CHICAGO – Chicago Children’s Theatre, The Station, announced today the appointment of four emerging arts education professionals selected as the first participants in the company’s new Artistic Masters Leadership and Mentorship Program.
Launching this summer, the new professional development program will employ an elite corps of experienced, professional theater artists who have already demonstrated outstanding skills in all of theater’s practices, but are particularly talented in one primary arena.
CCT’s first Artistic Masters – Allison Grischow, Hannah Jablonski, Nicole Laurenzi and Jasmine Richman – will be put in leading positions during the upcoming Summer Camp sessions at Chicago Children’s Theatre, The Station, 100 S. Racine Avenue in Chicago’s West Loop.
“CCT Adventure Camps are not the common theater camp where well-worn Disney classics or popular Broadway titles are the source material,” explains Laurenzi, a professional actress, graduate of NYU’s TISCH School of the Arts, veteran of the national tour of Mamma Mia!, and CCT’s summer artistic director charged with overseeing direction and story development.
“Rather, we will entrust our campers to author their own, new and original stories that reflect their personalities, their time and their voice. That’s what makes our approach unique. CCT Adventure Campers will get to play an authentic role in devising the themes, shaping theatrical events and designing the spectacle components. They will dig bravely and deeply into powerful universal tales, and leave with a new confidence, greater sense of self, and new skills in imagination and creativity.”
Joining Laurenzi is Allison Grischow, a Chicago based actor, musician, aerialist and teaching artist with degrees Valparaiso University and continued training with the Moscow Art Theatre School. Grischow will concentrate on music education.
Hanna Jablonski, a Philadelphia native, a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a BFA in fine arts with an emphasis in art education, will oversee all craft activities.
Jasmine Richman, a recent transplant from Oklahoma where she graduated from Oklahoma City University and worked with the Oklahoma Children’s Theatre as an AmeriCorps representative, will coordinate Play Time and early education activities for The Station’s youngest summer campers, 3-1/2 to 5 years old.
Guided by Chicago Children’s Theatre Community Programs Artistic Director Frank Maugeri, Laurenzi, Grischow, Jablonski and Richman will run a five-week series of Adventure Camps for children ages 3-1/2 to 10. Camps have been carefully designed to grow children’s skills in acting, songwriting, choreography, collaborative story development, scene and prop construction. They’ll do so by creating original, devised work that reflects the children’s own personalities, attitudes and beliefs, working within the framework of legends, myths, folktales, fairytales and fables.
“Chicago Children’s Theatre continues to position ourselves as a national leader in theatrical arts education. Our new Artistic Masters program is an outgrowth of that work, to be a national model by employing professional makers as our lead teachers for our summer arts education programming,” said Maugeri. “Allison, Hannah, Nicole and Jasmine were chosen from candidates from across the country due to their professional experience and excellence on the stage, knowledge in the craft shop, investment in community making and commitment to the evolution of every child’s spirit.”
Throughout the summer, CCT’s new Artistic Masters will be challenged to collaborate, create and direct new works that emphasize originally authored scripts, the practice of STEAM, a core knowledge of the literary medium, an interest in culture, and a commitment to supporting young artists in performing new work on a real theatrical stage. The Artistic Masters will also mentor a supplemental corps of student apprentices from the country’s best colleges to broaden the camps diversity, caregiving and community building.
Under the combined direction of Laurenzi and Maugeri, in collaboration with Camp Director Jamie Abelson, the Artistic Masters have already mapped out five weeks of diverse, unique, musical, and educational Adventure Camps, each with a different theme, targeting kids ages 3-1/2 to 10. Each week’s camp culminates in a final performance for family and friends in The Station’s Pritzker Theatre and uses Chicago Children’s Theatre’s resources to include all of the design, lighting and costume elements from the company’s professional mainstage shows.’
Registration is open but spots are filling quickly for Adventure Camps at Chicago Children’s Theatre, The Station, 100 S. Racine Avenue in Chicago’s West Loop. Tuition is $475 per week. Camps typically run 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with aftercare available until 5:30 p.m. for an additional fee.