Illinois Theatre Association

Niles West High School is looking for a temporary, but Full-Time, Theatre teacher for the 2020-2021 school year. 

McHenry West HS is seeking a Fall Play Director for the 2020-21 school season.

North Shore Country Day School in Winnetka, IL, is seeking a costumer for the 2020/2021 school year. 

Lincoln College seeks a part-time Technical Director to supervise backstage production needs for the academic year 2020-2021.

Parkland College is 
searching for an Assistant Technical Director responsible for assisting  the Theatre Director.

Click Here for ALL 
Job Details, or to Submit 
a Job Posting.


American Association
of Community Theatre 
announces its guidelines
for submitting your 
excerpt  to AACT for
Applications will be accepted from 7/1/2020 to 11/1/2020. 
Click here for details on  AACTFest 2021 and other opportunities.

Click here  for ALL Audition Details, or to Submit an Audition.
No Items to Report.

Visit the  
ITA Performance Calendar  for all performance details, and to submit YOUR performance. 

Illinois Theatre Association

The ITA is a network of dedicated theatre artists and educators  advocating quality theatre throughout Illinois.  Please join us!

113 Fairfield Way,
Studio 108 
Bloomingdale, IL  60108
312-265-5922 (office)


The Illinois Theatre 
Association is partially 
supported by a grant from 
the Illinois Arts Council, 
a state agency.  
eFOLLOWSPOT   July , 2020




On behalf of the Illinois High School Theatre Festival Planning Committee and the Illinois Theatre Association, we regret to notify you that due to restrictions regarding the Covid-19 crisis, the 2021 Illinois High School Theatre Festival is being postponed until January 2022. This was a very difficult choice, but keeping the safety and well-being of our ITA members and their students was paramount in making this decision. For more information,   click here 




ITA's Annual Red Carpet Gala will go virtual this year! Join us in a celebration of the magic of theatre as we address challenges faced, explore creative endeavors to meet these challenges, and applaud ITA's Award of Excellence Recipients for outstanding contributions.  ITA's Annual Membership Meeting will take place virtually the next day, Sunday, August 30th. Stay tuned for details.



Do you know of an individual or organization making outstanding contributions in the field of theatre? The ITA is seeking nominations for its prestigious Awards of Excellence in College/University Theatre, Community Theatre, Creative Drama, Professional Theatre, Secondary School Theatre, and Theatre for Young Audiences.   Click here  for details. The deadline for nominations has been extended to Sunday, July 19th.

By Cassandra Quinn, 
ITA Theatre for Young Audience Rep.

Our new committee, focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion, is seeking your stories and ideas. Our committee is so new we don't even have a name to share as of yet. (We have a few "working names" but are open to your suggestions.)

The first call for stories and ideas is for your thoughts regarding inclusion and exclusion within our own organization. Share your perception of our historical track record with our survey here. T o protect your privacy and allow you to speak as freely as possible, you may choose to stay anonymous in this survey.

As a little thank you for completing the survey, if you choose to share your email with us, you'll be entered to win a $25 Visa gift card!

The Illinois Theatre Association understands we have a responsibility to diversity, equity, and inclusion in ways that we've never been purposefully committed to before. 

We've formed this new committee to create and implement actionable solutions to our short-comings as we work to identify them within our organization, our industry, and our world.

We're late to the conversation. We're late to our own education. We're late to the actions needed. We regret our tardiness to this work and are sorry for the added hurt our delay has caused. 

Going forward we're committed to staying engaged, active, and doing what we can to help make up for lost time. Diversity, equity, inclusion and allyship all require long-lasting commitment to action. There will never be a point in which our work on this will be complete. 

This new committee's goals and aspirations cast a wide net and we're simultaneously working on many pieces that will hopefully bring about much-need changes within our organization and within the theatre community. 

One aspect that we're working to improve is listening. Listening is only a part of our job - but one that we know as an organization we haven't always successfully done. Surveying the membership regularly for input on the work that the board and committees are doing is one way we're committed to listening better. That begins with this survey! 

This committee has been working on self-examination of our organization including taking stock of the ways that our organization has been identified as being inclusive and exclusive.

We want to share some of that work with you now and ask for you to share your voice with us as well. After reading the list below, please share any personal experiences that highlight the identified areas in our survey. We encourage you to also add additional thoughts we have missed about exclusion and inclusion within the ITA.  

