Rehearsals are underway for Steppenwolf for Young Adults’ (SYA) world premiere production of The Compass devised and directed by Michael Rohd. At the center of The Compassis a trial determining the fate of a teenager who uses a fictional app called “Compass” to make a life-altering decision. Exploring the intersection of technology and decision-making, every performance will end differently, depending on what the audience decides. The Compass runs February 24 – March 12, 2016 in the Downstairs Theatre; Tickets for public performances ($20; $15 with student ID) are available through Audience Services (1650 N Halsted) at 312-335-1650 or

The Compass tells the story of Marjan, a high school student on trial for a decision that an app, also called Compass, helped her to make. Through a series of flashbacks and real time scenes, the audience comes to learn the full story of Marjan’s decision, and ultimately works to determine the outcome of the trial at the center of the story. With this engaging world premiere, Steppenwolf for Young Adults navigates the question: When someone else, or something else, tells you what to do, what exactly are you responsible for?

Public performances ($20) are scheduled for Saturday, February 27 at 3pm and 7:30pm; Friday, March 4 at 7:30pm; Saturday, March 5 at 3pm; Friday, March 11 at 7:30pm; and Saturday, March 12 at 3pm. School performances are reserved for school groups only and take place Tuesday through Friday at 10am. Full schedule below. The Compass is recommended for ages 12 and up. The study guide created by SYA for The Compass is available online.

Over the past two seasons, SYA has hosted a series of free events, titled Project Compass, aimed at engaging multigenerational theater audiences in a dialogue about what goes into making a decision and how we are each guided by our own moral compass. The feedback from these events has played a major role in the structure and content of The Compass.

“While The Compass is a conversation about technology, decision-making and young people, at its heart is one young woman figuring out how to be true to herself and make her way in a complicated and often unsafe world,” shares Michael Rohd.

The cast of The Compass features ensemble member Tim Hopper with Bryan Bosque, Cheryl Lynn Bruce,Ariana Burks, Cruz Gonzalez-Cadel, Jasmin Cardenas, Melissa DuPrey, Krystel McNeil, Johnathan Nieves, Abby Pajakowski, Sean Parris, Emilio G. Robles, Alejandro Tey and Lindsey Barlag Thornton.

Michael Rohd is founding artistic director of Sojourn Theatre, a 15-year-old ensemble-based company. He is on faculty at Northwestern University and author of the widely translated book Theatre for Community, Conflict, and Dialogue. His work with Sojourn, other theaters, arts councils, municipal/regional government bodies and in non-arts sector settings around the nation focuses on social practice, civic practice and capacity-building projects through collaboratively designed arts-based events, engagement and participation strategies. He leads the Center for Performance and Civic Practice, where current projects include Chicago’s Civic Practice Lab and The Catalyst Initiative, a national program supported by The Andrew Mellon Foundation. He is currently the Doris Duke artist-in-residence at Chicago’s Lookingglass Theatre Company.

The production team for The Compass includes Courtney O’Neill (scenic design), Sully Ratke (costume design), JR Lederle (lighting design), Rick Sims (sound design), Joseph A. Burke (projection design) andDavid Masnato (content creator). Additional credits include Cassie Calderone (stage manager) and Jessamyn Fuller (casting).

The Scene, an event specifically for teens and curated by the Young Adult Council takes place Saturday, February 27 at 758 W North Ave. following the 7:30pm performance. For tickets or more information, call 312-335-1650 or contact Steppenwolf for Young Adults Education Assistant Jared Bellot

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is a participant in the Audience (R)Evolution Program, funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and administered by the Theatre Communications Group, the national organization for the professional not-for-profit American theatre.

Major foundation support for Steppenwolf for Young Adults is provided by Allstate Insurance Company, Alphawood Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation and United Airlines. Steppenwolf for Young Adults is also supported in part by contributions from The Crown Family, Sage Foundation, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Northern Trust Company, Field Foundation of Illinois, Dr. Scholl Foundation, the Helen Brach Foundation, ITW Foundation, Siragusa Foundation, Robert and Isabelle Bass Foundation, Inc. and Colonel Stanley R. McNeil Foundation; as well as the Steppenwolf Associates, a community of dynamic young professionals.

Steppenwolf for Young Adults is a citywide partner of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) School Partner Program.

Steppenwolf for Young Adults’ unique approach combines play production with educational components to enhance arts education for young audiences, as well as their teachers and families. SYA creates two full-scale professional productions each season specifically for teens. Working closely with the Chicago Public and metropolitan area schools and other community partners, SYA annually ensures access to the theater for more than 16,000 participants from Chicago’s diverse communities. The initiative also includes post-show discussions with artists; classroom residencies led by Steppenwolf-trained teaching artists in more than 30 classrooms in 14 public high schools; professional development workshops for educators; and the Young Adult Council, an innovative year-round after-school initiative that uniquely engages high school students in all areas of the theater’s operations.

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is America’s longest standing, most distinguished ensemble theater, producing nearly 700 performances and events annually in its three Chicago theater spaces—the 515-seat Downstairs Theatre, the 299-seat Upstairs Theatre and the 80-seat Garage Theatre. Formed in 1976 by a collective of actors, Steppenwolf has grown into an ensemble of 44 actors, writers and directors. Artistic programming at Steppenwolf includes a five-play Subscription Season, a two-play Steppenwolf for Young Adults season, First Look, a new play development series and Visiting Company engagements. While firmly grounded in the Chicago community, nearly 40 original Steppenwolf productions have enjoyed success both nationally and internationally, including Off-Broadway, Broadway, London, Sydney, Galway and Dublin. Steppenwolf has the distinction of being the only theater to receive the National Medal of Arts, in addition to numerous other prestigious honors including an Illinois Arts Legend Award and 12 Tony Awards. Anna D. Shapiro is the Artistic Director and David Schmitz is the Managing Director. Nora Daley is Chair of Steppenwolf’s Board of Trustees. For additional information, visit, and