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Scapi DIY Theater and Performance: Recurring Shows 2019

Pictured above: Choose Your Mar Adventure Host Mar Curran and guest during CYMA: Novembutts 2018/Photo: jdoyelphotography

Editor’s Note: If you would like to be featured in this recurring list of DIY theater and performance art pieces, please email and/or add DIY Theater and Performance Editor Danielle Levsky at danielle.levsky@gmail.com and send along the accessibility options that are available in your theatrical or performance art show. You must have performance ticket options available for $20 or less in order to be included in the list, for pay accessibility purposes.

We are growing a comprehensive list of recurring DIY theater and performance art pieces and shows in Chicago. These pieces occur weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, etc.

Afterparty

  • Pieus Productions at Theater Wit, 1229 West Belmont Avenue
  • Join Pieus Productions for the newest circus variety show off the Red Line! Come for the circus, stay for the party featuring live music, and tons of shenanigans.
  • Check out the schedule for this monthly, recurring show here.

Appetite for Rock ‘n’ Roll

  • Appetite at The Elbo Room, 2871 North Lincoln Avenue
  • This is a monthly storytelling event that is truly an evening of oral/audible debauchery. Hear tales about music, celebrities, unrequited love, and more!
  • Check out the schedule for this monthly, recurring event here.

Bring Your Own Theatre! (BYOT)

  • BYOT Productions at The Charnel House, 3421 West Fullerton Avenue
  • What is BYOT? At the end of every month, five writers, five directors and a group of actors come together to create a never-before-seen show. Writers, directors, and actors are randomly grouped at a meeting the night before and then the writers have until the following morning to write an original 10-minute play. After a presumably sleepless night, the writers hand off the theatrical baton to the directors and actors to rehearse until the performance.
  • Check out the schedule for this monthly, recurring performance here.

CAMP: A Comedy Show

  • CAMP at The Village Tap, 2055 West Roscoe Street
  • CAMP is a fun, live comedy show that creates a supportive place for artists to take risks.
  • Check out the schedule for this weekly, recurring show here.

Choose Your Mar Adventure

  • Mar Curran and Beauty Bar, 1444 West Chicago Avenue
  • Battling time traveling robots with Anna Howard Shaw, getting a temp job as Cupid himself, falling in love with your evil reflection in Justin Timberlake’s magic mirror—what misadventures will our guests get into this month? Join host Mar Curran as they interview their guests, and then submit them to an emotional journey via adventure choice books. Does this event still seem mysterious to you? We know, everyone tells us “I didn’t understand what your show was about until I actually saw it.” So come see it! Part interview, part live action role-playing storytelling, all weird. Hosted by Mar Curran.
  • Check out the schedule for this monthly, recurring show here.

Congrats on Your Success Comedy

  • CoYS at Various Locations, most recently Uncharted Books 2620 North Milwaukee Avenue
  • Free, BYOB monthly comedy show.
  • Check out the schedule for this monthly, recurring show here.

Ecstatic Dance Chicago

  • Ecstatic Dance at Various Locations
  • Ecstatic Dance Chicago is a warm, welcoming space for community to come together to connect and to dance. Our dance floor is a conversation, photography, shoes, and alcohol free space that holds embodiment and freedom of expression in the highest regard. We invite you to be curious, playful, sexy, meditative, adventurous, and to share with others or dance alone. Our participation guidelines, and the container We create makes this safe and easy.
  • Check out the schedule for this recurring event/space here.

Freakfest

  • Under the Gun Theatre at Various Locations, most recently Hideout Inn, 1354 West Wabansia Avenue
  • Self-described as “The Lincoln Lodge’s demented little sister,” this weekly show at Under the Gun Theatre showcases some of Chicago’s most delightfully unconventional comedians. The show features no stand-up—it’s all sketch, solo sketch, songs, powerpoint presentations, and more creative approaches to presenting comedy. FreakFest is hosted by Megan Stalter and Richie Owens, though expect to see new faces every week.
  • Check out the schedule for this monthly, recurring performance here.

Fresh Meat Chicago

  • Fresh Meat Chicago at Various Locations, most recently Celtic Knot Public House, 626 Church Street, Evanston
  • Fresh Meat Chicago is an opportunity for an individual storyteller to have an hour or so to themselves on stage in order to work out new material, solo shows, and longer sets.
  • Check out the schedule for this recurring performance here.

Glitter Creeps

  • Glitter Creeps at The Empty Bottle, 1035 North Western Avenue
  • A rock/punk/experimental/whatever queer night, hosted and curated by Donnie and Madison Moore of Absolutely Not.
  • Check out the schedule for this recurring performance here.

