NO OTHER THEATRE IN THE WORLD IS QUITE LIKE CHICAGO THEATRE
It’s real, elevated to an intensity you cannot turn away from. Even on your first visit, you can feel it. From joy to heartache and every feeling in between, Chicago’s exceptional ensemble of talent provides exhilarating experiences that make audiences come alive.
Rising from a city of innovators, risk-takers, and big hearts, Chicago theatre is a hotbed for exciting new work and hundreds of world premieres every year. From Broadway musicals to storefront plays and improv, the spirit of the city can be found in our 200+ theatres.
To truly fall in love with Chicago, you must experience our theatre. This is where the city bares its fearless soul.
View the 2019 Fall Theatre Guide
The City of Chicago and the League of Chicago Theatres have designated 2019 as the Year of Chicago Theatre. This citywide, year-long focus on theatre is the first of its kind in the U.S. and features performances and special events throughout the city – including theatre-themed events in all 77 community areas, as part of the Chicago Park District’s ‘Night Out in the Parks’ series. There will be increased marketing support for Chicago theatres; additional financial grants for theatre projects; more dialog around inclusion and equity; and a call for civic, philanthropic, arts, and business leaders to support the theatre community.
See What’s On Stage Now
The spirit of Chicago theatre is found in all of our neighborhoods, from downtown theatres to behind the storefronts, in a diverse collection of over 200 dynamic theatres. From musicals to plays to comedy, theatre is for everyone in Chicago.
Share Your Theatre Experiences:
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WTTW Stage Players Series
In honor of the Year of Chicago Theatre, WTTW has created short video profiles of people who make the Chicago theatre scene come to life. With more than 200 companies presenting plays in the Chicago region, many people contribute to the power, engagement, humor, pathos, joy, and fun of Chicago theatre. Whether they are writing a play produced in a storefront house, lighting a production for a Tony Award-winning downtown stage, or seeing hundreds of shows a year, the people involved in Chicago theatre bring talents and passions as varied as the shows of which they’re a part. Watch and learn more about Chicago’s awe-inspiring theatre community!
Theatre Adventures on VAMONDE
This new series of mobile self-guided theatre adventures are available on your smartphone. The Year of Chicago Theatre Channel provides an inside look into the DNA of several Chicago area theatres. Take a trip through Chicago’s vibrant theatre community via this immersive on-demand guide by downloading the VAMONDE mobile app (App Store | Google Play) and searching “Year of Chicago Theatre”, or view the stories in your web browser here!
More Year of Chicago Theatre Happenings
In addition to all of the incredible theatre to see during 2019, we also encourage you to check out these YOCT-related programs and initiatives.
Art on theMART
The current program for Art on theMART is a commission in alignment with the Year of Chicago Theatre featuring select works by renowned lighting designer John Boesche. Projections begin 15 minutes after sunset and are best viewed on the Chicago Riverwalk between Wells and Lake St.
Hot Tix Pop-Ups at McCormick Place
In addition to offering half-price theatre tickets online and at Loop locations, Hot Tix is partnering with McCormick Place during the Year of Chicago Theatre to offer half-price theatre tickets for select events and conventions. Visit the Hot Tix Locations page to see what’s next!
The Edgewater Theatre District Passport
Explore Edgewater’s incredible theatre with the Theatre District Passport. Just like a coffee shop punch card, the Theatre District Passport can be stamped each time you see a play, and after 5 stamps the 6th play will be free! The Theatre District Passport program is only valid with participating locations. Also, take the pledge to watch (at least) one play or performance in the Edgewater Theatre District this year.
Lincoln Park Night Out
To celebrate the Year of Chicago Theatre, this monthly series from the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce showcases theatres in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Each month, Lincoln Park neighbors and visitors are invited to explore one of the neighborhood’s amazing theatre companies.
Millennium Park Theatre Residencies
This free series is NEW in 2019 and features 9 local theatre companies performing throughout Millennium Park on select dates from July to October. The participating companies include: Aguijón Theater Company, Barrel of Monkeys, CircEsteem, Chicago Dance Crash, Chicago Full Moon Jam Productions, Collaboraction Theatre Company, Emerald City Theatre, eta Creative Arts, and Free Street Theater. The companies have been commissioned for one-week residencies and will present site-specific theatre performances that engage the park’s unique architecture, design, and public art – with Wrigley Square, the Great Lawn, and Cloud Gate Plaza serving as the stage. This series is made possible by the generosity of the Bayless Family Foundation.
Take pride in the unique, risky, bold, and incredible new work happening on Chicago stages year-round. Each monthly Theatre Thursday event features an inside look at the creative process behind a never-before-seen production. See a world premiere each month!
Setting the Stage
This FREE exhibition by the Design Museum of Chicago is now open at Expo 72 (in the same space as Hot Tix!). Design in theatre can take many forms, including costumes, lights, sound, props, and sets, among countless other examples. Setting the Stage celebrates the myriad ways design is employed in stage productions. It will emphasize the diversity, depth, and breadth of theatres in the city and explore how words are translated by designers into a production. See the process behind the final products and learn more about how and why design decisions in theatres are made.
Arts in the Dark
The Halloween Parade on October 19 will feature theatre groups and artists are designed to highlight Chicago’s diverse cultural landscape.
Know Your Chicago “Behind the Curtain” Tours
Know Your Chicago, a program associated with the University of Chicago’s Graham School, offers two daylong tours taking you to the other side of the curtain, revealing the craft involved in creating what you see on stage. Each tour explores a different part of the theatrical world: ACT ONE (Thursday, October 10 or Friday October 11) focuses on Inspiration and Transformation. ACT TWO (Monday, October 28 or Tuesday, October 29) focuses on Setting the Stage. Each tour runs from 8:30 am to 3:15 pm, including transportation and lunch. The cost is $95. Sign up before they sell out!
#2019isYOCT | #ChiTheatre
To truly fall in love with Chicago, you must go to our theatres. This is where the city bares its fearless soul.
From Broadway musicals to storefront plays and improv, there’s always a seat waiting for you at one of our 200+ theatres.
You’re in the right place. Book your next show today!
The Year of Chicago Theatre is an initiative of the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) with the support of the League of Chicago Theatres and several other civic and arts partners.