Only 5 Days left to vote Ghostlight as one of the Best of Chicago

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Voting ends at noon on Monday, October 21, for the Chicago Reader’s Best of Chicago 2019 poll. Ghostlight is excited to be nominated in two categories: Best Established Theater Company and Best Off-Loop Theater Company.

We'd be honored if you would follow this link to vote for us. And you can ask your friends and family to do so as well, as there are no restrictions on voting.

Please note: You don’t have to fill out all the categories if you’re only interested in voting for a few of them, however you DO have to go to the final page (About You) and hit the Finish button for your vote to count.

In addition, a number of our collaborators and Ensemble members are nominated as well.

Our Co-Artistic Director Maria Burnham is nominated for both Best Director and Best Playwright.

Stefanie Johnsen is nominated for Best Designer. Stefanie designed the costumes for our production of An Ideal Husband.

And Improvised Jane Austen is nominated for Best sketch/improv troupe. Ensemble Member Holly Robison is a member of IJA and the group has performed at a number of our past events.

In addition, Carbon Arc Bar, which hosts our Live Movie Reading Series is up for Best Cinema Bar.

Thanks so much for your vote! You are what’s truly Best about Chicago!

Raise a glass to help Ghostlight

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District Brew Yards in West Town is hosting Ghostlight Ensemble on Wednesday, Nov. 20, from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. for its Cents for Causes.

Come drink with the Ensemble, get to know us, learn more details on what we have planned for this season and find out how you can be involved (if that’s your cup of tea)! District Brew Yards donates 10 cents per ounce of beer you buy to Ghostlight.

District Brew Yards, 417 N. Ashland Ave. in Chicago, is a pour-your-own-beer tap room. The cashless beer hall offers brews from Burnt City Brewing, Around the Bend Beer Co. and Bold Dog Beer Co., and serves barbecue, in case you’d like some smoked meats to compliment your drink.

We can’t wait to see you all!

Ghostlight is a finalist for Best of Chicago 2019!

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Ghostlight is honored and excited to be nominated in two categories for the Reader's Best of Chicago 2019: Best established theater company and Best off-Loop theater company.

We'd love if our supporters would follow this link to vote for us. And you can ask your friends and family to do so as well, as there are no restrictions on voting.

Please note: You don’t have to fill out all the categories if you’re only interested in voting for a few of them, however you DO have to go to the final page (About You) and hit the Finish button for your vote to count.

While you're voting for us, please consider also these other Ghostlight affiliated folks: 

Our Co-Artistic Director Maria Burnham is nominated for both Best Director and Best Playwright.

Stefanie Johnsen is nominated for Best Designer. Stefanie designed the costumes for our production of An Ideal Husband.

And Improvised Jane Austen is nominated for Best sketch/improv troupe. Ensemble Member Holly Robison is a member of IJA and the group has performed at a number of our past events.

In addition, Carbon Arc Bar, which hosts our Live Movie Reading Series is up for Best Cinema Bar.

We appreciate the continued support of the community and we’re so thrilled to be a finalist for Best of Chicago.

Cast announced for The Thirteenth Chair

  Ghostlight presents a staged reading of The Thirteenth Chair

Ghostlight Ensemble announced the cast of its first endeavor of the 2019-2020 Season, a staged reading of The Thirteenth Chair, by Bayard Veiller.

The play, which is directed by Ensemble Member Chad Wise, stars: Emma Baker (Miss Eastwood), Noah Berman (Wales/Dunn), Justin Broom (Trent), Jean E. Burr (Miss Erskine), Norman J. Burt (Mr. Crosby), Elijah Cox (Will Crosby), Sean Harklerode (Tim Donohue), Casey Kramer (Rosalie), Miona Lee (Miss Standish), Allison McCorkle (Mrs. Crosby), Sean Peck-Collier (Mason), Jonathan Saucedo (Standish), Alina Taber (Helen O'Neill) and Michelle Ziccarelli (Mrs. Trent).

During a séance at the home of the wealthy Crosby family, a man is murdered. All the doors and windows are locked and the murder weapon can’t be found. How will the real murderer be uncovered?

