Steppenwolf Education and Nicholas Senn High School Senior Drama Ensemble are proud to present a student-devised performance exploring the planning and pressures inherent in youth-driven social justice activism and leadership. This play was developed in Steppenwolf Education’s What If? Residency inspired by the question “What If?” Performances for What If We Has The Wisdom? are Monday, May 14 and Tuesday, May 15 at 7pm in Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theatre. These public performances are free with tickets available on a first-come first-serve basis. For more information see https://www.steppenwolf.org/tickets--events/events/what-if.
When students across the country walk out to protest against gun violence, high school doesn’t just pause. By the time it’s second semester senior year, graduation is imperative, academic performance and standardized testing are steadily lurking and everyone wants to know…who’s going to the protest with Teasha?
Join Nicholas Senn High School’s Senior Drama Ensemble in a reclaiming of their lived experiences as artist activists and exploration of what goes on before and after the protest. What If We Has The Wisdom? is a youth-devised artistic inquiry exploring the planning and pressures inherent in youth-driven social justice activism and leadership.
The WHAT IF? PROJECT is an extended residency program through Steppenwolf Education in which a classroom teacher partner of Steppenwolf’s In-School Residency Program creates an artistic project with their class. This teacher collaborates with a Steppenwolf teaching artist to provide students a unique chance to advance their skills by exploring the creative inquiry question of, “WHAT IF?” Throughout the course of their 20 residency sessions, students utilize skills of Steppenwolf's teaching pedagogy, aesthetic education, to generate an original work in conversation with productions they viewed.
Also playing in the Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theatre is The Yard’s production of columbinus, directed by Mechelle Moe and presented by Steppenwolf’s LookOut series. Created by the United States Theatre Project and written by Stephen Karam and PJ Paparelli, columbinus is a docu-drama exploring the cultural and personal pathologies that gave rise to the horrific events in Littleton, Colorado in 1999, when two students went on a shooting rampage at Columbine High School, killing a dozen students and a teacher before killing themselves.
Performed by The Yard’s teen ensemble, columbinus is now playing through Saturday, May 26 in the 1700 Theatre. Tickets ($15 - $25) to columbinus can be purchased through Audience Services (1650 N Halsted), 312-335-1650 and steppenwolf.org. Red and Black Card Members can use their credits toward columbinus, and Black Card members get 2-for-1 tickets.
The Yard, a professional youth theatre company founded in 2015 by Mechelle Moe and Joel Ewing, is committed to producing theatre that is relevant to young people and performed by young people. Originally a collective of Senn Arts Magnet High School students, The Yard partners with established theatre companies to create professional theatrical experiences that immerse students in every aspect of the Chicago storefront theatre-making process.
The 1700 Theatre features wheelchair-accessible seating, an Induction Hearing Loop and assistive listening devices. Front Bar features a push-button entrance, all-gender accessible restrooms and accessible counter and table spaces.
Steppenwolf Education’s unique approach combines play production with educational components to enhance arts education for young audiences, as well as their teachers and families. Every season Steppenwolf for Young Adults (SYA) creates two full-scale professional productions specifically for teens. Working closely with the Chicago Public and metropolitan area schools and other community partners, Steppenwolf Education annually ensures access to the theater for more than 15,000 participants from Chicago’s diverse communities. The initiative also includes post-show discussions with artists; classroom residencies led by Steppenwolf-trained teaching artists in almost 100 classrooms in public high schools; professional development workshops for educators; and the Young Adult Council, an innovative year-round after-school initiative that uniquely engages high school students in all areas of the theater’s operations, as well as other teen and community based programs.
Steppenwolf Theatre Company is the nation’s premier ensemble theater. Formed by a collective of actors in 1976, the ensemble represents a remarkable cross-section of actors, directors and playwrights. Thrilling and powerful productions from Balm in Gilead to August: Osage County--and accolades that include the National Medal of Arts and 12 Tony Awards—have made the theater legendary. Steppenwolf produces hundreds of performances and events annually in its three spaces: the 515-seat Downstairs Theatre, the 299-seat Upstairs Theatre and the 80-seat 1700 Theatre. Artistic programming includes a seven-play season; a two-play Steppenwolf for Young Adults season; Visiting Company engagements; and LookOut, a multi-genre performances series. Education initiatives include the nationally recognized work of Steppenwolf for Young Adults, which engages 15,000 participants annually from Chicago’s diverse communities; the esteemed School at Steppenwolf; and Professional Leadership Programs for arts administration training. While firmly grounded in the Chicago community, nearly 40 original Steppenwolf productions have enjoyed success both nationally and internationally, including Broadway, Off-Broadway, London, Sydney, Galway and Dublin. Anna D. Shapiro is the Artistic Director and David Schmitz is the Executive Director. Eric Lefkofsky is Chair of Steppenwolf’s Board of Trustees. For additional information, visit steppenwolf.org, facebook.com/steppenwolftheatre, twitter.com/steppenwolfthtr and instagram.com/steppenwolfthtr.