About Prop Thtr

Prop Thtr functions as an incubator for new talent, exposing audiences and artists to fresh outlooks on life through the development of new plays and playwrights. We concentrate on stories that expand our perception of who we are as human beings. The Prop Thtr augments its new works and new workers program with fresh examinations of great and provocative literature and fostering long-term relationships with playwrights and with other like-minded theater companies. Prop is a charter and active member of the National New Play Network, supporting the development of new American Plays. Our venue, which we are celebrating a decade of residence in this year, has provided partially subsidized working facilities for companies, many of which are in their infancies. We also independently produce and co-curate shows that reflect our mission. Prop Theater has amended its goals to prioritize works about Chicago as well as to increase our educational outreach and widen the array of interdisciplinary arts activities at our venue.

Zoë Pike, Diane Hamm, Olivia Lilley, Marlana Carlson, and Stefan Brün. Photo by Jeffrey Bivens.

Zoë Pike, Diane Hamm, Olivia Lilley, Marlana Carlson, and Stefan Brün. Photo by Jeffrey Bivens.

Since its beginning in 1981, Prop Thtr has aimed to create, inspire and assist in the creation of new plays and other time-based works of art. Working closely with established artists as well as those new to the craft, Prop has played a vital role in Chicago’s cultural scene. We incubate, develop and produce new work and new workers for Performing Arts. Educational programs at our venue augment long-term relationships with playwrights, directors and designers as well as synergetic collaborations with multiple itinerant theater companies – like Realize Theater Group, Curious Theater Branch, Tellin’ Tales, Silent Theatre Company, Lisa Fay&Jeff Glassman, etc. Collaborations form the core of our company’s artistic production. When we foster inspiring collaborative relationships, sometimes across regional or cultural obstacles, we do more than just produce single shows.

Prop Thtr has grown in influence and scope in recent years, largely by focusing its efforts toward what it does best: creating new performance works and partnering with those who, without such a venue as Prop, would likely have little opportunity to grow and thrive as local artists. We have sought to collaborate and share resources with other local, state, and national arts and education organizations, like League of Chicago Theaters, National New Play Network and The New Play Exchange, to create further artistic opportunities for our own company as well as the broader community of collaborators and those we mentor. While Prop takes its commitment to new and un-established artists and their work quite seriously, we are perhaps most enthusiastic about our own in-house productions.