Hello from Free Street!

Like many of you, we have spent the past month doing the most useful thing we can think of to do: staying inside! We have also spent a lot of time wondering about the value of, and need for, the kind of work Free Street does right now.

A lot of what we do happens live, but all of what we do happens in togetherness. At Free Street, we believe that sharing our stories, whether in a circle or on stage, helps us all be more thoughtful and empathetic. We can still use our skills and stories to work for change, and we can still be a community . While we are still figuring out what it means to be Free Street and serve Chicago in virtual space, we wanted to share a few things we have already been offering:

  • Free Street at Home: For those of you who like watching documentaries and performances online, we’ve made a bunch of stuff available for free. Click here to check them out.

  • Our work with young people is ongoing! Our youth ensembles continue to meet and make in remote rehearsals. Our Pulaski Park ensemble is hard at work on Wasted, a show about what (and who) we throw away. Originally slated to open May 1st, we have decided that we will premiere in virtual space later this Spring (in the meantime, you can also catch up with our community partner for this show (LVEJO) via their real-time updates on Facebook). Meanwhile, our Storyfront ensemble is working on a show about labor: As our country's lowest paid workers are being asked to put themselves at daily risk to keep our economy going, how can we begin to have better conversations about labor and justice? 

  • Our Free Street Talks program is ongoing. This is a program where we collaborate with organizations and businesses to custom-design trainings focused on facilitating better and more productive conversations.

  • Our Cultural Asset Mapping project is still in the works! We’re collaborating with the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events to map and celebrate theater assets on the South and West Sides of the city.

We also want to say that while we are working very hard to keep our staff and artists employed, we, like so many, have been hit hard by having to cancel all live events, which are a significant source of revenue for Free Street. Free Street has survived for over 50 years because of people like you, who fervently believe in and support our mission. If you are among those who are in a position to donate, please consider making a one-time or recurring donation to help sustain our work . Click here to donate.

We also want to know - what we can do for you? What do you want to see Free Street doing right now? Online Free Street Talks workshops? Guided prompts? On the street (social distanced) theater workshops? Zoom panel discussions? Online theater classes for youth? If you have thoughts, please fill out this online survey .

Want to share the Free Street Love? You can download, print, and color out "Been Here/Still Here" mini poster for your window. Share your support via social media using the #FreeStreet #BeenHereStillHere hashtags! Click here to download.

With love and in solidarity,