Around the Hood: Performing Arts Incubator Program

Pivot Arts and Loyola University’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts (DFPA) continue their partnership with a unique Performing Arts Incubator Program for artists, which includes mentorships for Loyola undergraduates throughout January and February 2015. The program provides companies and individual artists time and space to develop work that is innovative and often blurs the boundaries between music, dance, theater and other disciplines.  Students will work alongside professional artists on each project as performers, assistant directors, dramaturgs and production managers.

This year’s incubator includes works by Isaac Gomez, Laboratory for the Development of Substitute Materials (LDSM) and Vanessa Valliere.  The program will culminate with a free public showing of works-in-progress on Monday, February 23 at 7 pm at Loyola University’s Mundelein Center for the Fine and Performing Arts, 1020 W. Sheridan Road, 4th Floor, in Chicago. For reservations, e-mail

While there have long been solid development programs for playwrights at established Chicago theaters, Pivot Arts and Loyola’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts (DFPA) are teaming up to provide space to ensembles and partners who need time to develop original and collaborative work.  This is the third year of the Incubator Program; last year’s artists included: Blair Thomas, Mark Guarino and Jon Langford, Heart and Brains and The Dilettantes.

The incubator program begins with playwright and Literary Manager of Victory Gardens, Isaac Gomez, who is developing a play that integrates traditional Mexican music as a core storytelling component. Entitled, THE WOMEN OF JUAREZ, this ethnographic piece focuses on the mass murder of women in the Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, using testimonials of real women from the city, resulting in a multidisciplinary work that challenges the boundaries of traditional storytelling.

terraNOVA Collective continues to develop DON CHIPOTLE, a multi-medium play written by award winning playwright and performer Juan Villa. Inspired by the classic tale Don Quixote and Villa’s own experience growing up in the violent atmosphere of lower East Side Manhattan, DON CHIPOTLE uses puppetry, music, song and dialogue to create a magical adventure about an uninhibited child who has his childhood taken away.

Laboratory for the Development of Substitute Materials (LDSM) will develop STRUCTURAL REMAINS: A MEMORY EXPERIMENT, a devised piece based on abandoned buildings and the memories that remain. LDSM is a devised theatre collective consisting of Seth Bockley, Rachel Claff, Chloe Johnston, Ira S. Murfin, Kerensa Peterson, Angela Tillges and Seth Zurer. They seek to make collectively devised, research-based work that explores issues arising from scientific research and the built environment using the tools and techniques of theatre.

Vanessa Valliere combines puppetry and dance to create NICE TRY, an interactive clown show based around the idea of an impaired performer. Amidst an adventure of dolls, a burlesque show and mashed potatoes, Valliere’s well-meaning clown aims to please… and her utterly unique failure inevitably delights the audience. Valliere is a performer, clown, and proud nerd-cheerleader for Chicago’s own thirty-piece marching band, Mucca Pazza.

Photo Credits: 

Performer Vanessa Valliere, one of the featured artists in Pivot Arts’ and Loyola University’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts’ 2015 Performing Arts Incubator Program.  Photo by C.B. Lindsey.

A workshop of THE WOMEN OF JUAREZ by Isaac Gomez, one of the featured works in Pivot Arts’ and Loyola University’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts’ 2015 Performing Arts Incubator Program. Photo by David Burjstrom.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s