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A Letter from Artistic Director Jennifer Green

Dear Piven Community,

For the past several seasons, Piven has created a thematic framework to guide and connect the wings of our institution: the training center and off-site theatre residencies, the performance lab and main stage productions, and the community partnerships and audience development initiatives. As we have explored this thematic model, we have found new ways theatre can act as a hub for relevant, multigenerational, and community-wide art-making and conversation.

Last season, we marked Piven’s 45th anniversary by highlighting the work of women in our community and curating a year-long conversation of art, community dialogue, and new works. The Women’s Voices Project was our effort to create new pathways for women to tell their vital and necessary stories. Over the course of our 2016–2017 season, we provided space and support for six world premieres written by women, nine works directed by women, and an entire story theatre festival dedicated to stories of women and girls. We added additional classes to our programs working with women in maximum security in Cook County Jail, and collaborated with Story Studio Chicago and Girl Meets Voice to run a storytelling program which brought the words of men and women storytellers to life.

As we look forward, our 2017¬–2018 season will explore the theme of “home.” Working in both traditional and nontraditional spaces, our teachers, directors, writers, and applied theatre artists will curate new works to tell the story of being in our small corner of America in 2018 and wondering if we are “home.” In order to truly reach all corners of Evanston, we are partnering with another venerable Evanston theatre organization: Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre. Together, Fleetwood-Jourdain and Piven will be able to provide theatre education to students of all ages and all incomes, and reach the entirety of our community. As our capstone performance, Fleetwood-Jourdain and Piven are collaborating on a world premiere play telling the stories of the African-American community in Evanston and their struggle to find a place to call home in the mid-20th century. Additionally, the Home Project will provide ample opportunity for artistic inspiration for our youth performance companies, our storytelling festival, and our season of eight Lab performances.

More importantly, the theme is both a personal and universal meditation to bring to our wider population. Using Spolin games and their rich tradition of ensemble-based practices, our teachers, adapters, and storytellers can bring these portable tools off-site and into community centers, schools, and the wider environment to inspire common ground and to give voice to the underrepresented. We are launching a partnership with the YWCA Evanston/Northshore to provide classes to those who have been forced to leave their homes due to domestic violence. We are launching a new program in partnership with CitiBank to provide veterans with new leadership training to transition from their military service to new work opportunities as civilians. In addition, Piven will continue its commitment to providing scholarships to young people through our new partnerships with the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Child and Family Center, kidsRank, and the Gibbs-Morrison Cultural Center. Last year Piven provided $50,000 worth of aid to its students, and this year we seek to exceed that expectation.

To quote alumna Sarah Ruhl:
“Don’t sit in your own room. Find the common room, which is called grace, which is called theater. This room is also our country, and we all belong here. Dig in your heels and stay.”

Throughout the 2017-2018, that is exactly what Piven Theatre Workshop intends to do. We hope you will join us.

Warmest regards,

Jennifer Green
Artistic Director

Click here to see all 12 shows in our upcoming season!

Tickets to our entire 2017-2018 season now available online and by calling 847 866 8049. Buy individual tickets online using the button below. Or, save money on your tickets with the Piven Flex Pass: 10 tickets to any combination of shows in our 1718 season for just $75! Call the box office for more info or to purchase your flex pass and save 25%-75% off your tickets today!

We look forward to seeing you in the coming year.

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