive and representative of all the people who make up our city.”

Additionally, Oracle makes an exciting move this month from their space at 3809 N. Broadway to 1802 W. Berenice in the North Center neighborhood. With performances in Oracle’s Lakeview space averaging 95% capacity -and a growing, diverse audience – Oracle needed room to expand. This move substantially furthers Oracle’s mission of accessibility with the increased audience capacity of a 99 seat theater; a larger, more accommodating lobby; close proximity to Metra and CTA stations; and increased options for parking. Oracle’s new home is in a wonderful neighborhood full of cultural experiences, including American Theatre Company, Martyrs’, and numerous locally owned restaurants and boutique shops.

Oracle’s first show in the new space will be the world premiere production of good friday by Kristiana Rae Colón, directed by Tara Branham. As a result of the larger space and additional seating, Oracle is able to offer more tickets to this previously sold-out show. Those tickets now are available online.Performances offering additional accessibility services will be announced in the coming weeks. Oracle is happy to partner with organizations such as Rape Victims Advocates (RVA) to ensure audiences have access to education and support. Other organizations are invited to reach out and arrange for reservations.

Playwright Nigel O’Hearn has decided to indefinitely postpone the premiere of The Kindling, which was slated to be Oracle’s final show in the 2016 season. Artistic Director Stalling will select another project for the end of the year, and be on the lookout for an announcement of Oracle’s 2017 Season – its seventh season of Public Access Theatre™!

Oracle is Chicago’s Award-Winning Free Theatre
Oracle’s mission is to provide everyone everywhere access to the arts. This year, Oracle’s acclaimed production of The Hairy Ape received three Jeff Awards for: Best Actor (Julian Parker), Best Sound Design (Jeffrey Levin), and Artistic Specialization (Breon Arzell). Also nominated were last season’s productions of The America Play (Travis Delgado for Best Actor) and This House Believes the American Dream is at the Expense of the American Negro (Zachary Baker-Salmon for New Adaptation). In addition, members of the League of Chicago Theatres awarded Oracle with the 2014 Broadway In Chicago Emerging Theater Award. This advocacy makes a bold statement about Chicago’s theatre community: they, too, believe everyone everywhere should have access to the arts.

Since Public Access Theatre™ launched in 2010, Oracle has provided free performances to over 30,000 people locally and internationally, worked with over 500 artists, and collaborated with over 60 different organizations. Oracle has seen exponential growth through Public Access Theatre.

In the past year, Oracle has partnered with organizations like the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Goldie’s Place and Rebuild Foundation’s Black Cinema House to bring important cultural events to new audiences around Chicago for free. Oracle extends a hearty “Thank You!” to all organizations that help Oracle connect with new communities and expand their mission.

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