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PRODUCTION HISTORY

PAST PRODUCTIONS

Collaboraction's Chicago theatre for social justice has been producing performances since 2013. See a list of our past performances for social change here.

MOONSET SUNRISE

ORIGINAL RUN DATES: TBA

SYNOPSIS: A theatre production on Truth, Healing, and Reconciliation featuring music and ritual. Coming in May/June 2022.

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TRIAL IN THE DELTA: THE MURDER OF EMMETT TILL

ORIGINAL RUN DATES: February 26-27, 2022

SYNOPSIS: An adaptation of the trial transcript of the State of Mississippi vs. Milam and Bryant, the men who were found not guilty of murdering Emmett Till. Adapted by company members G. Riley Mills and Willie “Prince Roc” Round and produced by Collaboraction and the DuSable Museum of African American History.

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OH COLONIZERS

ORIGINAL RUN DATES: January 6, 2022

SYNOPSIS: A pointed and satirical web series pilot on the history and connection between post-Civil War America and the Capitol Insurrection. Created by Carla Stillwell and produced by Collaboraction. In the pilot episode, Chicago’s self-proclaimed Cultural Historian of Black Joy and Resident Philosopher, remixes a Masterpiece Theatre format with a TV reality dating show to expose the folly of “Honkey Kong 2021.” With her signature humor and insight, Stillwell unpacks the ways white people throughout America’s history have spread "oppression mayonnaise" over countless Black and Brown people, focusing particularly on the period after the Civil War when America had a choice between emancipation, reconciliation, and capitalism. The 20-minute show is punctuated with several hilarious mock TV ads peddling white people’s favorite false products and services, like Audacity Energy Drink and Confederate Cellular.

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ENCOUNTER ENGLEWOOD

ORIGINAL RUN DATES: December 6-10, 2021

SYNOPSIS: Six Englewood artists and activists – Chelle Rashad of Imagine Englewood If, jazz legend Ernest Dawkins, Joy Smith of Joyful Soundz, principal of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Academy of Social Justice Jasmine Thurmond, and Lyana Funches and Pha’tal of Think Outside the Block – get their long overdue close-up in Collaboraction’s new documentary showcasing the life and vibrancy of Englewood. Funded in part by a grant from the Arts Work Fund.

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PEACEBOOK: GIFTS OF PEACE

ORIGINAL RUN DATES: September 25 & October 2, 2021

SYNOPSIS: The 6th annual Peacebook, featuring theatre, dance, and spoken word about Peace from artists throughout Chicago and beyond.

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THE LIGHT 2021

ORIGINAL RUN DATES: August 19-21, 2021

SYNOPSIS: The Light 2021 focused on outstanding youth artists and change-makers of exceptional message, skill and craft who are eager to be immersed in a deep artistic and scholarly mentorship as part of a year-long, paid creation and performance mentorship program.

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ORANGE ROPE

ORIGINAL RUN DATES: March 19, 2021

SYNOPSIS:

Collaboraction presents a Zoom reading of the new play Orange Rope, or A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Capitol by Carla Stillwell.

 

When Karen and Chad spot Chad's brother Craig on live TV at the insurrection of the Capitol Building, they must face their own complicity in the history of racism in the United States. Orange Rope explores America’s history with colonialism, capitalism, and the systematic racism that deprives our democracy of oxygen.

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BECOMING

ORIGINAL RUN DATES: May 4, 2021-Present

SYNOPSIS: BECOMING is a virtual monthly program that provides space and fellowship for people looking to unpack bias and White privilege, unlearn inherent White Supremacy, and engage in meaningful dialogue around systems of oppression fellow members of the community, to unite in the fight against racism, patriarchy and other oppressive systems.

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PEACEBOOK 2020

ORIGINAL RUN DATES: October 17-November 14, 2020

SYNOPSIS: The 5th annual Peacebook, featuring ten world premiere videos, split into two distinct programs, Essential Perspectives, and Visions of Peace. It includes 10 Chicago artists/activists premiering short new works about peace in Chicago

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THE LIGHT: A YOUTH THEATRE FESTIVAL

ORIGINAL RUN DATES: August 22, 2020

SYNOPSIS: The 2nd Annual Youth Theatre Festival adapted to video with 10 pieces in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the global Black Lives Matter movement.

