Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department Alumni Launch New Playwriting Initiative at Chicago’s Raven Theatre

Tyla Abercrumbie (Photo courtesy Raven Theatre)

The Chicago Tribune reports that Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department alumna Tyla Abercrumbie ’98 has been selected as the inaugural playwright in a new $25,000 play development initiative by Chicago’s Raven Theatre, whose artistic director is Columbia College alumnus Cody Estle ’11, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s Theatre Directing program. The new program will provide financial support to Abercrumbie as she develops new work and will also support ongoing workshops with actors and private or public readings during the development process.

Cody Estle (Photo: Joe Mazza)

“We hope to weave incredible new plays into the fabric of the American theatre through this exciting new initiative,” says Estle. “I’m thrilled to have commissioned playwright Tyla Abercrumbie to kick off this initiative. She is an artist of extreme depth who tackles each project with vulnerability, grace and humility. I cannot wait to read what she writes.”

As previously reported in this blog, Abercrumbie is a highly respected actor and playwright in Chicago. Her new play Relentless was scheduled for its world premiere in 2020 at Chicago’s TimeLine Theatre, where Abercrumbie is a company member, until the production was indefinitely postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. As an actor, Abercrumbie has appeared at the Goodman, Court, Northlight, Victory Gardens, and Chicago Shakespeare theatres as well as on TV’s The Chi, created by Columbia College alum Lena Waithe ’06, a graduate of Columbia’s Television Writing and Producing program.