Episode 14 – Avi Roque

When I saw The Jades’ production of An Alamanc for Farmers and Lovers in Mexico last year, I was totally captivated by the actor who played San Cristobal: Avi Roque.  I did a little research and learned that Avi is just as cool and interesting as they seemed. Avi is gender neutral and uses the pronouns they/them/theirs.  We…

13 – Maren Rosenberg

Maren Rosenberg is a Chicago local whose talents expand far beyond the realm of theatre. Her company, Escape Artistry is opening a second location this year featuring five new room escape events. What is a room escape? Listen in to learn about it as well as Maren’s female run company and her time as an artist in residence in the West Bank.

12 – Not In Our House

In June of 2015, actress Lori Myers heard–for the fourth time in two months–a story from yet another colleague about extreme abuses of power in the Chicago theatre community. Frustrated, she posted a now infamous Facebook post asking, “If your friend, sister, daughter, or co-worker was working under a sexual predator—what would you do about it?”

She had no idea at the time that her post would provoke hundreds of comments, dozens of private messages and eventually a massive action movement to end abuses of all kinds against artists in all non-equity theaters. This week I sat down with Lori along with Laura T. Fisher to discuss the Not In Our House movement, the evolving Chicago Code of Conduct and the incredible waves their work is making in the world of non-equity theatre.

11 – Kara Tesch

Throughout her academic career Kara Tesch promoted herself as a costume designer. When she got to the world of professional theatre she found that her training has prepared her for a job she’d love even more. We discuss this along with her recent move from DC to Chicago and the the weirdest costume piece she’s ever had to craft.

10 – Iris Sowlat

After Orlando: A Night of Readings, is a co-production by my guest Iris Sowlat and Pride Films and Plays. It’s also a national theatre action in response to the Pulse nightclub shooting in June. Learn more in this episode about the readings happening November 15th at Pride Films and Plays here in Chicago.

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09 – Mary Shelley, Feminism and DIY Theatre

Playwright and director Olivia Lilley along with her assistant director Anna Hendrix sit down with Smyra to talk about their new show Mary Shelley Sees The Future, which opened this past weekend at Outer Space Studios. We talk about Mary Shelley’s radical polyamorous romance with Percy Shelley, how she serves as an interesting lens to examine contemporary feminism and also what it’s been like for them to work on a show with an all-female production team.

Mary Shelley Sees The Future runs Oct 21 – Nov 13, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 8pm at Outer Space Studios 1474 N Milwaukee Ave, 3rd Floor. Tickets are pay what you can and the venue is BYOB!

08 – Melissa McNamara

This week, we spoke with the diversely talented Melissa McNamara. She’s an improviser, actor, writer, movement director and pilates instructor. She opened her studio, Mind Art Core Pilates Performance to serve both as a pilates studio and a performance space. We talk about how she found herself on such a diverse path and about her solo performance work which attempts to destigmatize the conversation surrounding domestic violence.

Learn more about women in Chicago Theatre at http://www.spielchicago.com and follow us on Twitter @spielchicago. See you at the theatre!

07 – The Jades

This week Smyra talks with the Liz Seidt, Caitlin Aase and Teagan Walsh-Davis, the three founding members of The Jades. The new storefront theatre company is dedicated to “lifting diverse, underrepresented voices and providing a platform for female-identified artists to thrive.”