Columbia College Chicago Theatre Dept. Alumni Bring Theatre and Gaming Together at Otherworld Theatre

Otherworld Theatre, a troupe founded and led by Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department alumni, is profiled in an article published May 27, 2020, by the Chicago Reader, Chicago’s longest-established alternative publication. Headlined “Otherworld Theatre Unites Gamers and Theater Nerds,” the article focuses on ways in which Otherworld’s founding artistic director — Columbia College alum Tiffany Keane Schaefer ’12, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s Theatre Directing program — has carved a unique niche for her company with forays into the world of Live Action Role Playing (LARP) streamed digitally in this time of pandemic-related shutdown for live performance venues.

Tiffany Keane Schaefer

“Role-playing games and theater seem so closely aligned that it’s surprising more companies haven’t fully embraced gamer culture as part of their aesthetic,” writes the Reader‘s theatre and dance editor, Columbia College alum Kerry Reid ’87. “And in pragmatic terms, there’s also a helluva big potential audience in gaming fans for theater companies eager to reach new patrons.”

Carly Davis

In another Reader article published June 17, 2020, Reid highlighted Otherworld’s summer programs for kids, including digital Live Action Role Playing summer camps and storytelling sessions. Columbia College alum Carly Davis ’19, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BA Program in Acting, is joining Otherworld as a Youth LARP instructor this summer.

Otherworld, located at 3914 N. Clark in Chicago, was founded specifically to produce and develop theatrical work grounded in the science fiction and fantasy genre. In recent years it has been successfully creating stronger connections between games and theater. As the Reader‘s Red writes: “Appropriately, the idea for Otherworld came to artistic director Tiffany Keane Schaefer while she was waiting in line for the midnight release of the video game Skyrim. Schaefer, who was studying directing at Columbia College Chicago at the time, notes that ‘there were a lot of discussions [in class] about “how do we engage young people in theater? Theater is dying, you know.” ‘ Looking around the line, Schaefer says she decided ‘these are my people and I wanted to have the theater where people are standing in line at midnight, talking about the narrative that they are going to explore.’ ” To read the full article, click here.