Some ways that we've identified as areas the ITA already had been striving for Inclusiveness prior to this commitment includes:  
  • Divisional representation (Creative Drama, Theatre for Young Audiences, Secondary School Theatre, College/University Theatre, Professional Theatre, Community Theatre)
  • Regional representation represents all areas of the state: click here for regional map.
  • The creation of the Illinois High School Theatre Festival's State-wide Inclusion Committee
  • Program availability to members and non-members
  • Programs available to all (regardless of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, age, national origin, ancestry, physical and mental differences, veteran's status, citizenship status or other individual identifier)
  • All ages represented in membership 18-senior
We acknowledge that all of the identified areas above need improvement and our work in those areas will be ongoing along with our new commitments.

Some ways we've identified that people have felt excluded historically:
  • Invitations to events don't feel like they are for everyone; invitations lack specificity
  • Though all are welcome and invited to events, the attendance and participation does not reflect the state's diversity in theatre, thus reflects a defacto exclusiveness 
  • ITA can feel too Chicago-centric or Chicago vs. the rest of the state; most events happen near Chicago
  • Members are not engaged properly at events to make sure they are receiving value from event and feeling valued at the event
  • We do not celebrate and highlight our own "good work" within membership so accomplishments of members feel overlooked or undervalued
  • Cross-pollination between divisions is not consistently executed
  • Members' skill sets are not realized so their abilities and value feels overlooked
  • There is a lack of diversity in staff, board, and membership
  • ITA's leadership feels exclusive (e.g. Same people are involved in committees, board, etc.)
  • The Annual Awards have a limited scope of nominations
  • The same people attend ITA's Annual Gala each year
  • The relationship between board members, committees, and staff can feel distant
  • The Illinois High School Theatre Festival is sometimes seen as a separate event; the relationship between it and its parent organization, the ITA, is not realized
  • The same schools are involved in the IHSTF every year
  • Membership perks offered at events may feel unnecessarily exclusive to non-members (e.g. hospitality room at Professional auditions)
There's new space for your voice within the ITA. Please fill it - as you're the only one who can. We are interested in hearing from you. We are better and stronger for it. Be a part of the conversation by filling out this survey! (And you could just win $25 for sharing your ideas!)

Introduction by Gaby Labotka, 
ITA Professional Theatre Rep.

It is important to lift up the voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) artists in our community.   We See you W.A.T. is a call on white theatre makers and white-centered theatre organizations to actually improve working situations for BIPOC artists. In  BIPOC 's  statement to the White American Theatre, August Wilson's legacy is called upon as a foundation.

Dear White American Theatre,
We come together as a community of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) theatremakers, in the legacy of August Wilson's "The Ground on Which I Stand," to let you know exactly what ground we stand on in the wake of our nation's civic unrest.

We see you. We have always seen you. We have watched you pretend not to see us. Click here for the rest of the statement.  Click here to view and download the list of demands. 
How are you working to make sure your theatre serves not only all audiences, but all artists?
Statementism and Tweak-o-nomics
By Esther A Armash,
Submitted by Don Shandrow, 
ITA Community Theatre Rep.

Black Lives Matter. In statement after statement, corporate giants, tech companies, the world of publishing, arts and entertainment, retail companies, finance all declare these 3 words. Social media is swimming in these corporate affirmations, videos, interviews and more. 
Tech giants, sports organizations, big banks, art institutions, academic institutions - their statements are co
Esther A. Ahmah
Esther A. Armah
ming thick and fast. 
Across the US and the UK, global corporations, institutions, sectors are crafting, devising and delivering statements that condemn racist violence, articulate their horror and outrage at the death of George Floyd, declare black lives matter and commit to do better on issues of systemic racism within their organization. They swoop into this moment, waving statements and weaving narratives of new worlds.  They all say variations of the same thing, they've been wrong, done wrong, they make apologies, a commitment to do better, and usually somewhere on their Statement, they profess Black Lives Matter. The Statements are making headlines and filling timelines. 
Click here for the rest of the article.

Back to Top
By Chronicle of Higher Education
Introduction by Steven House, 
ITA College/University Theatre Rep.

As the summer continues, I find my mind running through all sorts of questions. How can I safely teach this Fall? How do I social distance in the classroom? How do I integrate the new freshmen, transfer, and graduate students to Western Illinois University this Fall? How do I prepare my classes to go online at a moments notice? How do I prepare for individual students or myself to be quarantined at a moment's notice? How do you do rehearsals? How do you invite an audience to see a performance? As these swirl in my head I keep coming back to Rick Arnold's reminder and charge from the May eFollowspot: " We are well trained in adapting. We are collaborators. We are pla nners. We are creative. We develop these talents and skills through the process of creating our art. We will continue to share with our fellow artists. And, if history tells us anything about what the future holds, we will be creating wonderfully new art after this pandemic."
I try my best right now to keep looking for information and facts as I plan for the upcoming school year. To prepare me to continue to be the collaborator, the planner, the creator, and to be that person for my students. As more information gets posted I will be sharing the college and university related articles to the ITA's College/University Theatre Group Facebook page. To start, here is the information from The Chronicle of Higher Education on what form of teaching Colleges and Universities are operating under this Fall. Click here for the full article.

