Chicago has over 200 neighborhoods, and their unique stories and communities are what make Chicago the outstanding city it is. Which made us wonder: what if we could help Chicago playwrights develop a deep, meaningful relationship with each one of those neighborhoods? What new audiences could we meet? What new voices could we encounter? And what new stories might we tell?
Playwrights aren't just storytellers, they're storyseers. They see stories in the people and places around them, then tell those stories to us in a way that helps us understand our neighbors more deeply. The Neighborhood Residency is designed to help Chicago playwrights see their neighborhood in a whole new light, or to introduce themselves to another neighborhood for the first time. This is a paid residency; playwrights will be paid a stipend of $100 per day of work.
Every Neighborhood Residency begins with 2-3 days of Orientation. During this time, the resident playwright will be introduced to multiple partner communities within the neighborhood. (See what we mean by 'community' here.)
Following the Orientation period, the playwright identifies a community (or communities) with whom they wish to develop a deeper relationship. We then design the rest of the Neighborhood Residency to be a reciprocal exchange between the playwright and the community. During the Exchange, the resident playwright is given access to the community: they participate in events, observe activities, and talk to neighbors. In return, the playwright grants the community access to their work and process through readings, discussions, and talks. The playwright also provides a set of classes or workshops, sharing their skills and expertise in a way that gives back to our neighbors.
Banner photo: By Colin J Bird - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0