December 30, 2016

Jeff Trainor, The Chicago Inclusion Project program coordinator, offers his favorite moments in theater this past year and his wishes for the next...

In No Particular Order:

1) 100 Hauntings / Free Street Theater

An incredible play about Ghosts, Mental illness, Chicago's City Structure, and the effect we have on each other.  

2) Octagon / Jackalope Theater Company

Damn, this show was incredible.  The rhythm and intensity alone was enough to draw an audience member but then the performances, writing, and direction were so strong, you couldn't help leaving the theater feeling charged.   

3) You On The Moors Now / The Hypocrites 

The Hypocrites brought together an incredible group of actor's and designers led by director Devon de Mayo.  The show was funny, strong, and moving.  Nice one everybody!

4) The Secretaries / About Face Theatre

My cheeks hurt from laughing during this play.  The soundtrack was spot on, the performances and direction were dynamite, and everyone was costumed by Mieka van der Ploeg, so you know they looked great even when they were covered in blood.  

5) The Arrow Series / The Neo Futurist

There were four parts to The Arrow Series this past year.  A bunch of different artists, writers, performers, dancers, and people were brought together for each Section.  For the most part, there was only 1 performance of each Arrow.   Do your best to catch one of The Arrows in 2017.

Honorable Mentions:

The Fly Honeys:  Moving, Sexy, Strong, and Confident.  The show reflected the performers.  

Not In Our House:  This wasn't a show, but it needs to be known that what Not In Our House did this year was remarkable.  They are a force in the theater community.   This group looks for monsters, drags them into the light, and gives support to anyone who needs or wants it.   

Ending words:

I want to quote The Jungle Book:

Now this is the law of the jungle , as old and as true as the sky, 

And the wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the wolf that shall break it must die. 

As the creeper that girdles the tree trunk, the law runneth forward and back; 

For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack. 

In 2017:    Together, we can make change, we can make art, and we can strengthen each other.

Take care,


February 23, 2016

 "What can I do?"  


That is a question I ask myself constantly when it comes to the lack of diversity that I see in theater, on screen, and in design.


"What can I do?"  There are things that I have done that I think are helpful.  Giving words of support, drawing attention towards shows and work that embrace diversity, and supporting the artists who are working on those shows through text, Kickstarter, and word of mouth.


"What can I do?"  I continue to see companies cast all white.  They have their reasons, but to me, it is a lost opportunity and the reasons, quite frankly, are lazy.


There is more that I can do.  The actions that I have taken before are helpful but not enough.  

"What can I do?"  I can say No.   I can say No to all white casts.  I can say No to auditioning for companies that continue to lack diversity within their season.  I can ask during an audition, "Are you going to be casting diversely within this show?"    If the answer is No, then I will say No.  


There are too many voices not being heard.  There are too many faces not being seen.  We can either choose to be a part of the problem or the solution.


"What can I do?"  I can choose to be a part of the solution through action.  



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