Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department alumni Jason Epperson (BA ’14) and Abigail Trabue (BA ’04) — artists, entrepreneurs, and husband and wife — have launched PerformInk, an online publication devoted to Chicago’s thriving theatre scene. PerformInk will be a rolling-news website with a weekly e-mail edition.
The new PerformInk is a reboot of a Chicago theatre and film trade publication founded in 1987 as a quarterly newspaper. The paper went biweekly in 1989, and then switched to an online-only format in 2009, finally shutting down in 2011. The Eppersons purchased the dormant publication from its longtime owner and publisher, Carrie Kaufman, and the new digital edition of Performink went online March 22, 2016. The same day, the Chicago Reader — Chicago’s leading alternative weekly paper — reported the news in its column about the business of the arts.
PerformInk carries theatre news, reviews, opinion essays, listings, and advertisements. It’s a go-to source for audition notices and job opportunities. The site will also eventually include the old PerformInk archives, a significant repository of Chicago theater history.
Contributors to this new site so far include Columbia College alumni Erin Shea Brady (BA ’13), a graduate of the Theatre Department’s directing program, and Tonika Todorova (BA ’02), a graduate of the department’s Theatre BA program, as well as Naima Dawson (MFA ’06), a graduate of the Columbia College Creative Writing Department‘s Poetry MFA program.
Epperson is a graduate of the Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department’s Theatre Design Bachelor of Arts program. Trabue is a graduate of the Theatre Department’s Musical Theatre Bachelor of Arts program. Both have worked extensively in Chicago theatre — Epperson as a designer and producer, Trabue as an actor, director, and casting coordinator for plays and musicals — and have also taught at the Columbia College Theatre Department. Epperson is also the head of Lotus Theatricals, a management and production company. Previously, he was executive director of the Greenhouse Theater Center and, prior to that, was general manager and producer at the Mercury Theater, both in Chicago.
“Fifteen years ago I arrived in Chicago ready to pursue my love of musical theater at Columbia College Chicago and then become a part of the Chicago theater community,” writes Trabue in her editor’s welcome to the website. “PerformInk made me feel connected to a vast and rich theater community, and a part of something so very exciting and ever-changing. I was an actor, and PerformInk was my link to all that was going on. Fast forward to 2016 and here we are on the cusp of a PerformInk rebirth. . . . The pressure is intense, and the excitement is palpable. . . . PerformInk has come out of hibernation.”
Trabue also notes that “PerformInk is a work in progress; it will change as the days and weeks go on, as we build back the reputation and become even more connected to Chicago. . . . PerformInk, above all, is a home for the Chicago performing arts industry, and we want to hear from you, and we want you to be a part of this. As we grow PerformInk will become a home for not just theater, but all types of entertainment. A voice to highlight just how rich and diverse Chicago artists are. So, have an idea? Something you want to suggest PerformInk focus on? Let me know. My door is always open, no idea is too small or too big. Art is ever-changing; life is ever-changing, and PerformInk will continue to change too.”
‘Art is ever-changing; life is ever-changing, and PerformInk will continue to change too.’
–Abigail Trabue (BA ’04), Managing Editor, PerformInk