Tag: AFYT

Tuesday, November 25, 11:37 PM written by About Face Theatre

About Face Youth Theatre @ the MCA

Among the many amazing things that we had going on last weekend was a collaborative performance between our Youth Ensemble and the Museum of Contemporary Arts Teen Creative Agency.  After working together for several weeks to devise the response to the MCA’s “Body Doubles” exhibit, these young artists and activists took over the gallery space this past Saturday.
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The two groups put on an incredible performance that touched on the themes of the show – gender, sexuality and identity. Make sure to visit the About Face Youth Theatre page on Facebook for all the photos and a great timelapse video of one of the presentations!

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Wednesday, September 24, 10:14 PM written by About Face Theatre

CHECKING BOXES is a Chicago Artists Month Featured Event!

CheckingBoxes

You have another chance to catch About Face Youth Theatre’s original play, Checking Boxes! We are thrilled to announce that our most recent AFYT show is being presented again as one of Chicago Artists Month’s featured events.

Visit the Chicago Artists Month website to learn more about this event and read statement from our Director of Education, Ali Hoefnagel – one of CAM’s featured artists!

In this original play devised by the About Face Youth Theatre, characters explore the often overlooked intersection between immigration and the LGBTQIA experience. Through storytelling, spoken word and movement, these talented young artists share experiences of coming out, growing up and pursuing the American Dream. Inspired by the burgeoning “Undocuqueer” movement in the U.S., Checking Boxes is based on the true experiences of the ensemble members and other members of the LGBTQIA community.

WHEN & WHERE

Monday, October 13th @ 7:30pm
Jackalope Theatre at the Broadway Armory
5917 N Broadway St
Chicago, IL
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Join the Facebook event to stay in the loop!

CRITICS LOVE CHECKING BOXES!

“Talk about timeliness. With the issue of unaccompanied children from Central America entering the United States heating up, About Face Theatre Youth Ensemble’s “Checking Boxes,”… brings a sympathetic perspective to the stories behind the incendiary photos and headlines.”

“The script, developed by Shannon Matesky and the 14-member ensemble and directed by Ali Hoefnagel, fairly hums with a mix of desperation, defiance and idealism. ”

“When “Checking Boxes” keeps the focus on the intersection between … personal details and the larger national picture for those who currently “have to hide two parts of myself,” it provides its performers a passionate platform for expression.”
– Kerry Reid, Chicago Tribune

Matesky and the AFYT through this piece urge us to see we have more power than we think to help the lives of others living in the margins. This piece reminds us that we have work to do, because from the looks of things, we aren’t there yet.
– Loy Webb, New City Chicago (read the full review)

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Monday, June 9, 10:22 PM written by boomerang

The About Face Youth Theatre Ensemble Presents Checking Boxes

By Shannon Matesky & The About Face Youth Theatre Ensemble

Directed by Ali Hoefnagel 

Part of the Chicago Park District’s Night Out In The Parks

CHICAGO (May 23, 2014) – About Face Theatre, in association with the Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks initiative, is pleased to present the world premiere of Checking Boxes by Shannon Matesky in collaboration with the About Face Youth Theatre Ensemble, directed by AFT Education and Outreach Director Ali Hoefnagel and featuring Youth Ensemble members.  AFT’s annual youth production will play Thursday and Friday evenings July 10 – August 1, 2014 at parks across the City. All performances are FREE and open to the public. The press opening is Friday, July 11 at 7 pm at Washington Park.

In this original play devised by the About Face Youth Theatre, characters explore the often overlooked intersection between immigration and the LGBTQIA experience. Through storytelling, spoken word and movement, these talented young artists share experiences of coming out, growing up and pursuing the American Dream. Inspired by the burgeoning “Undocuqueer” movement in the U.S., Checking Boxes is based on the true experiences of the ensemble members and other members of the LGBTQIA community.

“The topic of Checking Boxes is one that our young ensemble felt very strongly about exploring,” comments AFT Education and Outreach Director Ali Hoefnagel. “As issues within the LGBTQIA community grow more complex, it becomes vital to seek out the voices of young people who are fighting for change and growth in their society. ‘Checking Boxes’ refers to the simultaneous pride and limitation of the identities we often place ourselves in; we check boxes for our race, gender, age, sexual preference, ethnicity, etc.  Our tight-knit ensemble devised a play that explores the intersection of those identities to speak to the broken immigration system in America.  Shannon Matesky and I are honored to activate their beautiful stories in our beautiful parks this summer,” adds Hoefnagel.

PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE

Thursday, July 10 & Friday, July 11* at 7 pm
Washington Park, 5531 S. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr, Chicago
*Press opening

Thursday, July 17 & Friday, July 18 at 7 pm (outside, weather permitting)
Piotrowski Park, 4247 W. 31st St., Chicago

Thursday, July 24 & Friday, July 25 at 7 pm
Austin Town Hall, 5610 W. Lake St., Chicago

Thursday, July 31 and Friday, August 1 at 7 pm
Willye White Park, 1610 W. Howard St., Chicago

For additional information, visit www.aboutfacetheatre.com and www.nightoutintheparks.com.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Shannon Matesky (Playwright) is an artist, activist and educator. Her poetry has been featured on HBO’s Def Poetry, stages across the nation and imbedded in her first solo play She Think She Grown. Invested in peer based pedagogy, Shannon has taught with organizations including Youth Speaks, Young Chicago Authors, Step-Up Women’s Network, Kuumba Lynx, Depaul University and many other classrooms across the nation. A graduate of Depaul’s BFA Acting program, her recent theatrical credits include Quark (MPAACT), How Long Will I Cry? (Steppenwolf Theatre), The March (Steppenwolf Theatre), Hit The Wall (The Inconvenience, Steppenwolf Garage), Sophocles Seven Sicknesses (The Hypocrites, and Sonnets For An Old Century (UrbanTheater, Steppenwolf Garage). Shannon has also assistant directed with the likes of Charles Newell and Chuck Smith. She was the 2012 recipient of the Edes Foundation Prize and is a Theatrical Associate with The Inconvenience Theatrical Syndicate.

Ali Hoefnagel (Director) is an actor, arts administrator and teaching artist in Chicago.  As an artist and educator she is committed to embracing the complexity of the queer identity to create new and engaging ways to address LGBTQIA issues with the community at large.  She completed a James S. Kemper Foundation Internship in Arts and Theater Administration with Victory Gardens Theater and worked in Development with Steppenwolf Theatre Company before joining About Face as Education and Outreach Director in September  2013.  She received a BA in Theater and Women’s & Gender Studies from Lake Forest College.

The About Face Youth Theatre (AFYT) was created in 1998 as a safe space for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, and allied young people to become activists and theatre-makers. Youth participants engage in an annual process of sharing stories, conducting interviews, writing a script, and developing performances to create a full-length production that is produced in About Face Theatre’s mainstage season.

About Face Theatre creates exceptional, innovative, and adventurous plays to advance the national dialogue on gender and sexual identity, and to challenge and entertain audiences in Chicago, across the country, and around the world.

This program is presented as part of the Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks with the support of Mayor Rahm Emanuel.  Arts programming in neighborhoods across the city advances the goals   of the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Cultural Plan.  In its second year, the 2014 Night Out in the Parks series will bring 1,000 events and programs to more than 250 neighborhood parks throughout the city, making community parks safe havens and hubs of activity.  Projects will vary from traditional performances and concerts, to peace rallies, movies, magic shows, community workshops, nature based programs, dance pieces, festivals, and more. The Chicago Park District has partnered with more than 50 arts and community organizations to expand and produce this successful initiative.

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PRESS CONTACT: David Rosenberg
David Rosenberg Public Relations
david@drpublicrelations.com 

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Tuesday, April 16, 10:00 AM written by EmilyHaha

About Face Theatre Presents a Remount of WHAT’S THE T?

About Face Theatre Presents a Remount of

WHAT’S THE T?

By Sara Kerastas & The About Face Youth Theatre Ensemble

Directed by Artistic Associate Eric Hoff

May 19 – June 2, 2013

CHICAGO (April 11, 2013) About Face Theatre is pleased to present a remount of its wildly popular Youth Ensemble world premiere WHAT’S THE T? by Sara Kerastas and The About Face Youth Theatre Ensemble, directed by Artistic Associate Eric Hoff, playing May 19 – June 2, 2013 at the Prince Charitable Trusts Rehearsal Room at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., in Chicago. The production features members of the About Face Youth Theatre Ensemble. Tickets are available at www.aboutfacetheatre.com or at the door. The press performance is Sunday, May 19 at 3 pm.

Internet personality/trans activist/fierce community leader Ms. Ma uses her YouTube page to create community, serve glamour and spread the good word about queer safe spaces in Chicago. WHAT”S THE T? tells the story of Ms. Ma”s tangled web of connections, her struggle to stay positive and what happens to her community when she disappears. Inspired by issues of race, gender, age and class in Chicago’s “Boystown,” WHAT”S THE T? is based on true stories and interviews from LGBTQA youth and adults in and around Chicago.