Grandma’s House

  • Grandma’s House at Kibbitznest Books, Brews & Blarney, 2212 North Clybourn Avenue
  • Grandma’s House is Chicago’s coziest poetry show. Join us for a warm and inclusive open mic followed by a performance from an awesome, featured poet.
  • Check out the schedule for this monthly, recurring show here.

Heels Over Head

  • Heels Over Head at Various Locations, most recently Actor’s Gymnasium Circus School & Theatre Company, 927 Noyes Street, Evanston
  • Heels Over Head brings together performers from all different types of physical storytelling from clown, to physical theatre, dance, circus, puppetry, and more.
  • Check out the schedule for this recurring show here.

In One Ear

  • In One Ear at Flatts & Sharpe Music Co., 6749 North Sheridan Road
  • Chicago’s third longest-running open-mic show. Dedicated to supporting arts and culture, as well as promoting healthier forms of self-expression and connections within a community.
  • Check out the schedule for this weekly, recurring performance here.

It’s Raining Femme

  • It’s Raining Femme at Various Locations, most recently GMan Tavern, 3740 North Clark Street
  • It’s Raining Femme is a monthly musical showcase celebrating women-identifying and non-binary artists. A portion of the proceeds is donated to charities benefiting women in the Chicagoland area.
  • Check out the schedule for this recurring showcase here.

J e l l o Performance Series

  • J e l l o at Various Locations, most recently Address
  • The J e l l o Performance strives for full artist visibility and inclusivity. Art-making takes a lot of time, space and money. We provide a safe environment and welcoming performance space for artists to experiment, create, risk and try! As a J e l l o artist, you have access to a performance space, production/lighting resources, and a very supportive audience. This is a great opportunity whether you are an emerging choreographer or an established artist. Previous J e l l o artists have shown works from the past, works in progress as well as excerpts from current work. There have even been collaborations involving other art forms (ie. Movement and Music)!
  • Check out the schedule for this recurring performance here.

JJ’s Diner

  • JJ’s Diner at Danny’s Apartment
  • Apartment spot in Chicago for acoustic shows and appreciating breakfast food. Message here for booking requests.
  • Check out the schedule for this monthly, recurring performance here.

The KIKI: QUEER Comedy with Variety

  • The KIKI at Transistor, 5224 North Clark Street
  • An evening of Chicago’s most fabulously funny queer comics, storytellers, spoken word artists, and improvisers
  • Check out the schedule for this recurring performance here.

Ladylike Chicago

  • Ladylike Chicago at Cafe Mustache, 2313 North Milwaukee Avenue
  • Ladylike is a monthly storytelling showcase for femme-identifying, and non-binary performers to share their most disgusting stories.
  • Check out the schedule for this monthly, recurring showcase here.

Nasty, Brutish and Short: A Puppet Cabaret

  • Nasty, Brutish & Short: A Puppet Cabaret
    at Links Hall, 3111 North Western Avenue
  • Nasty Brutish & Short is an evening of contemporary short-form puppet and object based theater for adult audiences. The cabaret is a low risk environment for artists to perform new and experimental work and foster artistic exchange between puppet artists of different generations and mediums.
  • Check out the schedule for this recurring cabaret here.

The Newness: A Salon

  • The Newness: A Salon at Various Locations, most recently The Lincoln Loft, 3036 North Lincoln Avenue Floor 2
  • The Newness: A Salon is a space for fearlessness, vulnerability, silliness, and sharing meaningful work. Join us for a night of new work, from original music to spoken word. We’re here to celebrate art, collaboration, and each other!
  • Check out the schedule for this monthly, recurring salon here.

No Assholes Reading Series

  • No Assholes Literary Magazine at Uncharted Books, 2620 North Milwaukee Avenue
  • Come out to Uncharted Books on the first Monday of the month to hear some of the most exciting emerging writers and artists Chicago has to offer.
  • Check out the schedule for this monthly, recurring reading series here.

Potluck Variety Hour

  • Potluck at Various Locations, most recently The Frontier, 1106 West Thorndale Avenue
  • Potluck (n.) bi-monthly of new works in print, visual art, music and theater, connecting the personal to the communal. Potluck creates the time and space to share and celebrate all the stuff inside your brain. Every two months we bring in new artists from the Chicago community to share their best, worst, and weirdest. We’re making art with each other for each other, and we’d love to share it with you. Plus, every show ends with a dance party.
  • Check out the schedule for this monthly, recurring show here.