The Thirteenth Chair, which is presented as a whodunit, has strains of deeper social issues that still resonate today. By setting up Rosalie, the Irish immigrant medium, as a foil to the police Inspector Donohue, Veiller touches on issues of sexism, classism, prejudices and the way police dismiss immigrant populations - even ones they may be part of.

Ghostlight presents a staged reading of the original 1916 play over three days.


Up Next: A Live Reading of the original Wicker Man

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Ghostlight Ensemble teams up with Terra Mysterium in October to present special installment of its ongoing live movie reading series with Don’t Keep Him Waiting: A Live Reading of the Original The Wicker Man — just in time for All Hallows' Eve.

Dig out your animal masks or costumes of any sort and join us at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 29 at Mrs. Murphy & Sons Irish Bistro in North Center.

The Wicker Man is a 1973 British horror film that follows Police Sergeant Neil Howie as he travels to the isolated island of Summerisle in search of a missing girl. Howie, a devout Christian, is appalled to find that the inhabitants of the island have abandoned Christianity and now practice a form of Celtic paganism.

The reading will feature live musical performances and is directed by Matthew Ellenwood.

Help us decide which movie to read next!

Spice World  2018 at Celtic Crown

Spice World 2018 at Celtic Crown

We love live theatre, but we also love movies. So we combine our love for both into an ongoing live reading of some of our favorite films. But now we want to read some of YOUR favorite films.

We’re setting our 2020 Live Movie Reading Series lineup and taking votes (and suggestions) on Facebook to see what our audiences would like to see. Make your voice heard! The current poll pits Ghostbusters against Legally Blonde, but there will be a new one each week in September. Keep checking back — and encourage your friends to vote too!

Holiday Cabernet: A Call for Performers

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Ghostlight Ensemble invites poets, dancers, artists, storytellers, comedians and musicians to perform at our Holiday Cabernet fundraiser on December 14. We welcome performers of diverse skills and talents at this event.

Performances should be 5-10 minutes in length and themed to any of the winter holidays. Show off your talents in spoken word, slam poetry, excerpt reading, improv, dancing, comedy, music or any medium of your choice. The Cabernet is an excellent opportunity to try out new material in front of a friendly, supportive audience.

To submit, please send us a paragraph on your proposal and what genre of performance it falls under and any relevant links to your previous work. Email Jean at casting@ghostlightensemble.com. Deadline for submissions is November 1.

If you are selected we will contact you to communicate event details and information on how you would like to be recognized.

Performers will receive one complimentary ticket to the event and food and drink will be provided. There is no pay.

The event takes place at 8 p.m. on Saturday, December 14, 2019 at Vagabond School of the Arts (4001 N Ravenswood Ave #504, Chicago, IL 60613).

Ghostlight announces change in artistic leadership

Maria Burnham

Maria Burnham

Miona Lee

Miona Lee

Ghostlight announced today that Ensemble members Miona Lee and Maria Burnham have taken over as co-artistic directors from Holly Robison, who has served as an artistic director since the company was founded in 2016. Robison remains with the Ensemble as a producing director.  

Both Burnham and Lee are founding members of the company and veterans of the Chicago theatre scene. Lee previously served as Literary Manager for the company and Burnham as the Marketing and Communications Director. The pair most recently co-directed Ghostlight’s summer show for young audiences, The Selfish Giant.

Full bios for both women can be found in the About section on the Ghostlight website.

Before stepping down, Robison helped guide the new season selection, which focuses on strong, female characters. 

More about the announcement and the new Ghostlight season can be found here.

Ghostlight Ensemble puts women front and center in its third season

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Ghostlight Ensemble announced its Season 3 lineup, including a staged reading of a little-produced World War I-era play, a play festival with new works for young audiences and a Shakespearean comedy that takes place in a living room – quite literally.

The company also announced a change in leadership with Ensemble members Miona Lee and Maria Burnham taking over as co-artistic directors from Holly Robison, who has served as an artistic director since the company was founded in 2016. Robison remains with the Ensemble as a producing director.  

Both Burnham and Lee are founding members of the company and veterans of the Chicago theatre scene. Lee previously served as Literary Manager for the company and Burnham as the Marketing and Communications Director. The pair most recently co-directed Ghostlight’s summer show for young audiences, The Selfish Giant.

