Senn High School Students to Perform at Jackalope’s Frontier Theatre After Rave Reviews by the Chicago Sun-Times

After their amazing performances last month, the students at Senn are at it again!

Hailed as “remarkable,” “talented,” and “magnificent,” The Yard, founded in 2015, is a collective of Senn Arts Magnet High School students who have formed artistic alliances with professional theatre companies throughout Chicago. The Yard is currently in alliance with The Hypocrites, Raven Theatre, and Jackalope Theatre Company.

We heard from Kaiser Ahmed, Associate Artistic Director & Founder at Jackalope this afternoon who wanted to invite the neighborhood to the student’s upcoming show, I & You by Lauren Gunderson.

“…on a personal note, I just want to say, my god are these kids talented! The artistic staff of The Yard have done more than most would expect from a high school aged ensemble. All of us at Jackalope Theatre are wildly impressed and proud to be presenting the final show of their break-out debut season.”

The cast for I & You features Olivia Shine (Caroline) and Tevion Lanier (Anthony).

The production team for I & You features Dana Murphy (director), Joel Ewing and Mechelle Moe (co-artistic directors), Andrew Burden Swanson (set design), Claire Sangster (lighting design), Dana Murphy (costume design), Ashley Busse and Olivia Shine (props design and set dressing), Cleo Shine (sound design), and Albert Warner (stage manager).

One afternoon, Anthony arrives unexpectedly at classmate Caroline’s door bearing a beat-up copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, an urgent assignment from their English teacher. Homebound due to illness, Caroline hasn’t been to school in months, but she is as quick and sardonic as Anthony is athletic, sensitive, and popular. As these two let down their guards and share their secrets, this seemingly mundane poetry project unlocks a much deeper mystery that has brought them together. I and You is an ode to youth, life, love, and the strange beauty of human connectedness.

Location The Frontier:
1106 W Thorndale, Chicago

Dates & Times:
Friday, February 19th 8:00pm
Saturday, February 20th 8:00pm
Sunday, February 21st 3:00pm

Friday, February 26th 8:00pm
Saturday, February 27th 8:00pm
Sunday, February 28th 3:00pm

Friday, March 4th 8:00pm
Saturday, March 5th 8:00pm
Sunday, March 6th 3:00pm

$15 (General Admission)
$10 (CPS Student)

Get tickets via

Don’t just take Kaiser’s word for it though, here is what some had to say of their first two shows in the neighborhood:

Milk Like Sugar

“Pop quiz: Where will you find some of the most honest, moving, skillful acting on any Chicago stage at the moment? Answer: You might be surprised to hear this, but it is at Raven Theatre, where a remarkable company of (mostly) teenage actors — students in the arts magnet program of Senn High School, who are members of a unique theater company there called The Yard” – Chicago Sun-Times, Hedy Weiss

“…the show is authentic in a way that it can only be when adolescents play themselves. But without reading the program bios you would never guess these young actors were not stage veterans…“Milk Like Sugar” is just further proof that something extraordinary is at play here.” – Chicago Sun-Times, Hedy Weiss

“a truly remarkable production…audiences will be treated to a play of uncommon empathy and honesty that is one of the richest portrayals of inner-city life that I’ve yet seen on a Chicago stage…I used the adjective “remarkable” to describe the production of “Milk Like Sugar” as no mere hyperbole.” – Chicago Theatre Review

“Milk Like Sugar” is undeniably bleak at times, but again, it’s a testament to the talents of Raven and The Yard that the play does not become an unrequited downer.” – Chicago Theatre Review

“Of course, calling them “kids” is misleading. These young actors fill Greenidge’s demanding roles with fury and grace. On stage, they possess all the confidence that their respective characters lack. While the play’s title alludes to an empty substitution, these performances are nutrient-dense, nourishing the spirit of the performers and audiences alike.” – NewCity, Kevin Greene

“But these guys are anything but low achieving—their performances are universally strong, the cast negotiating the emotional twists with grace and power. Honestly, this ensemble could hold its own in any non-Equity production in town.” – Jack Helbig, Chicago Reader

The 4th Graders Present an Unnamed Love Suicide

“as well as the remarkable youth ensembles of Senn Arts Magnet School High School’s The Yard, in conjunction with The Hypocrites (in “The Fourth Graders Present an Unnamed Love-Suicide”), who turned in uncannily brilliant performances in roles that required them to dominate the stage.” – Chicago Sun-Times, Hedy Weiss The Best Theatre of 2015

“the students of The Yard do a magnificent job carrying the play’s humor and heft. The value of their work is simple though its execution is anything but. This is work for the young, by the young. It is only a matter of how we decide to define that term.” – NewCity, Kevin Greene

“Joel Ewing and Mechelle Moe’s stylized revival, coproduced by the Hypocrites and the Yard, gains considerable poignancy from being performed by a talented cast of Senn High School students only a few years older than the characters they play.” – Chicago Reader, Zac Thompson

“Poignant, entertaining, and memorable,The 4th Graders Present an Unnamed Love-Suicide reminds me why I go to the theatre.” – Night Out Reviews, Ryan Anderson

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