Pour One Out

  • Volumes Bookcafe, 1474 North Milwaukee Avenue
  • Pour One Out is a monthly storytelling series curated and hosted by Ada Cheng. This is one of Volumes Bookcafe’s favorite nights of the month.
  • Check out the schedule for this monthly, recurring performance here.

Resilient: A Celebration of Survivors

  • Resilient at The Playground Theater, 3209 North Halsted Street
  • Resilient is a monthly variety show that celebrates and benefits survivors of sexual assault. To date, Resilient has raised over $800 for Resilience and featured a diverse range of acts including standup, dance, poetry, clowning, music, improv, etc.
  • Check out the schedule for this monthly, recurring performance here.

Sappho’s Salon

  • Sappho’s Salon at Women & Children First
    5233 N. Clark St
  • A semi-monthly open mic and performance salon at Chicago’s Women and Children First Bookstore focusing on gender, sexuality, and feminism.
  • Check out the schedule for this recurring salon here.

Serenity Now! Sober Comedy

  • The Crowd Theater, 3935 North Broadway Street
  • Serenity Now! features stand-up, storytelling, improv, music and more, all from performers in recovery from addiction.
  • Check out the schedule for this recurring performance here.

The Shit Hole

  • This is a moving variety show that showcases 25-30 constantly changing performers at each of the productions, each doing 4-minute sets. If sensitive content is included in a set, the performers provide a trigger warning before their set. Because the show moves around to different locations, wheelchair accessibility is not guaranteed.
  • There are typically one to three shows per week. Message shitholeinfo@gmail.com for details.

Strip Joker

  • Strip Joker at Various Locations, most recently Mary’s Attic, 5400 North Clark Street (Above Hamburger Mary’s)
  • Strip Joker is Chicago’s body positive stand-up comedy show featuring a diverse line-up of comedians from around the country! In the spirit of inclusivity, vulnerability, and uncensored comedy, Strip Joker highlights the voices of queer and POC comedians, and celebrates ALL bodies as the show’s founding mission since 2016. With a new show each month, you won’t want to miss us every 2nd Saturday in our new home in Mary’s Attic, at 10pm!
  • Check out the schedule for this monthly, recurring performance here.

That’s Weird, Grandma

  • Barrel of Monkeys at The Neo-Futurist Theater, 5153 North Ashland Avenue
  • Witness pop culture legends live onstage – or at least pop culture legends as third to fifth graders imagine them! Barrel of Monkeys’ performers portray stars past, present and fictional through outrageous dialogues, musical numbers and short sketches adapted from stories by Chicago elementary school students. Now in its eighteenth year, That’s Weird, Grandma features adaptations of stories written during Barrel of Monkeys’ creative writing residencies in Chicago elementary schools. Barrel of Monkeys’ ensemble of professional actors, comedians and musicians bring the young authors’ stories to life as raucous sketches, songs, and movement pieces, performing first for students in their schools and then for the public. These stories–from hilarious dialogues between unlikely characters to poignant pleas for social change–resonate with adults while celebrating the imaginations of young people.
  • Check out the schedule for this weekly, recurring performance here.

Two Chicks’ Variety Hour

  • Corn Productions, 4210 North Lincoln Avenue
  • Just two chicks trying to make it in a larger-than-two world. Their two-person improv sets will make you a believer.
  • Check out the schedule for this recurring performance here.

The Uploose Odditorium

  • The Uploose Odditorium at Prop Thtr, 3502 North Elston Avenue
  • A sketch show whose mission is to carry audiences through a night of unhinged, unpredictable, uninhibited entertainment. Come have a weird, wacky, wild night!
  • Check out the schedule for this monthly, recurring performance here.

The Wild Party Variety Hour

  • Silent Theatre Company at Various Locations
  • The Wild Party Variety Hour is an immersive event featuring an hour-long variety show packed with top Chicago talent encased in a shell of original shenanigans by Silent Theatre’s ensemble members Brendan Balfe (writer) and Marvin Quijada a.k.a. Silent Marvin (co-creator and host). Each production comes with its own theme that tailors the immersive components from photo booths to audience participation stations. There is a great opportunity for strangest tomfoolery to happen during WPVH, so leave your kids at home and come experience the unpredictable.
  • Check out the schedule for this recurring performance here and more information about the show here.

Key to our Symbols for Accessibility:

Wheelchair Accessibility 

Audio Description         

Closed Captioning (CC) 

Opened Captioning (OC) 

Assistive Listening Systems 

Sign Language Interpretation 

Accessible Print (18 pt. or Larger) 

Pay Accessible – Pay What You Can 

Pay Accessible – Free Tickets Available 

Pay Accessible – Discounted Pricing (Student, Industry, Senior, etc.) 

Trigger Warning 

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