Columbia College Chicago Alum Sets New Agenda for LGBTQ-Focused PrideArts Theatre with ‘Search for Identity’ Season

Jay Españo

The Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department congratulates Columbia College Chicago alum Jay Españo MFA ’16, a graduate of the college’s MFA program in film directing, who has been named artistic director of Chicago’s LGBTQ-focused PrideArts theatre company. Españo, 47, who also holds a Graduate Certificate in Laban Movement Analysis from Columbia College’s Dance Movement Therapy program, was born in Manila in the Republic of the Philippines. He is an actor, singer, and director with experience in both film and live performance — including acting credits at such Chicago theatres as Griffin Theatre, New Colony, and Silk Road Rising, where he appeared in The Hundred Flowers Project under the direction of Columbia College Theatre Department alum Joanie Schultz ’00, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s Theatre Directing program. His appointment as artistic director of PrideArts was covered by the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reader, Windy City Times, and other publications.

PrideArts’ 2021-22 season — the company’s first under Españo’s leadership — was announced June 25, 2021. Carrying the theme “The Search for Identity Among Queer Communities,” the season will explore the various ways in which queer people define themselves through the work of writers hailing from England, Australia, and the U.S. All performances will be held at the Pride Arts Center’s Broadway theatre at 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago.

The season opener will be the American premiere of The Things I Never Could Tell Steven, Australian writer Jye Bryant’s revue-style musical, directed by Españo and running August 19 through September 19.