Free Street Theater
Board Position Details
We are looking for board members that share the radically inclusive values of our organization. We are particularly interested in individuals who have grown up in Chicago’s neighborhoods, and who make their living in Chicago’s for-profit sector.
- Board Term: Board members serve for a minimum of 2 years and can be elected to 3 consecutive terms. There are six meetings per year, with the expectation that board members will work on assigned tasks between board meetings.
- Financial Contribution: Board members are required to contribute financially.
- Faith-based Organization: We are not a faith-based organization.
- Skills: Legal, Human Resources, Accounting, Marketing
About Free Street Theater
For 50 years, Free Street Theater has used theater and public performance as a tool to defy Chicago’s racial and economic segregation, putting it at the forefront of the movement to create affordable, inclusive, and innovative theater in communities across Chicago. But just as Chicago has changed over the past 50 years, so have we.
The company started as a free street theater in the wake of Chicago’s 1968 riots. The first iteration of the Free Street ensemble, a multiracial and multigenerational group, performed for free in public spaces across the city in the hopes of attracting a diverse audience that might be drawn to a communal impulse: brotherhood over segregation. In the 1980’s, the company began creating community-engaged work, long-form projects that focused on creating theater with (rather than simply for) marginalized populations in the city. In the 1990’s, Free Street shifted its focus to using theater for youth education and empowerment, pioneering techniques and practices that are widely used today.
While our approach to designing radically inclusive performance has changed in response to the specific need of our communities, our fundamental mission has not: we believe in the theater as a powerful tool against the social barriers that seek to divide us.
Today Free Street’s work is multiracial, multilingual and multigenerational. We create performance by, for, about, with and in Chicago’s diverse communities, working with people ranging in age from 5 to 75 to investigate themes affecting Chicagoans, to incubate community stories, and to transform them into staged images full of spectacle. We are committed to challenging notions of who belongs in a theater and where theater belongs, and to building long-term and sustainable relationships in communities where access to arts is limited. We also seek to remove the economic barriers that keep people from participating in or attending theater, paying all of our collaborators, offering all of our programs on a free or pay-what-you-can model and providing free programming for children at shows and rehearsals.