Amores, I have an exciting announcement. As of July 1st, I will officially be the Artistic Director of Free Street Theatre. Whoa whoa whoa, some of you may be thinking. Are you quitting your teaching job? NEVER. I love teaching AND, in particular, I love teaching at DePaul. But I am excited to take on this new challenge, which allows me to take my passion for social justice and my passion for theatre/performance and put them together strategically, in way that is more expansive than anything I could accomplish on my own. So here’s the deal:
Free Street Theatre has been around since 1969. It started as one of those classic late-sixties/early-seventies projects founded with the idea to make theatre by, with, and for “the people.” And guess what? I’m totally on that. My favourite quote, the one that guides so much of my performance practice, is from the great Augusto Boal: “I think anyone can do theatre. Even actors. And theatre can be done anywhere. Even in a theatre.” I believe that performance, as a both a process and a product, belongs to everyone. And so, much of my career thus far has been spent working to build and/or support platforms that increase access to performance and performance processes.
That’s exactly what we’ll be doing at Free Street. Although the company is best known for its work with youth artists, in the coming year you’ll see us roll out a variety of new programs that are designed to include multi-generational participants in a wide-variety of spaces. In addition to our youth ensembles, we’ll be developing an ensemble process for people ages 20 and up; facilitating workshops and residencies around the city; offering free master classes; and hosting the In/House series, which presents the work of artists who are using performance to address questions of community, critical inquiry, and social justice.
I am both excited and nervous about this. It is a big commitment, but I believe in the challenge because I believe in Free Street! Jajajaja… that’s cheezy as all hell, I know. But just look at this awesome video from the 1970′s (narrated by Studs Terkel!) and tell me it doesn’t make you want to figure out what the 2013…2014…2020 version of all of this might be?