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THE PRODIGY’S WORKSHOP

ORIGINAL RUN DATES: April 21, 2020-September 8, 2020

SYNOPSIS: The Prodigy’s Workshop is a free interactive online class in creative writing for performance. It’s a creative space for young people to connect using performing arts to learn, create, develop and share original content led by teaching artist and former Director of Youth Programming Luis Crespo. Students are led through guided exercises, explorations and activities to create content that amplifies their voice and seeks to incite social change. Generated material will be explored as a living project that continually gets developed for showcase opportunities

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CRUCIAL CONNECTIONS

ORIGINAL RUN DATES: April 28, 2020-Present

SYNOPSIS: Crucial Connections is a highly interactive monthly online show that is "hyper-local thinking global", radically inclusive and provocative, yet entertaining while reflecting on life in a post-Coronavirus world and the reshaping of the human experience.

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MLK SPEECH SLAM

ORIGINAL RUN DATES: January 18th, 2020

SYNOPSIS: Collaboraction, Chicago's Theatre For Social Change hosts the new MLK Speech Slam competition on January 18, 2020 as a part of the 3rd annual Encounter Series. Inspired performers will breathe life into the speeches and spirit of Dr. King with verbatim oration or creative interpretations of this great civil rights visionary.

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ENCOUNTER 2020

ORIGINAL RUN DATES: January 14-25, 2020

SYNOPSIS: An annual performance series curated around diversity, equity and inclusion, Encounter is a series comprised of mid-length works (20 minutes or longer) of theater, visual art, music, video, dance and performance.

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ALL I WANT FOR CHICAGO IS (youth show)

ORIGINAL RUN DATES: Dec. 7th - 15th, 2019

SYNOPSIS:  A Collaboraction youth production, All I Want for Chicago Is... is created, written, and performed by the teens in Collaboraction’s Youth Theatre Program.

 

When a group of teenagers seek to escape a drab and drama-filled holiday break at home, they decide to gather together on Christmas Eve at Collaboraction to share their hopes, fears, and dreams as young people of Chicago. Throughout the performance, a series of magical events occur using theatre, puppetry, music, and poetry while exploring topics of gun violence, identity, discrimination, mental illness, and equity.

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BOOK OF PEACE

ORIGINAL RUN DATES: October 4-5, 2019

SYNOPSIS: Book of Peace at Cloud Gate Plaza is a part of the 2019 Year of Chicago Theatre, presented by the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and the League of Chicago Theatres. Book of Peace will include highlights from Collaboraction’s last five years of peace-focused work including theater, dance and spoken word.

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PEACEBOOK 2019

ORIGINAL RUN DATES: August 15-September 28, 2019

SYNOPSIS: Peacebook is Collaboraction's annual performance festival of short works about peace and peacemaking in Chicago. In 2019, Collaboraction will produce 21 world premiere short works of 7 minutes or less as part of the festival. Peacebook is curated through a combination of open and invited submissions from emerging and established artists throughout the city.

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THE LIGHT: A YOUTH THEATRE FESTIVAL

ORIGINAL RUN DATES: July 11-14, 2019

SYNOPSIS: 16 world premiere short pieces of theater, dance, music and spoken word created by Chicago youth 21 and under - and you'll see what's really on kids' minds these days, growing up in Chicago. The works are divided into two programs of eight works titled Radiance and Brilliance. Each program is a vital and varied mix of youth-devised theater, dance, music and spoken word. Topics range from colorism, assimilation and growing up in an age of instant gratification, to violence, racism, young love and a celebration of life on Chicago's south side.

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LA HAVANA MADRID
(co-produced with Teatro Vista)

ORIGINAL RUN DATES: May 11-June 23, 2019

SYNOPSIS: Immerse yourself in La Havana Madrid, the music-filled 1960s Caribbean nightclub that held stories of romance, gentrification and new beginnings of Chicago's Latinx community. The vibrant, musical venue drew throngs of recently-arrived Latinxs to the city's north side with the pulsing sounds of the decade - from mambo to salsa - and became a cultural hub where these new Chicagoans flocked to celebrate and remember. Filled with live music and inspired by real life stories, this intimate reimagining of the lively 60's music club will capture your heart and leave you mesmerized.

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ENCOUNTER 2019

ORIGINAL RUN DATES: Original Run Dates: Jan 15-27, 2019

SYNOPSIS: The 2nd Annual Encounter, a two-week winter festival or theater, dance and spoken word curated around the themes of equity and inclusion. With six programs: three new full-length works, two programs of mid-length pieces, and one short-works collection, each devised and performed by Chicago artists working in a variety of media, all intended to incite knowledge, discussion and action.

