(VIDEO) MANIFEST RISES! Columbia College Chicago Theatre Dept. Video Performances Highlight 2020 Manifest Urban Arts Festival in Its Digital Debut — Online May 11-15!


Columbia College Chicago‘s student-powered Manifest Urban Arts Festival makes its digital debut this year, going online for its landmark 20th annual edition May 11 through 15, and the Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department will be proudly participating! To access the Theatre Department’s online performances and exhibits, click here.

Rising up in the spirit of determination and refusing to be stopped by the destructive and disruptive force of COVID-19, Columbia College Chicago’s Manifest Urban Arts Festival will be held online for the first time in its 19-year history at manifest.colum.edu. From Monday, May 11, through Friday, May 15, festival attendees can shelter in place and enjoy interactive programs created and curated by nearly 2,000 Columbia student artists. The weeklong schedule includes daily musical performances on the Mainstage, gallery exhibitions, dance and theatre performances, and much more.

This year’s theme, Manifest Rises, is even more relevant now than when it was originally chosen last fall. Manifest Rises calls the Columbia community to rise as empowered artists, rise above negativity, rise to challenges, rise as global citizens, and rise together. “Our students are the essence of talent, creativity, professionalism, and resilience. They are unstoppable in their determination to RISE,” says Assistant Dean of Students Kari Sommers.

Columbia College Theatre Department offerings for Manifest 2020 include:

Keli Garrett

Brian Shaw

Brian Shaw

* SPACE — video of by the opening production of the Theatre Department’s 2019-2020 Mainstage Season. The play was written by Columbia College alum Keli Garrett ’91, recipient of the 2020 Madeleine Moore Burrell Playwriting Fellowship, an academic residency established with support from Columbia College Board of Trustees member Madeline Moore Burrell to advance Columbia College Chicago student learning, to support new play development by providing resident playwrights with resources and time to write, and to strengthen Columbia’s commitment to cultural inclusion by exposing faculty and students to a broad pool of playwrights, particularly those representing communities of color. The production — directed by Theatre Department alumnus and faculty member Brian Shaw ’86, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BA Program in Theatre — featured an all-student cast and a design/production team of faculty, alumni, and students. SPACE washes the 1927 Mississippi Floods into the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The collision of these two historical events exposes harsh truths that disasters – natural or man-made – have a way of revealing how easily a civil society can crumble under the weight of racial terror and environmental upheaval.

Amy Uhl

* LIVIN OUT LOUD — The Theatre Department’s performance of this devised tap piece with original music and spoken word is set in a post-apocalyptic time where a group of students set their sights on resisting tradition and creating a new artistic world. Directed by Amy Uhl, associate professor in the Theatre Department’s Musical Theatre Program, with choreography by Time Brickey and music direction by Ryan Tucker.


* MAINSTAGE MONTAGE A thrilling montage of moments from the Theatre Department’s 2019-2020 Mainstage Season productions.


* BFA Theatre: Sustain in Place, Tinder Not So Tender, and The Sylvia Plath Effect

Graduating students in the Theatre Department’s BFA Program in Acting presentzs a showcase of original content that explores connectivity in a time of isolation. Performers interact with a variety of digital platforms, exposing how the platforms reveal our sometimes awkward attempts to say what we mean–and to mean what we say. The performance takes place Thursday, May 14, at 3:30 PM Central Standard Time (4:30 PM EST), via Youtube. For more information go to https://www.facebook.com/BFA-Showcase-2020-111801950521677/.
Stephanie Shaw

Stephanie Shaw

* SOLO PERFORMANCE BRILLIANCE — Laughter! Tears! Orthodontia! Students present a program of self-created solo performance pieces under the tutelage of Theatre  Department alum and faculty member Stephanie Shaw ’92, MFA ’09.

Paul Amandes

Paul Amandes


Six original works by students in the Theatre Department’s Playwriting program are performed by first-year acting students under the direction of faculty member Paul Amandes.



Student fighters and fight choreographers from the Theatre Department’s Stage Combat program present heart-stopping theatrical battle moves.



@ Midnight by Whisper Theatre Collective

The second annual Third Mask Festival, presented virtually at www.thirdmaskfestival.com, is a platform for new performative works promoting ensemble-based, devised performance that de-centers traditional script-first models of theatre-making by showcasing concepts of the poetic body, movement-based theatre, the personal as performative, and ensemble creation. The festival will showcase five new performances that double as the thesis projects of the Theatre Department’s cutting-edge MFA Program in European Devised Performance Practice candidates. This year, Third Mask Festival is also proud to present a guest performance by the Whisper Theatre Collective, a group of European Devised Performance Practice alumni and Third Mask Festival founders. This festival is a collaborative production with students in the Columbia College Chicago Business and Entrepreneurship Department. For more information, click here or click here.