“Holly has been an incredible Artistic Director for Ghostlight’s initial seasons. Making a mark in a city full of so many magnificent theater companies is no small feat and she’s done a fantastic job guiding us,” Lee said. “I hope to continue pushing us in the direction of creating thought-provoking works.”

“I think our leadership will be a natural progression from the foundation Holly laid for this company,” added Burnham. “We will continue to push for works that challenge the status quo, that encourage new voices, and new stories and that shine light in places where darkness has allowed ignorance to grow. And we will also continue to tell great stories in unique ways.”

Full bios for both women can be found here.

Before stepping down, Robison helped guide the new season selection, which focuses on strong, female characters. 

“I am so honored to have been a Founding Member and Artistic Director for Ghostlight Ensemble,” Robison said. “It has truly been a wonderful, challenging, and rewarding few years. I’m so proud of the work Ghostlight has produced, and even more excited about the work ahead, especially in our coming season, which we like to call our year of Strong Female Leads. 

“While I look forward to staying on as Producing Director and directing our immersive spring production of Much Ado About Nothing, I’m also so thrilled to be handing the reins over to Maria Burnham and Miona Lee as Co-Artistic Directors. In the season of Strong Female Leads, what could be more fitting than these two fierce females leading our company? They are both great artists and great leaders, and I can’t wait to see where they take Ghostlight in the coming years. Thanks to all the Ghostlight Company Members, Artistic Associates, collaborators, and supporters for a great few years as Artistic Director!”

Ghostlight will begin its third season in October with a staged reading of the Bayard Veiller play, The Thirteenth Chair, a turn-of-the-century thriller set during a séance. The reading will be directed by Ghostlight Managing Director Chad Wise.  

The Thirteenth Chair, written in 1916, takes place at the home of the wealthy Crosby family. But the phony séance turns out to be the scene of a very real murder. All the doors and windows are locked and the murder weapon can’t be found. How will the real murderer be uncovered?

The reading takes place October 18 and 19 at 7:30 p.m. and October 20 at 2:30 p.m. at Vagabond School of the Arts (4001 N. Ravenswood Ave, Suite 503B, Chicago).    

In February, the company will continue its Nightlight young audiences series with a curated festival of short plays by playwrights from around the country. The plays, geared towards children 12 and under, will all have one unifying feature – strong female characters, continuing the theme of the season. Plays are currently being solicited and script selection will be made in early November. Playwrights interested in submitting to the festival can find more details on the Ghostlight website.

Ghostlight will round out the season in the spring of 2020 with Shakespeare’s beloved romantic comedy, Much Ado About Nothing. Audiences will be invited into Leonato’s Albany Park home to witness firsthand the merry war between Benedick and Beatrice, as well as the less merry machinations of Don John, as this immersive production brings guests, not to a theater, but to a condo on Chicago’s westside. The production will be directed by Holly Robison.

“This season is all about empowerment – from the astute Madame Rosalie La Grange to the outspoken Beatrice – these ladies are not afraid to take charge of their situations,” Lee said. “Nightlight is inspiring our younger audiences as well, with our festival of short plays chock full of strong female and non-binary characters.”

In addition, the company will once again host the Holiday Cabernet – an evening of holiday classics (or not-so-classics) by favorite G.E.T. performers, emerging artists and surprise guests in a cabaret-style setting with an M.C. who overindulges in the holiday spirits. The Cabernet takes place at 8 p.m. on December 14 at Vagabond School of the Arts.

Ghostlight also will continue its popular Live Movie Reading Series throughout the year at Carbon Arc Bar & Board, located in the Davis Theater. Next up in the series is: You and Me and Five Bucks: A Live Reading of Reality Bites. The reading, celebrating the 25th anniversary of this quintessential Gen X film, takes place at 7:30 p.m. Monday, August 28, at Carbon Arc (4614 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago).

Find out more about Ghostlight Ensemble and the entire 2019-2020 Season at GhostlightEnsemble.com.

Ghostlight Ensemble is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit theatre whose mission it is to ask questions that challenge the status quo through timeless stories, immersive environments and unconventional staging.

Auditions announced for a staged reading of The Thirteenth Chair

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Ghostlight Ensemble is seeking actors for a staged reading of Bayard Veiller's The Thirteenth Chair. The staged reading is part of the company's development process and those involved in the reading will receive first consideration in casting for the full production.

