Jackalope Theatre, a company founded and led by alumni and former students of the Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department, is featured in the Fall/Winter 2017 edition of Demo, the alumni magazine of Columbia College Chicago. The article, “The Birth of a Jackalope,” recounts how Jackalope began as a senior project in a theatre management techniques course, in which the students wrote a five-year plan for a fictional theatre company. After leaving Columbia, the students decided they wanted to turn their make-believe project into reality. Jackalope made its professional debut in August 2008 with the world premiere of Last Exodus of American Men, written by former Columbia College Theatre Department student Andrew Burden Swanson and co-directed by Columbia College alum Kaiser Ahmed ’08, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s Theatre Directing program, and former Columbia College student Gus Menary.
Now in its 10th season, Jackalope Theatre is recognized as one of Chicago’s most innovative and respected non-Equity “storefront” theatres. The company is housed in two venues in Chicago’s vibrant Edgewater Theatre District — a mainstage performance space in the Broadway Armory Park fieldhouse at 5917 N. Broadway and a storefront space, The Frontier, at 1106 W. Thorndale. As reported previously in this blog, in 2015 the company won the prestigious Broadway In Chicago Emerging Theatre Award, established to encourage, support, and promote young theatres in Chicago that have demonstrated great ability and promise, artistic excellence, and fiscal responsibility in business practices.
Among those interviewed in the Demo article are Jackalope co-founders Gus Menary, Kaiser Ahmed, and AJ Ware. Also interviewed is their former teacher, Columbia College Theatre Department faculty member Susan Padveen, who notes: “They [the Jackalope co-founders] had a great combination of interest and passion and talent. They were also open to the idea of the company helping people move forward and making connections in the Edgewater community, which is a hard skill to learn. Having their own stage early in the game allowed them to invite other people to come in and serve their world, but also gave them an identity tied to their location.” To read the article “The Birth of a Jackalope,” click here.
Jackalope’s current production, Franklinland, runs through February 24. For more information, click here.