January 15 - 27, 2019



ENCOUNTER is a series curated around equity, inclusion, and "Coming Together" with theater, visual art, music, video, dance, panels, and discussions presented in Collaboraction's Pentagon Theatre. 

ENCOUNTER is curated through a combination of open and invited submissions from throughout the city and will serve to engage the community on issues of equity and inclusion, and incite knowledge, discussion and action. After the January run at Collaboraction Studios in Wicker Park, select elements of Encounter will tour to Chicago’s Englewood and Hermosa neighborhoods in February with free events and Crucial Conversations

ENCOUNTER 2019 photos by Joel Maisonet


When the Snow Melted Down in Chicago

Written by Gregory Hardigan, Directed by Nik Whitcomb
Saturday, January 19 at 7pm

Friday, January 25 at 7pm

Sunday, January 27 at 3pm

Exploring the many identities and neighborhoods found in Chicago, this piece explores the triumphs and tribulations of Chicagoans, and the many things you find once the snow melts.

Nice Town, Normal People
by Rhizome Theatre Company
Devised by Ashlin Hatch and Kyle Berlin, Music composed by Makulumy Alexander Hills
Wednesday, January 16 at 7:30 pm

Friday, January 18 at 7 pm

Sunday, January 20 at 3pm

Nice Town, Normal People is a dynamic documentary theater piece that explores the idea of Home—what it is, what it once was, and what it might become— by inviting the voices of Chicago community members to come into conversation with voices from one small town in rural California.

Soul in Suburbia
Written by Dana N. Anderson, Directed by Shawntia Grant
Thursday, January 17 at 7:30pm

Thursday, January 24 at 7:30pm

Saturday, January 26 at 9:30pm

When unrealistic expectations and workplace micro aggressions trigger her hot-headed ways, Dana, a black single mom, lands in anger management as a requirement of keeping her survival job and cushy lifestyle. Anderson, recipient of Collaboraction’s 2018 Artist Award, explores the exacerbating social aspects of being a black woman raised and living in Chicagoland.





Folded Map & A Great Day (in the Neighborhood) 

Please email us to be added to the wait list of any SOLD OUT performance! 
Friday, January 18 at 9:30pm

Wednesday, January 23 at 7:30pm 

Saturday, January 26 at 4pm - FOLDED MAP ONLY

Saturday, January 26 at 7pm

Folded Map
In collaboration with Tonika Lewis Johnson, Co-Directed and Devised by Brighid O'Shaughnessy and Penelope Walker, with additional devisers Terry Guest, Brit Cooper Robinson, Melissa Rohman and Fred Wellisch

Based on the acclaimed Folded Map Project by Tonika Lewis Johnson, Chicago Magazine 2017 “Chicagoan of the Year,” this production in progress explores the impact of 200 years of segregation in Chicago by highlighting Johnson’s personal journey to becoming both an artist and activist as well as the stories of her first Folded Map “twins” - residents from North Side communities like Rogers Park and their geographic counterparts in Englewood. As luck would have it, Chicago theater artist Brighid O’Shaughnessy turned out to be one of Johnson’s North side twins, which spurred this live stage adaptation. Don’t miss this chance to see several stories of the Folded Map twins presented
live, on stage, and examine as a community what can be done to bridge the divide in Chicago.

A Great Day (in the Neighborhood)
by Marvin Tate, Directed by Sam Lewis

A musical journey through the all too real and fanciful mind of performance poet, lyricist, author, visual artist and educator, Lawndale’s own Marvin Tate, backed by a live band.



Forecast & Open Questions
Tuesday, January 15 at 7:30pm

Sunday, January 20 at 5:30pm

Friday, January 25 at 9:30pm

Devised by For Youth Inquiry (FYI) Performance Company at ICAH

A young black woman discovers she is pregnant. Slipping into sleep that night, she enters a dream world filled with racialized myths, prophecies and monsters that confront her with the decision of whether or not to parent in this world.

Open Questions
Devised by Dr. Laura Biagi with shadow puppetry by Karly Gesine Bergmann

Using sound healing as its foundation, Open Questions is an interactive audience piece about the power of sound to move people, heal hurt and isolation.







The Shorts

Saturday, January 19 at 9:30pm

Tuesday, January 22 at 7:30pm

Sunday, January 27 at 5:30pm


Of Quiet Birds
Written by Loretta Hawkins, directed by Dionne Hawkins

This scene is a selection from the full-length production, Of Quiet Birds. This drama explores the various kinds of conflict that arose within an African-American family living in the South at the dawn of the Civil Rights Movement. Hawkins explores the ideal of all ethnicities coming together, from all corners of the Earth, to demand human rights for all people.


Picnic Summit
Devised by Sami Ismat

Through a dark and absurd family picnic, this piece explores how the polarization of politics among the people in charge can have a devastating effect on those who rely on them. It is devised by Sami Ismat, a Syrian refugee.


Tato - First Roots in Chicago
Devised by Sophia Pietrkowski

Born and bred in Chicago, Pietrkowski explores her first roots to the city. As a third generation storyteller, she retells her grandfather's holocaust testimony and the new beginnings that brought her family to Chicago. This piece asks what does it mean to seek refuge and to feel safe in a community we relate to?

16 Shots
Written by Alanisse Pineda, a member of {she crew}, Directed by Jessica London-Shields

We don't see people as they are, but as we are. 16 Shots is a meditation on Laquan McDonald, staged using an abstract Greek chorus style in consideration of the daily micro aggressions young people of color navigate, living within the backdrop of police violence.

Written by B.B. Browne

Using inter-generational story circles and interviews with Chicago residents, artist B.B. Browne calls attention to the resurgence of efforts to protect Black women and girls who have gone missing from the South side of Chicago. Join this artistic response to the ongoing crisis that centers the voices of the community.

Fig Leaf
Written by Kay Thompson

Directed by Dominique Chestand

Fig Leaf unwraps the layers of one's identity as a queer couple struggles to manage grief after losing a relative to Chicago gun violence.

I Am My Own Story. We Are The Play.

by Storycatchers Theatre

Storycatchers' Apprentices perform excerpts from LOST IN NEVERLAND,  a musical written and performed by incarcerated youth at the Illinois Youth Center-Warrenville. It tells the story of love and loss on the South side of Chicago. This Short Works presentation marks the public debut of the company’s new Apprentice Company: young people who have graduated from Storycatchers’ programs to pursue a career pathway to become teaching artists with the company.  




7 works of 7 minutes or less

Soul in Suburbia (Dana Anderson) photo b