A 2020 Theatre Commencement Speech
By Rein Kristine Comia, Graduated Senior,
Morton West HS

In 1786, Thomas Reid once said something along the lines of, "We are only as strong as our weakest link." This is an important lesson I've kept in the back of my head throughout my years as a performing arts student, and never did I think it would be so relevant to today's generation of adolescents who work as leaders, educators, mediators, and game changers during a period of global crises. My theatre director screamed and praised these words at the top of her lungs right before our opening nights, although it never m ade sense to me when I first heard it as a sophomore, Seussical the Musical . I never truly understood the importance of unity, especially during a time where outdated beliefs and ideals still roam and wear ignorance as a mask to hide other underlying pandemics, until I first experienced the job of a leader. As a child, my social anxiety always kept me shy and hidden away from so many opportunities, and I was never confident I would be what one would call a "role model."

Growing up, I always integrated myself into the fine arts, and I've always considered myself a multidisciplinary student. I first learned how to sing, draw, paint, and write when I was really young and inspired by the influences of art in my Filipino family and my neighborhood. Then, I taught myself certain skills in media arts, such as video editing, animation, photography, and graphic designing. However, music was my primary form of expression and the source of
Rein Kristine
Rein Kristine
 my knowledge in performing arts, and as I grew older, theatre became my rock, two-thirds of my daily routine, and something I genuinely loved that kept me going through life. It helped me to build up my authority and my awareness of my surroundings.

For the past two years, I've been a part of 16th Street IMPACT at 16th Street Theater, and this past year, I had the wonderful opportunity of leading the program, and it has played a huge role in my performing career, from getting accepted to my dream college, to earning a theatre scholarship from my sister school. From being a Who, a hunter, and a Hunch, to a director, a playwright, and a teaching artist. Through that transition, I gradually learned how to be unapologetically myself and my confidence in performing grew as I surrounded myself with people who pushed me past my limits and helped me to realize where my potential really lies. Not only did theatre become the largest aspect of my growth, but it also highlighted and showcased the true meaning of unity to me with the extraordinary experiences I've had to work with people of all ages, races, gender identities, sexualities, and more in the industry who take on different jobs and responsibilities. I will always appreciate the welcoming and diverse environment of the stage, and I will forever acknowledge the difficult process of piecing a production together because as artists, that's what keeps us wanting to learn more and work persistently, and that's what keeps our collaborations and bonds vigorous. And, statistically, enrollment in art classes and programs helps students to improve their skills in critical thinking, open mindedness, creativity, and collaboration. Art literally promotes unity within a community, and to me, it's such a beautiful thing.

Being a high school senior who graduated in the Class of 2020, you'd figure that I'm outraged and outpouring with anger over the remainder of my youth being taken away from me. Over the moments I've been waiting to witness and experience for eighteen years. Over the once in a lifetime opportunities an eighteen year old can dream about and can now only continue to see in movies. It is difficult, and it is saddening to watch the plans of my graduation, my prom, and my last few high school productions being thrown away. But even through the isolation and the countless what-ifs, I was fortunate enough to live in a school environment and  exist in a generation where we make the best out of every situation. Although I cannot speak for my entire class, the idea of memories and making them has always been important to our adolescence, and it is what drives us to come together and support each other in every possible way, as it should be throughout our entire lives.  High school was another important factor of my knowledge in unity, as divided as the environment of my high school was, I knew our class was truly special for we still persist. No pandemic can puncture our bonds and our need for emotional connections.

Obviously at this point, we're expected to distance ourselves from others and keep ourselves in self-isolation, but as the events continue to unfold and different opinions continue to separate people, now is the time to unite. In a production, one event cannot happen and the storyline cannot progress without an important action of one or more actors, and that concept applies to real world problems. Throughout my life, division slowed the progression of my growth as a person and my relationships with those close to me, as it has for many people. Over the years, division between people has proven interruptions in innovation and change. However, now is not the time for that. Now is the time to educate, take accountability, and thoroughly understand where certain morals apply in our lives. Now is the time to support, love, and acknowledge each other's differences and complexities and learn how we can use that to improve ourselves. Love unconditionally. Do with intention. Be with intention. Our generation is so powerful. With the versatility and the strong loud vocals we have, we are so aware of where our potential lies. We are the generation of change. The sooner we wield those tools, the sooner we can understand the importance of unity and implement the change we need today.

