Cultural Affairs reclaiming Storefront operations

FOUR STAFF MEMBERS who work with the city’s theater program, largely responsible for running the downtown Storefront Theater, will be out of work as of June 30.

The terminations arise from the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) ending its own relationship with the Office of Tourism and Culture, which has been responsible for overseeing the Storefront since early 2011, according to Kris Vire in Time Out Chicago, DCASE is taking back the operations of the Storefront, in the Gallery 37 Center for the Arts, which routinely programs work from small companies around the city.

The laid-off employees are the director of theater and dance, ticketing and patron services manager, theater program assistant, and Storefront Theater technical coordinator.

According to Vire’s report, DCASE public relations director Cindy Gatziolis has stated that the Storefront will not be going away.  Although the former employees may reapply for their jobs once the program moves back into DCASE’s bailiwick, there are no guarantees that the same people will be re-hired.

SPEAKING OF BAILIWICKS: Bailiwick Chicago announces that Lili-Anne Brown takes the reins as artistic director from founding artistic director Kevin Mayes.

Brown, an accomplished actor, singer, and director, has headed casting at Bailiwick and directed the company’s acclaimed production of the musical Passing Strange last spring.

(Bailiwick Chicago arose from the ashes of the former Bailiwick Repertory in 2009.)

VICTORY GARDENS THEATER put its old playwrights’ ensemble on “alumni” status once Chay Yew took over as artistic director from founder Dennis Zacek. But they’re reseeding with four new ensemble playwrights: Philip Dawkins, Marcus Gardley, Samuel D. Hunter, and Tanya Saracho.

The quartet receives a seven-year residency to create “Chicago-based work” and will also participate in educational programs.

BEATA PILCH, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR for the always-intriguing Trap Door Theatre, is the only U.S.-based artist to receive a prestigious residency at the Program Cite Internationale des Arts.

Pilch, who is currently reprising her role in Trap Door’s production of Pierre Notte’s Me Too, I am Catherine Deneuve in Paris, will be working with French actors, playwrights, and directors in the City of Light for the next three months.

THE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART got a healthy $10 million gift from philanthropists Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson. The performance venue at MCA will be renamed the Edlis Neeson Theater in recognition of their generosity. MCA is home to some of the finest national and international touring artists, as well as local luminaries.

CREATIVITY ON A SMALLER BUDGET is the name of the game for Red Tape Theatre, which hosts the fourth annual Chicago Fringe Artists Networking Night (CFANN) on Saturday, April 14, 8 p.m. to midnight.

Twenty dollars gets you into an evening of installations, performances, and food – as well as a chance to hook up artistically with some innovative folks, particularly in the realm of dance and physical theater. Check the website for details.

FINALLY, THE ORGIE THEATRE AWARDS committee , one of the most mysterious fringe outfits around, has announced its honorees for 2012, and Theater Oobleck swept the board with Mickle Maher’s There Is a Happiness That Morning Is, in which two William Blake scholars dissect the poet’s work with decidedly different viewpoints.

The committee is anonymous, so we have no idea who is pulling the strings, but in this critic’s view, they showed excellent judgment by honoring Maher’s funny, wise, and heartbreaking meditation on innocence, experience, love, and loss.

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