WHAT’S THE T? began with the theme of trans identity, but after year-one, the youth ensemble chose to take it a step further by using this theme to address the significant tensions arising in the queer community. As such, the play examines issues of race, gender, class and age in the queer community, with trans characters at the heart of the story. For 13 years, the Youth Theatre has sought changes within the larger community through innovative thought, dialogue, and performance. AFYT hopes to move their ensemble from positions of marginalization into positions of inclusion and power.

“There’s a whole storyline in the play that takes place on the Internet – with two people documenting their lives through YouTube videos, and ultimately building a relationship in that digital elusive space,” comments playwright Sara Kerastas. “This play is so right now. The story speaks to how we communicate right now. How we build, how we own, and how we use space right now.”

The production team for WHAT’S THE T? includes: John Holt (set design/technical director), Mieka van der Ploeg (costume design), Jeff Glass (lighting design/production manager), Erik Roldan (sound design), Liviu Pasare (projections design), Nic K (choreography), Rupert Priniski (production coordinator) and John Rooney (stage manager).

Title: WHAT’S THE T?
Playwright: Sara Kerastas and The About Face Youth Theatre Ensemble
Director: Artistic Associate Eric Hoff
Featuring: About Face Youth Theatre Ensemble members
Location: Prince Charitable Trusts Rehearsal Room at Victory Gardens Theater
2433 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago.
Dates: Press Opening: Sunday, May 19 at 3 pm
Regular Run: Friday, May 24 – Sunday, June 2
Curtain Times: Fridays at Saturdays at 7 pm; Sundays at 3 pm. Note: there will an added 3 pm performance on Saturday, June 1.
Tickets: $15. $5 youth tickets; $25 AFYT Support Ticket.
Tickets for WHAT’S THE T? are  or at the door.

BIOGRAPHIES

Sara Kerastas (Playwright/Creator) is the Education Programs Director for About Face Theatre, where she manages the Education Outreach program and directs the Queer Youth Theatre.  She is also an Artistic Associate with About Face Theatre.  Across Canada, she has directed with Pi Theatre, The Havana, Le Cagibi, F4L Productions and Théâtre Ste. Catherine.  In 2010 she received a Windy City Times 30-Under-30 Award for her leadership within and contributions to Chicago’s LGBT community.  She is a founding member of the Pride Youth Theatre Alliance, and will be mentoring an emerging queer youth theatre program with Creative Action Theatre this year in Austin, Texas.  She is a proud member of the queer performance collective GOLDMINE.  She received her BA in English-Drama & Theatre and Women’s Studies from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec.  Sara is a regular storyteller and former Associate Artistic Director of 2nd Story, and is published in their new anthology, “Briefly Knocked Unconscious by a Low-Flying Duck: Stories from 2nd Story,” with Elephant Rock Books.

Eric Hoff (Director) is a proud Artistic Associate at About Face Theatre, advancing the national dialogue on gender and sexual identity. For AFT, he directed WHAT”S THE T? in Summer 2012. Eric produced over thirty events for The Woyzeck Project, he served as dramaturg for Pony, and he co-conceived and will produce Revival this summer. Eric directed & developed Ike Holter”s Hit the Wall in Chicago at both The Steppenwolf Garage and Theatre on the Lake. He then directed the off-Broadway production at Barrow Street Theatre, just steps from The Stonewall Inn. Other Chicago credits: The Skriker, Ruby Wilder, (a)Symmetry Cycle. He has worked with Goodman, Court, Hypocrites, Steep, Playwrights Horizons, and NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Alumnus: Lincoln Center Directors Lab. Co-Founder: The Accidentals. Eric lives in Chicago and New York City.

The About Face Youth Theatre (AFYT) was created in 1998 as a safe space for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, and allied young people to become activists and theatre-makers. Youth participants engage in a two-year process of sharing stories, conducting interviews, writing a script, and developing performances to create a full-length production that is produced in About Face Theatre’s mainstage season.

About Face Theatre is one of Chicago’s most acclaimed theatre companies, and is a national leader in the development of new work exploring gender and sexual identity.  Since its founding by Kyle Hall and Eric Rosen in 1995, the company has premiered more than 45 world premieres by writers and directors who have been recognized with several Tony Awards, The Pulitzer Prize for Drama, The MacArthur Fellowship and dozens of Joseph Jefferson Awards.

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