Many performing artists have been questioning what the future has in store for us and where we're able to showcase our creativity. With the many restrictions we've had to follow, the stage will face the audience differently, and performers will continue to search for suitable platforms. Rehearsal processes will run differently, but communication will strengthen. Just as my high school class persisted in keeping us together regardless of the circumstances, artists will too as nothing can diminish our flamboyant spirits. No pandemic or racial war can reverse our energy and stamina we showcase on a stage, and our love and passion to express ourselves with our minds and bodies. Regardless of where and how we perform, nothing can take away our true intentions as artists and how we decide to show that. Whether six feet or six inches apart, nothing can break the community of creative souls and what we decide to share with those who question our art. We have to keep them questioning. We have to keep them curious. We have to keep them a part of the beautiful chaos that can change.

Back to Top 
By Elisabeth Westphal, 
ITA  Creative Dramat Rep.

This year I attended the first-ever, virtual International Thespian Festival which is sponsored by the Educational Theatre Association. This event was held over five days and geared toward high school theatre students and their sponsors/ teachers. I found many of the workshops interesting but the one that really resonated with me was about how to work on a live production in the time of the Covid 19 crisis. 

I know that as many K-8 teachers prepare to return 
Diane A Bryll
Diane A. Bryll
to school, it is with a mixture of excitement and apprehension. While the presentation was aimed towards directing musicals, I found the presenter Dee Anne Bryll's suggestions about how  to safely do a live performance helpful. For a musical she suggested rehearsing the vocal work on line and blocking and choreography in person.

Her suggestions for rehearsal included: 
  • Stage the scenes so that they can be rehearsed in very small groups.
  • Make sure the block is contact free and is in a socially safe distance.
  • Shorten rehearsals
  • Explore rehearsing in large spaces or outside.
  • Limit coming and going of cast members.
For the production Ms. Bryll suggested:
  • Work out traffic patterns backstage so that there is a safe distance.
  • Have UVC sanitation for costumes or have the students provide their own costumes and makeup.
  • Push the scenic design upstage to provide distance for the audience. 
  • Adjust call times so that everyone is not arriving at the same time.
For the performance itself, there were steps to ensure the safety of your audience:
  • Have digital programs.
  • Space audience with social distance with every other row empty and patron groups six feet apart.
  • Have the audience wait outside until it is time for the auditorium to open. 
  • Have the audience enter in small groups. 
  • Dismiss the audience at the end row by row.
  • Have live streaming to accommodate more audience members.
The EDT has also published a guide entitled Recommendations for Reopening School Theatre Programs; Theatre programs in the Time of Covid 19. Click here for the EDTA website for a copy or contact me at for more information.

By Stacy Deemar, ITA Member

Actors should utilize social media to build their professional brand and showcase their work with peers and industry experts in real-time.  Some popular social media platforms that many artists utilize include Backstage, Actors Access, Casting Networks, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.  With so many different options to connect with the entertainment business, which platform(s) are most beneficial to an actor?

Backstage is a network of entertainment professional that focuses on casting, job opportunities, and career advice.  Backstage includes breakdowns (complete synopses of the characters contained within scripts), database of casting notices including major studios, network productions, Broadway, independent films, student films, audition lists, casting coverage in every state, and a headshot and resume talent database which are available to both actors and directors. 

With a yearly subscription, the actor can set up a profile on the preexisting template that includes:  appearance, union membership, skills, credits, representation, education and training, license and passport.  The Backstage format includes the ability to upload headshots, video reels, audio files, a resume, and links to additional sources.  Moreover, the actor can be notified of jobs through their automated system. publishes a weekly electronic magazine called Backstage Magazine that covers industry news, advice from professionals in the field, entertainment-industry listings, and reviews.  This is an excellent resource for actors.

Actors Access
Actors Access is an online platform for actors to maintain their profiles that include headshots, resumes, skills and attributes, video reels, and audio files on a preexisting template.  The actor's profile and first two headshots are free.  A nominal fee is required to attach video and/or audio files.  

Casting directors use Actors Access to submit actors directly to projects as well as send actors breakdowns.  Talent representatives are able to view the breakdowns and submit their talent's profiles on this platform too.

Actors Access has additional tools not found on other platforms that are beneficial to the actor.  First, talent can view breakdowns and submit directly to the project for a nominal fee.  There is also an internal messaging system that can notify the actor via his personal email account about upcoming projects.  Finally, the actor can record a seven second slate that can be included in his submissions. 