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PEACEBOOK 2018

ORIGINAL RUN DATES: September 7-22, 2018

SYNOPSIS: For its third-annual PEACEBOOK Collaboraction is embracing the concept and symbol of a Chicago home that has endured time, seen people come and go and witnessed change on its street and in its city. This home, “The House of Power, Love and Hope,” an original painting by Collaboraction set designer John Wilson, is inspired by real homes in Englewood. The 24 world premiere works that comprise PEACEBOOK are divided into three “chapters,” each featuring eight diverse works of seven minutes or less. Each chapter is assigned to one of three Chicago Park District locations in Chicago’s Austin, Hermosa and Englewood communities.

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A BLUE ISLAND IN THE RED SEA

ORIGINAL RUN DATES: April 12th - May 20th, 2018

SYNOPSIS: An original devised piece, A BLUE ISLAND IN THE RED SEA unearths racism's impact on Chicago throughout the city's history and examines the effect of racism on individual residents of Chicago, including the artists on stage. BLUE ISLAND asks questions about Chicago's history and the need to utilize truth as a means of bringing the community together to face our biggest issues of segregation and economic disparity.

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ENCOUNTER 2018

ORIGINAL RUN DATES: February 3rd - February 24th, 2018

SYNOPSIS: Selected works of theater, visual art, music, video, dance and more that all debuted in January at Encounter to four Chicago Park District locations in different parts of the city for free performances every Saturday in February as part of the Chicago Park District’s Night Out In The Parks series. Encounter is a winter festival curated around the theme of Racism and Racial Healing in Chicago.

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PEACEBOOK 2017

ORIGINAL RUN DATES: August 26-November 4th, 2017

SYNOPSIS: 2nd Annual PEACEBOOK Festival with 21 world-premiere pieces of theater, dance and spoken word about Peace in Chicago cultivated from submissions from throughout the city. The festival opened at The Goodman and toured in Hamilton Park, Kelvyn Park, La Follette Park.

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PEACEBOOK 2016

ORIGINAL RUN DATES: August 12-27, 2016

SYNOPSIS: A new collaborative city-wide festival of theatre, dance, music, visual art and spoken word – all focused on cultivating peace in Chicago. Performances were held in Hamilton Park, LaFollette Park, and Clarendon Park.

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ORIGINAL RUN DATES: February 16 – March 19, 2017

SYNOPSIS: The lead artists behind Spanx You Very Much, a huge hit at Collaboraction’s 15th SKETCHBOOK Festival earlier this year, are being given a bigger canvas to explore the role of women in theatre. Inspired by conversations sparked by Erin Pike and Courtney Meaker's that'swhatshesaid, Bryant and Vannon spearhead a new devised work that advocates and agitates​​ for gender parity for women writers, directors, designers and performers on both stage and screen. 

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THE MARS ASSIGNMENT

ORIGINAL RUN DATES: October 20 - November 20, 2016

SYNOPSIS: Today, a young girl presents a school project. An ad executive is pitching a new client. A stand-up comedian prepares for a tour. Everyone is feeling it, but no one wants to talk about it. Ronan Marra, former Artistic Director of Signal Theatre, teamed with noted Chicago theater artist and Collaboraction Company Member Elsa Hiltner to create a theatrical exploration of depression and its many forms. Drawn from research and interviews, The Mars Assignment shined a light on the presence of depression in contemporary society and the stigmas that continue to keep our friends and loved ones from seeking treatment for their mental illness.

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CONNECTED

ORIGINAL RUN DATES: April 21-May 29 2016

SYNOPSIS: CONNECTED is a piece of immersive theatre led by Artistic Director Anthony Moseley. It is the story of humankind and our Solar System as told by the 9 planets, starting with the Big Bang and stopping at numerous historical and future campfires along the way to explore our relationship to technology and each other and how a special tribe used its connection to one another to survive it all. Collaboraction takes on the critical social issue of our relationship to technology and whether we allow it to bring us together or isolate us further. The show is part historical docu-drama part science fiction as it flies through the history of space-time.

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CRIME SCENE: BREATHE LIFE

ORIGINAL RUN DATES: Original Run Dates: August 6th-28th 2015

SYNOPSIS: Breathe Life viscerally re-examines Chicago’s history of violent crime, while sharing five intimate portraits of real Chicagoans who have used their first-hand experiences with violence to become peacemakers and be a positive impact in the lives of others. Ultimately, Crime Scene: Breathe Life asks Chicago residents “what do you see?” when it comes to the city’s current crime epidemic, and challenges Chicagoans to discover new ways to work together to create lasting change.

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THE FINAL SKETCHBOOK FESTIVAL

ORIGINAL RUN DATES: Jan. 14th-24th, 2015

SYNOPSIS: The final installment of Collaboraction’s annual festival of world premiere plays and devised work. It features more than 150 artists in a menu of carefully selected world premiere plays, ranging from 3-minute shorts to full-length works. 16 pieces split into two programs: Life & Death.

