Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department Alums Launch ‘Growing Voices’ Podcast to Document Youth Theatre Activity

Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department alumni and teaching artists Christopher Ellis ’94, Luis Crespo ’01, and Brian Shaw ’86 have launched Growing Voices, a serial podcast that showcases the process of youth theatre from building an ensemble to the generation and shaping of material through writing and rehearsal to final performance. The podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and at Growing Voices‘ website at

Growing Voices merges teen voices from two Chicago-area youth theatre programs: Voice of the City‘s United Voices and Collaboraction‘s Peacemakers teen theatre ensemble. The two organizations focus on creating theatre that is developed and performed by young artists under the leadership of professional teaching artists. The podcast is offered as an audio journey through the creative process to capture the sound and feel of youth and teaching artists collaborating “in the room.”

Christopher Ellis

Luis Crespo

Brian Shaw

Growing Voices‘ co-producers are teaching artists Christopher Ellis and Luis Crespo. Ellis is the associate artistic director and executive producer of Voice of the City, a multi-arts, community-based alliance based in Chicago’s Logan Square/Avondale neighborhood. Crespo is the director of youth programming at Collaboraction, where he mentors youth and young adults using theatre, music and creative writing to devise new performances for the stage. The project’s executive producer is Brian Shaw, a professor at the Theatre Department of Columbia College Chicago, the project’s third institutional partner. Crespo and Shaw are both graduates of the Theatre Department’s BA Program in Theatre.

Patrick Zalesko

The podcast’s sound designer and audio engineer is Columbia College alum Patrick Zalesko ’17, a Chicago-based audiophile freelance audio engineer who graduated with a BA in Audio Design and Production from the Columbia College Chicago Audio Arts and Acoustics Department.



Jared Grant