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DIY Quotes from DIY Folx: DIY Definitions, Part Two

Pictured above: Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health will be putting on the work “The Boat”, which will run May 31 through June 17 at Palmisano Park. Taking inspiration from Women on Waves (an organization that provides legal abortions to people in countries where it would otherwise be illegal by sailing into non-territorial waters), The Boat will seat audiences in the metaphor for the islands that young people have to visit to get unfettered access to abortion./Photo: Nik Zaleski

Every other week we ask DIY theater artists and creatives around Chicago a question about what’s going on in the DIY theater and performance community.

The world of DIY theater and performance is constantly changing, evolving, ebbing and flowing. Learn about what theater and performance artists are excited for that’s coming to the DIY community in the near future with this week’s question:

“Define DIY theater and performance.”

Quenna Lené Barrett; Company Member (performer, director) with ICAH’s For Youth Inquiry Performance Company; Founder and Facilitator of Community Actors Program at UChicago’s Arts Incubator:

“DIY Theater and performance takes theater beyond the walls of traditional theater spaces, both physically and in the way that we’ve been conditioned to think about what theater can be or look like.

Mary Kate Young; Pop Magic Productions Board Member, DIY Creative:

“DIY theater creates an opportunity for artists and audiences to freely explore the human condition. Artists can collaborate openly without the strict roles that more traditional settings typically place on them. Audiences have a chance to experience the art this open collaboration produces. Giving artists permission to be free, gives permission for audiences to be free, as well. The hearts and minds of everyone can be open to new ideas and new perspective. Through this openness, DIY theater can tackle the task of sharing the stories of those that feel that mainstream theater has left them behind. DIY theater is always searching for stories that need to be brought into the light of day. No one deserves to live in the shadows and DIY theater as the power to help lift these stories up with beautiful authenticity.”

Hannah Ii-Epstein, Co-Artistic Director of Nothing Without a Company:

“A different way to do theater out of the box.”

Jack Schultz; Company member and Basement Series lead of The Agency Theater Collective:

“Artists claiming the power they have over their craft. DIY theater artists are people that decide they’ll make what’s on their mind without acknowledging barriers constructed by the “theater machine.” You have an idea, you have friends, you create.”


Are you a DIY theater artist who likes to answer questions about the work you’re doing in Chicago? Email with your interest to be featured on a DIY Quotes from DIY Folx.

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