The ChiArts Production Department is excited to announce a full slate of shows for the 2022-23 season. The Creative Writing Conservatory kicked off the year with the release of ChiArts Writes: Volume 7 featuring original works of poetry and prose, and the School’s first Fall Festival featured the works of students across multiple conservatories. Later this season be sure to catch ChiArts’ own spin on the classic ballet The Nutcracker, an interpretation of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s play In the Red and Brown Water, the return of First Year, First Look featuring all conservatory first-year students, student-produced cultural showcases, and so much more!
ChiArts’ end-of-year production series CURTAIN CALL launches tomorrow Thursday, May 13. The graduating class of our Creative Writing Conservatory will premiere an original reading-within-a-play! This performance will spotlight both the seniors’ individual accomplishments as writers as well as their strength in collaboration.
The year is 2031. ChiArts’ 2021 graduating class of creative writers is celebrating their ten-year reunion by gathering across the globe via Google Meet. They have all seen incredible success in their chosen fields, and they’re meeting to read some of their best works to each other, to share their gifts and reminisce about the olden days. But as the reading begins, things start to go wrong. The writers get strange alerts on their phone that seem to suggest that — can it be?! — the world is ending. What will they do in these dire straits?
UPCOMING CURTAIN CALL SHOWS
Curtain Call, Dance: May 27, 2021
Senior Showcase Online Exhibition: May 28, 2021 (Curtain Call, Visual Arts)
Curtain Call, Instrumental: June 2, 2021
Curtain Call, Voice: June 3, 2021
Curtain Call, Musical Theatre: June 11, 2021
Creative Writing has been incredibly busy this past semester! ChiArts Literary and Art Magazine, Levitate Issue No. 3 is now available in five Chicago bookstores: Women & Children First, The Book Cellar, Roscoe Books, Volumes Bookcafé and Quimby’s. We hope you have a chance to visit and pick up a copy! As the scholar-artist editors share on their website, “The purpose of Levitate is to give voice to artists of various backgrounds, especially those who are aspiring, or new to the world of art and writing. We want to share experiences that will bring people together, celebrate the underrated, the overlooked, and artists who are excited and passionate about their work.”
Every year, our Creative Writing Conservatory continues to expand through new courses, faculty and innovative programming to engage the interests of every student at ChiArts. In addition to producing new Rapcademy evening showcases this year, the conservatory is thrilled to announce their first-ever writing festival, the Senior Lit Fest on Saturday, May 11. This all-day event consists of immersive presentations of original work throughout the ChiArts building by the 2019 graduating class of Creative Writers. More details to come!
On February 27th, the ChiArts’ Creative Writing and Theatre conservatories spent the afternoon with acclaimed playwright, screenwriter, Steppenwolf ensemble member, and actor, Tracy Letts. With a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award under his belt, Mr. Letts is also having a stand-out year on screen with roles in two 2018 Academy Award Best Picture nominees, Lady Bird and The Post. As Mr. Letts walked into the ChiArts Black Box Theatre, scholar-artists filled every seat, floor space, with little to no standing room available. Theatre Major and 2018 August Wilson Monologue winner, Nia Sarfo, welcomed Mr. Letts and conducted a memorable interview covering topics such as mastering nerves to the value of finding confidence as an artist. When asked for advice he’d give to young actors and writers, Mr. Letts reinforced the importance of creating your own opportunities; “Do it yourself. You shouldn’t ever feel like someone should give you permission to work.”
When you first meet Mr. Letts, his authenticity and curiosity captivates. Throughout the question and answer portion, scholar-artists seemed to appreciate his honest and humorous advice. In response to questions on winning the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Mr. Letts said “I think it changed people’s perception of me. I feel like people think I’m smarter than I am. But, I hope you all win one! It’s fun to have.” On a more serious note, Letts connected success with tenacity and patience. “Stick to it. Just keep doing it. Outlast them. It took me a long time to value what it means to be an artist in this city. To call yourself an artist is a very valuable thing.” After taking the time to personally interact with scholar-artists after the interview, Mr. Letts met with ChiArts’ improv troupe and joined in games that included conga lines, Shakespeare lines, and lots of laughter. After the improv games and to begin Mr. Lett’s tour of ChiArts, Nia Sarfo performed her winning monologue from the August Wilson Monologue Competition finals.
After the featured interview, Mr. Letts had an opportunity to engage with Theatre and Creative Writing classes. The tour ended with a visit to the Visual Arts Sophomore Show in ChiArts Gallery. With Creative Writer, Damayanti Wallace, and Nia Sarfo leading the tour, along with Executive & Artistic Director, José Ochoa, and ChiArts Board Members Jim and Kay Mabie, ChiArts was grateful for Mr. Letts’ time and support of arts education. When asked by scholar-artists on why he was interested in visiting ChiArts, Mr. Letts responded with “I look around at your faces and I see the future. That’s why I’m here.”
ChiArts would like to sincerely thank the private donor who provided this incredible learning opportunity for our scholar-artists and faculty.