A Red OrKids Youth Project

Youth Ensemble Group Picture 2

Thank you to all who attended our last Youth Project:


It was a great show and an amazing experience for everyone involved. Click Here to read more about THE HAVEN PLACE.


Youth Ensemble Mission

The Red Orchid Youth Ensemble seeks to produce new scripts and originally devised ensemble work for performance while maintaining an educational program that can serve its members in this pursuit.


Youth Ensemble History

pagaent_HappyDay_color.jpegAROT’s Youth Ensemble began In October of 2008 with A Very Merry Unauthorized Scientology Pageant. We first produced this show during our ’08-’09 season and it was so popular that we brought it back for our ’09-’10 season. We have also hosted a series of free theater training workshops on auditioning, improvisation, monologues, on-camera work, Commedia del’Arte, and clowning.

Iliad Image for Constant Contact In our ’10-’11 Season, we felt a new challenge was in order for both the Youth Ensemble and our audiences. We chose to stage The Illiad, Homer’s epic tale of the Trojan War. Previous Ensemble Member Craig Wright adapted this story specifically for the young women of our Youth Ensemble. The young actors involved gave performances beyond their years, earning rave reviews from Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune and a two-week extension.
In addition to the performances, we added an educational outreach component to the program. We welcomed area schools to special matinee performances, where they received a post-show discussion and/or pre-show workshop. The students we able to engage with the young actors from the show–a great example of kids teaching kids. Further, Larry Grimm, AROT’s Education Director went into several local schools and provided free workshops interrogating the question “In AROT’s The Illiad, how do the aspects of ritual and violence create narrative?” These workshops taught these students about history, plot, character, style, and theatricality and helped create “aha” moments in viewing the production.

The Youth Ensemble has also produced several projects outside the environs of the home theatre space. In 2010 and 2011, we produced 10 minute plays at Collaboraction’s Sketchbook. Also, in the summer of 2011, we were asked to perform an originally devised piece for Theatre 7’s Landmark Project. The Youth Ensemble composed a piece based on interviews conducted in Chicago’s Oz Park on the themes of courage, heart, and brains.

OUR-CITY-OURSELVES_ARedOrchidTheatre_MG_0680In 2013, AROT’s Youth Ensemble joined Steppenwolf Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre, Victory Gardens Theatre, Congo Square Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Writers’ Theatre, American Theatre Company, Chicago Public Library, Facing History and Ourselves, WBEZ, and many other organizations in creating theatre that provokes a conversation about youth violence. The Youth Ensemble’s contribution was a devised piece called Now is the Time, an original piece based on interviews with the ensemble’s friends, family, classmates, and teachers.


MacArthur Award 2016

Posted on March 21, 2016

  As many of you have heard, A Red Orchid Theatre has been named one of the 14 recipients of this year’s MacArthur Award for Creative & Effective Institutions.  We …

read more


Professional Development Series

A Red Orchid Theatre Professional Development: **This class is now full. Please check back for upcoming offerings and if you would like to be added to our contact list to …

read more