Chicago – Goodman Theatre invites emerging theater writers and critics to apply for its new “boot camp” intensive experience—“Criticism in a Changing America”—designed to develop journalists’ understanding of how plays live in the wider context of contemporary issues. Held in conjunction with New Stages, the Goodman’s 14th annual festival of new plays, the training includes workshops, keynotes, panels, readings and staged productions. Participants experience the boot camp in pairs, to encourage discourse and divergent perspectives. Early career journalists from educational institutions and community media are invited to apply. “Criticism in a Changing America” is presented in a two-part series, October 5-7 and October 13-14 at Goodman Theatre (170 N. Dearborn). Applications are due September 25 and are now available at Goodmantheatre.org/criticsbootcamp; writing samples required. “Criticism in a Changing America” is funded through a grant from the Illinois Arts Council.
“Given the recent controversies surrounding theatrical productions in New York and here in Chicago, we strongly recognize the need for the empowerment of a diversity of critical voices,” said Walter Director of Education and Engagement Willa J. Taylor. “With the launch of our intensive, we hope to be part of the solution by providing an opportunity to discuss the nature of criticism in our changing society—and what is lost, or missing, for the arts and audiences when there is not a diversity of critical voices. ”
“Criticism in a Changing America” continues Goodman Theatre’s decade-long dedication to cultivating new critical voices—an effort begun with the Cindy Bandle Young Critics (CBYC) program, which is designed to introduce young women to the world of theater and field of journalism. The young critics attend bi-monthly Saturday workshops in the Alice Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement, where mentors assist help them develop a critical voice and hone professional journalism skills. CBYC participants also interview Goodman artists and staff members for feature stories and attend press opening nights. For more information, visit GoodmanTheatre.org/Engage.
Last week, Goodman Theatre announced the lineup of its 14th annual New Stages Festival—a celebration and discovery of new work by some of the country’s finest established and emerging playwrights. Over the course of three weeks (September 20 – October 8), the annual festival offers Chicago theatergoers a first look at eight new works, completely free-of-charge.
“The New Stages Festival is always exciting because the plays are grappling with issues in real time that impact our lives in real and visceral ways,” said Tanya Palmer, Goodman’s Director of New Play Development. “The Criticism In a Changing America initiative is a perfect way to bring critics and theater-makers together to think about the unique role theater can play in tackling the challenges we all face.”
New Stages 2017 features three developmental productions (fully staged and performed in repertory), including: Lottery Day by Ike Holter, a new work that weaves together characters from Holter’s acclaimed previous plays Exit Strategy, Sender and more; Continuity by Bess Wohl, a comic look at a female director’s attempts to bring climate change to the forefront of a Hollywood blockbuster; and Twilight Bowl by Rebecca Gilman, a tender look at two young women facing very different futures. Four staged readings appear during the final weekend of the festival (“Professionals Weekend”), including: Eden Prairie, 1971 by Mat Smart, the story of a young draft dodger returning home; How to Catch Creation by Christina Anderson, an ode to the art of creating; The Untranslatable Secrets of Nikki Corona by José Rivera, a supernatural tale of a woman’s attempt to communicate with her deceased twin; and We’re Only Alive for a Short Amount of Time by David Cale, a musical reflection of the playwright’s childhood. Plus a sneak peek at an immersive work-in-progress—POSTNATION conceived by Mikhael Tara Garver, an exploration of immigrants’ roles in the creation of the U.S. Postal Service.
Since New Stages’ 2004 inception, more than 70 plays have been produced as a developmental production or staged reading. Nearly half of these plays were authored by playwrights of color and/or authored by female playwrights. More than one-third of all plays developed in New Stages have received a world premiere production at the Goodman or another leading U.S. theater.
About Goodman Theatre
America’s “Best Regional Theatre” (Time magazine), Goodman Theatre is a premier not-for-profit organization distinguished by the excellence and scope of its artistic programming and civic engagement. Led by Artistic Director Robert Falls and Executive Director Roche Schulfer, the theater’s artistic priorities include new play development (more than 150 world or American premieres in the past three decades), large scale musical theater works and reimagined classics (celebrated revivals include Falls’ productions of Death of a Salesman and The Iceman Cometh ). Goodman Theatre artists and productions have earned two Pulitzer Prizes, 22 Tony Awards, over 160 Jeff Awards and many more accolades. In addition, the Goodman is the first theater in the world to produce all 10 plays in August Wilson’s “American Century Cycle” and its annual holiday tradition A Christmas Carol, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this season, has created a new generation of theatergoers. The Goodman also frequently serves as a production partner with local off-Loop theaters and national and international companies by providing financial support or physical space for a variety of artistic endeavors.
Committed to three core values of Quality, Diversity and Community, the Goodman proactively makes inclusion the fabric of the institution and develops education and community engagement programs that support arts as education. This practice uses the process of artistic creation to inspire and empower youth, lifelong learners and audiences to find and/or enhance their voices, stories and abilities. The Goodman’s Alice Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement is the home of such programming, most offered free of charge, and has vastly expanded the theater’s ability to touch the lives of Chicagoland citizens (with 85% of youth participants coming from underserved communities) since its 2016 opening.
Goodman Theatre was founded by William O. Goodman and his family in honor of their son Kenneth, an important figure in Chicago’s cultural renaissance in the early 1900s. The Goodman family’s legacy lives on through the continued work and dedication of Kenneth’s family, including Albert Ivar Goodman, who with his late mother, Edith-Marie Appleton, contributed the necessary funds for the creation of the new Goodman center in 2000.
Today, Goodman Theatre leadership also includes the distinguished members of the Artistic Collective: Brian Dennehy, Rebecca Gilman, Henry Godinez, Dael Orlandersmith, Steve Scott, Chuck Smith, Regina Taylor, Henry Wishcamper and Mary Zimmerman. David W. Fox, Jr. is Chair of Goodman Theatre’s Board of Trustees, Cynthia K. Scholl is Women’s Board President and Justin A. Kulovsek is President of the Scenemakers Board for young professionals.