Theatre is a collaborative (involving many people) form of fine art that uses live performers to present the experience of an event before a live audience in a specific place. The performers may communicate this experience to the audience through combinations of movement, speech, song, music, and dance. Elements of art and staging are used to enhance the experience.

Create your own

Tell someone else's story in their voice. Use your movements and facial expression. Write to the details. Share or perform your drafts. Collaborate in a conversation.

Start with

Think about a character you could create. Journal about this person, describing them in as much detail as you can. What do they look like? What do they like to do? What do they sound like? How do they move? How are they feeling today?

What is the person thinking about? What is their story? Write a monologue (a single person conversation) for this character, telling a short story of something that happened in their day. Focus on writing like this person would tell it - it might be very different than how you would tell it! Ask someone to read your draft and ask questions to help you create a more detailed and interesting story.

Practice becoming your character and reading your monologue out loud. How does your voice change? Do you wear anything different? How do you stand or walk differently?

Then try

Watch or read plays or scenes for inspiration. Pay attention to how the actors tell a character's story through words, movement, facial expression, and props. Keep a journal of your favorite parts to try in your own scenes.

Using the same or a new character, write a piece about being in a certain place. Spend some time journaling about this setting. Where is it? What does it look like? What does it smell and sound like? What's happening there? What time is it? Tell a story that makes your audience feel like they're in that place with you. Remember to share your writing or performance in progress for feedback!

Keep going

As you watch or read other plays, pay attention to how the characters talk to each other. What are they saying with their words? Their tone of voice? Their facial expression or body language? How do small details tell you more about each character?

Journal about ideas for a scene with two characters. Describe each character in detail. What are they each like and how do they know each other? Describe the setting - where are they and why? Think of ideas for a conversation that these two characters could be having in this place. They can talk about anything you want, but pay attention to how each character speaks. Do they sound different, use different words, or have a different tone of voice? Ask a friend to act out a draft of this scene with you, and work together to try out different lines or new ideas.

Workshops & Events


Ensemble Rehearsal

Organized by Free Street Theater
Time: Saturdays 10am-2pm
Location: Pulaski: 1419 W. Blackhawk or Piotrowski: 4247 W. 31st Street
Contact us: call 773-772-7248 to confirm
Cost: FREE

Teens Together Playwriting Ensemble

Organized by Storycatchers Theatre
Check their website for an application
Time: Saturdays 11am-3pm (September-April)
Location: Columbia College Chicago
Contact us: call 312-280-4772 for more info
Cost: Scholarships available

Drop In Hip Hop Arts Programs

Organized by Kuumba Lynx
Time: Summer: Monday-Friday 9am-3pm
Fall & Spring: Monday-Friday 4-8pm
Location: 4501 N. Clarendon
Contact us: call 773-569-2103 to confirm
Cost: FREE

Young Women on the Move

Organized by Global Girls, Inc.
Time: Saturdays 10am-3pm
Location: 8151 S. South Chicago Ave.
Contact us: call 773-902-2359 to confirm
Cost: FREE

Black History Month Play

Organized by Ray of Hope Center of the Arts
Time: Wednesdays 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Location: 1818 East 71st Street
Contact us: call 773-667-2100 to confirm
Cost: FREE


Stages, Sights & Sounds

Organized by Chicago Humanities Festival
Check their website for this year's info
Time: May
Location: Varies
Cost: Varies