Casting Networks
Casting directors and agents use Casting Networks to manage talent for film, television, and commercials, communicate with talent, make submissions, create schedules, and share audition and video information.  Talent that is represented by an agent is given an agency code to create a free Casting Networks profile and resume on their preexisting templates.  The profile includes: ethnicity, gender, union affiliations, size card, sports, languages and dialects, music and dance, combat, and other skills.  The resume format includes: one headshot and fields for commercial, film, modeling, voice-over, comedy, theater, training, and skills.  Furthermore, video and audio reels can be attached to the resume.  There is a fifteen dollar fee to add each additional headshot to the resume or an eight dollar per month fee to include unlimited photos.  

Auditions for talent who have representation will come in the form of an electronic audition ticket from Casting Networks with the day, time, location, project name, project type, character breakdown, shoot dates, location, notes, rate, usage, callbacks, and sides.  The sides are a portion of the script that the actor will read during the audition and they are sent in advance of the audition in order for the actor to prepare.

If talent is represented by more than one agency in Chicago, the actor can link all of his profiles with one username and password.  This platform is also designed for actors to view posted jobs and make their own submissions for a nominal fee.  Unfortunately, talent are unable to view the projects that their representation has submitted on their behalf.

The actor can also create a direct link to his Casting Networks profile to share with industry professionals and receive email notices for principal and extra roles on the site.  

Non-represented talent can purchase a yearly membership to Casting Networks for twenty-five dollars.  The basic membership package includes one headshot, one video reel, unlimited updates to resume and digital size card, profile searchable by casting directors and agents, and a personalized URL to their online resume.

LinkedIn is a free social and professional virtual network where career and business professionals connect.  This is another great platform for the actor to promote his talents and connect with others in the industry.  The actor can create a profile that includes a resume, education, training, skills, headshots, publications, awards, and links to access video and audio reels.  Furthermore, there is a designated area for the actor to include endorsements and recommendations that is not found on other media cites. 

The actor's profile in this platform is accessible to all LinkedIn members who sign in to and the LinkedIn app.  For those without a LinkedIn account, a public profile displays a simplified version of the actor's profile.  Furthermore, the actor can customize their public profile and control what sections of his profile he wants to appear publicly.

This platform is unique in that it allows an employer to post a job and search and contact potential candidates.  The actor can use this site to research companies, interviewers, recruiters, and hiring managers in addition to join interest based and professional groups. There are motivational and educational articles on various topics that are available to LinkedIn members.   Finally, some of the exclusive features of this platform include status updates, blogging capabilities, and private messages. 

Facebook is a free real-time social networking service that allows the actor to be "friends" with other Facebook members.  The actor creates a profile in a preexisting format that includes a profile picture, bio, details, hobbies, features, and links.  Unlike Backstage, Actors Access, Casting Networks, and LinkedIn that is designed for the actor to including a full resume with multimedia, Facebook only allows the bio to be 101 characters.

Actors can post texts, photos, and multimedia which is shared with other users that have agreed to be their "friend".  Some of the other special features on this platform include fans, wall, news feed, fan pages, groups, apps, live chats, like, polls, links, status, pokes, and messaging.  Similar to LinkedIn, Facebook users can join common-interest groups and receive notifications of Facebook friends' activities.

Instagram is a free social networking mobile app made for sharing photos and videos from a smartphone.  The actor can create an account through his existing Facebook account or by email.   By creating a profile that includes their name, brief bio, photo and a website link if applicable, the actor can follow or be followed by other Instagram users.

A profile is automatically set to public which means anyone has access to the actor's profile, photos, and videos.  The actor has the option to change the setting to private and approve each request to be followed.

In order to gain followers, the actor can follow their friends on Facebook that also have accounts on Instagram.  This connection can be made when setting up the initial Instagram account.  To find or add more friends, the actor can browse through recommended posts and look for specific users or hashtags by using the search tab.  Once the actor identifies a picture or video that piques his interest, he can like, comment, tag, or private message the user.

Instagram is a great way for the actor to introduce himself to people in the industry by liking them, commenting on their post, or just by following them.  This methods puts the actor in front of the industry professional without having to get an appointment.  The other advantage to posting videos and pictures on this platform is that it keeps his followers abreast of what he is working on in real-time.  
Which platform should an actor utilize?  The best answer is the more social media platforms an actor uses, the more likely the actor can keep connected with the business.  As a gentle reminder, the actor must keep all social media platforms current and respect the delicate balance of sharing information without becoming a nuisance. 

Now...go get connected!