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FORGOTTEN FUTURE: THE REMOUNT

ORIGINAL RUN DATES: February 12th - March 22nd, 2015

SYNOPSIS: Inspired by the dysfunction of the American education system, Forgotten Future: The Education Project explores three students' unique perspectives of the Chicago school system and how it both serves and is failing them and their potential future. Constructed from extensive research, the play tackles the key issues of inequities, cultural barriers and testing. The result is a unique, immersive theater piece designed to entertain and inform, as well as motivate dialogue.

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CRIME SCENE: THE NEXT CHAPTER

ORIGINAL RUN DATES: Original Run Dates: May 21st - June 21st, 2015

SYNOPSIS: Crime Scene: The Next Chapter is the world premiere,docudrama sequel to the show that started it all, Crime Scene: A Chicago Anthology.  The original Crime Scene premiered in the winter of 2013 and has spun off two summer tours, a Teen Ensemble, a stand alone performance at Northwestern School of Law for Martin Luther King Dream Week, and a brand new Monthly Series called Let Hope Rise that bounces between three Chicago Parks. It also inspired us to change our mission and be a company that creates original, devised work based on critical social issues, using theatre as a way to spark a conversation and incite change.

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FORGOTTEN FUTURE: THE EDUCATION PROJECT

ORIGINAL RUN DATES: September 18th - October 26th, 2014

SYNOPSIS: Inspired by the dysfunction of the American education system, Forgotten Future: The Education Project explores three students' unique perspectives of the Chicago school system and how it both serves and is failing them and their potential future. Constructed from extensive research, the play tackles the key issues of inequities, cultural barriers and testing. The result is a unique, immersive theater piece designed to entertain and inform, as well as motivate dialogue.

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SKETCHBOOK 2049

ORIGINAL RUN DATES: May 22nd - June 15, 2014

SYNOPSIS: The annual SKETCHBOOK Festival is Collaboraction at its best: breaking down the walls that divide theater, music, visual art, video, and the internet. Selected from hundreds of submissions, SKETCHBOOK once again brings together the collective talents of more than 150 pioneering directors, designers, actors, musicians and artists from Chicago and around the country for a jaw-dropping evening of creativity, experimentation, and celebration. Sketchbook 2049, guest curated by Ike Holter and directed by Anthony Moseley, will transport audiences to 2049, a post-apocalyptic world of regeneration and birth, where 17 shows from the past are being staged to remember the way we were before the Revolution.

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THIS IS NOT A CURE FOR CANCER

ORIGINAL RUN DATES: February 20 - March 30, 2014

SYNOPSIS: Collaboraction Artistic Director, Anthony Moseley, uses his personal experience with his father's battle with cancer as a theatrical lens for a meaning of life dramedy that takes a seriously funny look at cancer, the way we live, and the value of life. This is Not a Cure for Cancer, co-written and featuring Moseley playing himself, promises to attack cancer, its treatment, and the way we live with the same provocative, docudrama style as Moseley's Crime Scene: A Chicago Anthology.

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CRIME SCENE: LET HOPE RISE

ORIGINAL RUN DATES: July 12th - August 24th, 2013

SYNOPSIS: Crime Scene Chicago: Let Hope Rise is an updated theatrical reaction to Chicago’s history of violent crime and a call to discover what it might take to CREATE LASTING CHANGE IN OUR CITY. The show couples nonfiction source material such as interviews, articles, and online comments with re-enactments of true Chicago crimes to raise critical questions surrounding segregation, poverty, the news media, popular culture, and our numbness to it all.

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SKETCHBOOK DESTINATION

ORIGINAL RUN DATES: June 5th - 30th, 2013

SYNOPSIS: For the past 12 years, Collaboraction has produced the annual SKETCHBOOK festival, a whirlwind showcase of world premiere theater pieces, each ranging from seven to 50 minutes in length and featuring a combination of established playwrights and up-and-coming new talents.

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CRIME SCENE: A CHICAGO ANTHOLOGY

ORIGINAL RUN DATES: February 18th - April 7th, 2013

SYNOPSIS: A world premiere theatrical experience examining Chicago’s history of violent crime and what it might take to create lasting change. Conceived and directed by Anthony Moseley, the play couples nonfiction source material such as interviews, articles, and online comments with three true Chicago crimes to raise critical questions surrounding segregation, poverty, the news media, popular culture, and our numbness to it all.

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