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Feature on Spiel Chicago: Episode 25 – DIY Theatre

Smyra Yawn (she/her) is on a mission to shine a light on the progressive and thoughtful work of women and genderqueer artists in Chicago Theatre. She brought together a really great panel of DIY Theatre Artists, that I was delighted to take part in.  Listen to the episode on Spiel Chicago. 

@SpielChicago on Twitter, Spiel_Chicago on Instagram, or Facebook.  

"Artist as Producer: This week on Spiel Chicago, we discuss DIY Theatre!  This is a special panel episode, with guests Savannah Reich, Denise Serna, Olivia Lilley and Katherine Lamb, each bringing a unique perspective on DIY theatre, theatre institutions, sustainability and how to get started putting your own work into the world."


More on Spiel Chicago

Carolina Migli on Nymph of the River - My colleague Carolina Migli on her piece The Nymph of the River, which she created for Climate Change Theatre Action.

Episode 14 – Avi Roque - My colleague Avi Roque was on an episode of Spiel. I collaborated with Avi for After Orlando, a international theatre movement created by NoPassport Theatre Alliance & Press and Missing Bolts Productions in observance of Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida.

Spiel Chicago Episode 9 – Mary Shelley, Feminism and DIY Theatre - Olivia Lilley of Pop Magic Productions about DIY theatre and her play Mary Shelley Sees the Future. Olivia and I curate a salon series called HOME SET, and you can expect to see more of our collaborations in the future. 

Climate Change Theatre Action Chicago: A Curated Conversation

A continuation of our work at CCTA International: Hive Workshop, Climate Change Theatre Action - Chicago was three evenings of readings and performances on the topic of global climate change in support of the United Nations COP23 meeting chaired by Fiji and hosted in Bonn, Germany. This multi-disciplinary international event featured short films, dance, puppetry, live performances, and a call to activism. Developed with artists from China, France, Italy, Slovakia, Spain, The United Kingdom, Canada, across the United States and Chicago, this collective effort supported and encouraged individual action on climate change and steps towards a better future for all.

Alexandra Ranieri, Denise Yvette Serna, Iris Sowlat, Carolina Migli-Bateson, and Olivia Lilley

Alexandra Ranieri, Denise Yvette Serna, Iris Sowlat, Carolina Migli-Bateson, and Olivia Lilley

I drove this project with co-producer Iris Sowlat at Chicago's Pride Arts Center. In an effort to reduce waste, we chose to go paperless for our play programs!
Check out the contributing artists on our digital program page.

Putting this event together required quite a lot of moving parts. Co-Founder of Global Hive Laboratories, Jack Paterson supported administrative tasks and cultivated submissions from our international colleagues. Co-Producer Iris Sowlat worked to livestream an evening of performance, which was central to our mission of providing as many access points to the conversation as possible. Global Hive Labs Partner Carolina Migli-Bateson was vital to our load in, installation, and display of our art installations. 

The New Galileos  by Amy Berryman

The New Galileos by Amy Berryman

We were joined by playwright Amy Berryman, who flew in from NYC to join us and celebrate her play The New Galileos. We were joined by Carolina Migli-Bateson, who flew in from Piacenza, Italy to perform her piece Nymph of the River. Carolina and the significance of climate change for her hometown was featured on Spiel Chicago.

“I want [audiences] to feel a sense of loss … I want them to understand that nature is a living entity and looks at us puzzled, not understanding what we are doing and why we are destroying ourselves.  I also want them to feel the time ticking by faster and faster as we have raped nature and her revenge on us will be terrible if we don’t do something about it collectively.“
- Carolina Migli-Bateson

Aside from managing all the moving parts, stage managing, marketing, and hosting the event, I also directed three pieces from The Arctic Cycle.  The three scripts I chose allowed for unconventional presentation and devised performances.  For Minor Flood, Major Constellation: Sirius and the Cartographer Map the New World By Lisa Schlesinger I recorded an oral interpretation of the script at CCTA International this summer, and in rehearsal with Chicago based performers devised music and movement to layer upon it. In performance of Gaia by Hiro Kanagawa, the artists donned rain ponchos and threw darts at a map of the world while enjoying beer and bar mix.  As they articulated Kanagawa's poetic text, their dart game generated a new painting each evening. Rube Goldberg Device for The Generation of Hope by Jordan Hall, performers led the audience in a participatory artistic experience that ended with a little bit of hope and a whole lot of dancing.  It was a pleasure to tickle my directing and devising muscles, and we rehearsed each piece for a few hours and really put our focus into creating stimulating work. 


With collaboration from Global Hive Laboratories, Pride Arts Center, BoucheWHACKED! Theatre Collective, La Compagnie Certes, Fusion Theatre Company, and in association with the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts, NoPassport Theatre Alliance, The Arctic Cycle, Theatre Without Borders, and York University, the event included live performances directed by producer Denise Yvette Serna, producer Iris Sowlat, Olivia Lilley, Carolina Migli Bateson, Ryan Oliveira, and material developed with artists across the globe. Readings included new works by Elaine Avila, Carolina Migli Bateson, Amy Berryman, Clare Duffy, Angella J. Emurwon, Kendra Fanconi, Jordan Hall, Lisa Schlesinger, Marcia Johnson,  Hiro Kanagawa, Sarena Parmar, Katie Pearl, Ryan Oliveira, Caridad Svich, and Jordan Tannahill.