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A Letter from Artistic Director Jennifer Green

Dear Piven Community,

This year, we mark our 45th Anniversary and, through our work, will be honoring our history and celebrating the legacy of our founder, Joyce Piven. As master teachers, directors, adapters, writers, and devisors, women have long been at the forefront of creative conversations at the Workshop, and so we look forward to celebrating this 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.

In a time when important voices, such as the voices of women, are overwhelmingly underrepresented in the arts, we are expanding our work to include a full year of artistic programming celebrating our community and their diverse contributions to the wider artistic community. As part of this 45th year, we are increasing our commitment to provide more opportunity, space, and time for our community of artists to extend their creative reach.

Our main stage season begins with our acclaimed youth companies bringing two festivals of devised new works to the stage. This season, these adaptations meditate on the personal journeys of girls and the profound transformations of youth. Directed and adapted by eight women artists, these two ambitious productions serve as yearly examples of the Workshop’s dedication to challenging young artists and exploring new archetypes that embrace the changing world around us.

In March and April, our annual month-long improvisation series will include storytelling nights where novice and experienced practitioners can explore solo performance and personal story on the Piven stage. It is a month of multi-generation performances, bringing all wings of our community together to tell a new tale, speak the truth, and embrace the audience around us.

These kinds of multi-generational conversations are especially resonant and relevant this season. The centerpiece of our work in the upcoming year is the professional premiere of a new piece adapted and directed by master teacher and writer Susan Applebaum, Wise Women and Witches. Having been a member of the Piven community for decades, former director of Piven’s Young People’s Company, and long-time instructor at Loyola University, she brings her keen eye and great talents to the Piven stage exploring folkloric and fairytale traditions.

In addition to our main stage season, we are expanding our Lab@Piven to include a full year of programming. Through the Lab, we are working to provide a home and voice for our students, teachers, visiting artists, and alums to collaborate, create, and share the many ways that Piven has influenced their work. Using the cornerstone of story, we invite our community back home to tell new tales while honoring the legacy that inspired it. Overwhelmingly, women answered the call and over the course of the year, we are developing and devising a number of new works directed by women, adapted from works by women, and celebrating women artistry and women leadership.

As we continue to bring art to the center of community conversation, Piven is curating public events, panel discussions, and highlighting the work of women in community. Our last public program brought over 25,000 people into discussion surrounding justice based themes with the Quality of Mercy Project.

Since its founding, Piven Theatre Workshop has used improvisational play to encourage connection, creativity, and community engagement. Whether it is scripted or improvised, story or scene, performed by student or mentor, novice or artist, whether you are a speaker or listener, there is a place for you next season.


Warmest regards,


Jennifer Green
Artistic Director

Tickets to our entire 2016-2017 season now available online and at 847 866 8049!. We look forward to seeing you in the coming year! Read about the full season here or buy tickets using the button below.

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