Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Columbia College Chicago Theatre students featured in International Arts Festival Sept. 9-13

The NEW NOW Festival 2015, sponsored by the European League of Institutes for the Arts (ELIA), will feature the work of students from the Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department. These current and recently graduated Theatre students from Chicago are the only American artists selected for this prestigious, competitive juried showcase of cutting-edge performance, which runs September 9-13 in Amsterdam at the historic Westergasfabriek Culture Park.

Performing in front of an international audience of artists, arts educators and arts journalists, the Room | 916 Collective, an ensemble of Columbia College Chicago students and alumni, will showcase two different performance pieces: United States of Amnesia, performed live at the festival; and The Wonderers and Other Stories, which will be showcased in video as part of the NEW NOW Festival's online component.

"We're excited to be taking the work ethic and aesthetic of Chicago theatre and sharing it with the international arts community," said Jeff Ginsberg, Coordinator of the Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department's Acting Program, who facilitated the student projects and submitted them for consideration by ELIA.

The European League of Institutes of the Arts is the primary independent network organization for higher arts education in Europe. The NEW NOW Festival offers “an innovative international platform for talented graduating artists (or those who have recently graduated)–coming out of Higher Arts Education Institutions and Universities across Europe and beyond–to present themselves to a wider international audience within a professional arts context. The Festival features the most excellent new artists now entering the professional arts arenas and is an international showcase for emerging creative talent.”

For more information and to view the student presentations and performances, please visit the festival website: For more information, please contact John Green, Chair of the Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department (, 312-369-6160), or Jeff Ginsberg, Coordinator of the Theatre Department's Acting Program (, 312-369-6128).

About the Work: 
United States of Amnesia was created for the Spring 2014 Chicago Home Theater Festival, which sponsors transformative art presentations in individuals’ homes and nontraditional performance spaces. The work was originally presented in the home of Chicago professor and activist William Ayers. Taking inspiration from his life and activism, the piece was created as a response to growing up in an uncertain American society, examining “what it means to be, among other things; a servant, a child, a soldier, a consumer, and an intellectual in an increasingly violent, paranoid and uncertain American society.” The performance incorporated dance, improv, Plastique work, and original writing. The ensemble included Columbia College Chicago students Hannah Burt, Travis Coe, Will Green, Will Greenburg, Charlie Haumersen, Emma Ladji, Rachel Minkoff, and Dior Stephens.

The Wonderers and Other Stories was a collaboration facilitated by Matthew Glassman and Hannah Jarrell, artists from the Double Edge Theatre in Ashfield, Massachusetts, during a January 2015 residency at the Columbia College Theatre Department. Created by Room| 916 Collective, and utilizing Double Edge’s pedagogy of physical theatre training and research, The Wonderers and Other Stories mixed circus and spectacle, vaudeville and clowning, live music and poetic narrative to transport the viewer into the colorful, vibrant world of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and her contemporaries. Images, text, music, and dance coalesced in a 30-minute pageant vibrating with sound, color, movement and magic inspired by Latin American Magic Realism. The performers included Hannah Burt, Travis Coe, Will Green, Will Greenburg, Charlie Haumersen, Sarah Cohen, Rafael Hernandez-Roulet, Leslie Keller, and Sean Marburger. The production team included set designer Allison Kozik, lighting designer Michael Joseph, costume designers Meagan Beattieand Benjamin Will, and sound designer Jacob Brown. All are Columbia College students or alumni.

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