The Thirteenth Chair is a play written in 1916 set during a phony seance at the home of the wealthy Crosby family. But the phony seance turns out to be the scene of a very real murder. All the doors and windows are locked and the murder weapon can't be found. How will the murderer be uncovered?

The full script can be found here.

Character Descriptions
Seeking a strong, ethnically diverse cast of all genders, ages, shapes and sizes for about 14 roles (with some double casting).

Details
Auditions will be held from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 7 in Lakeview.

The staged reading will take place at 7:30 p.m. on October 18 & 19 and 2:30 p.m. on October 20 at Vagabond School of the Arts.

Rehearsals will be scheduled around actor availability. There is no pay.

Material To Prepare
Auditions will consist of cold readings from the script. There will be no callbacks.

Please email a resume and headshot to Jean at casting@ghostlightensemble.com.

Seeking script submission for a children's play festival

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Ghostlight Ensemble is seeking short scripts (a maximum of 15 minutes) with strong female characters that are geared toward young audiences (under 12). Priority will be placed on scripts that are ethnically and culturally diverse, that do not require complicated sets or costumes and that fit our mission. This is open to playwrights in any geographic area. NO FEE.

Selected plays will be produced as part of a festival of theatre for children under our Nightlight banner in early February.

Electronic submissions only, please. Submit cover letter with full contact information, short bio, brief synopsis of script including development and production history (if applicable) and full script to Maria Burnham at scripts@ghostlightensemble.com. Please use the following format in the email’s subject line: Nightlight Script Submission: [play name] - [playwright name]

The deadline for submissions is November 1, 2019.

Up Next: A Live Reading of Reality Bites

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Ghostlight Ensemble presents the next installment of its ongoing live movie reading series with You And Me And Five Bucks: A Live Reading of Reality Bites.

So dig out your best Gen X ennui and join us at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, August 26 at Carbon Arc Bar & Board (4614 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625), located in the Davis Theater in North Center.

Reality Bites is a 1994 romantic comedy/drama that follows the lives of recently graduation Gen Xers as they navigate the pitfalls of life, love and the search for gainful employment. The plot centers on Lelaina (played by Winona Ryder), an aspiring videographer, who is working on a documentary called Reality Bites about the disenfranchised lives of her friends and roommates.

The live reading is directed by Maria Burnham.

There is a suggested donation of Five Bucks at the door, which will help Ghostlight fund its upcoming season. We’re also raising funds for Blue Sky Bakery & Cafe, a nonprofit cafe in North Center that provides transitional job skills to at-risk youth and also provides an excellent place to grab a cup of coffee and a little bit of conversation.

Final two performances of The Selfish Giant begin Saturday

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The final two performance of our all ages show, The Selfish Giant, are Saturday, July 29 at 1 p.m. and Sunday, July 30 at 11 a.m. Join us for this wildly inventive show that has been captivating audience members from babies to grandparents.

Come make some paper plate gardens with us, learn why walls are a bad idea and welcome children with open arms. There are many good lessons to be learned from Oscar Wilde.

You can get your tickets in advance here or at the door.

Introduce your children to the world of The Selfish Giant

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If you're looking for live entertainment that's appropriate for the entire family, The Selfish Giant, which opens this weekend, is a tale for all ages — and one of the Hot Shows to see in June.

Weaving movement and words into a highly physical form of storytelling, our intimate production tells the tale of an angry giant who builds a wall to keep children off his land, but discovers the perils of isolation and the negative  consequences of selfishness.

Curious about our physical story-making process? Watch this video to learn more.  

The show's weekend runs are perfect for families looking for live, daytime entertainment. The Selfish Giant runs June 8-30 on Saturdays at 1 p.m. and Sundays at 11 a.m. at Otherworld Theatre in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago (3914 N. Clark St., 60613). 

Tickets are on sale now: $10 adults, $5 children 12 and under, or $25 family of four.

In A World Where Trees Talk And Giants Walk, Why Not A Set That Lives And Breathes?

In Ghostlight Ensemble’s latest production, actors throw their whole selves – literally – into telling the story of a giant who brings on a perpetual winter in an effort to keep his land to himself. The Selfish Giant, which opens June 8, is a physical theatre reimagining of the Oscar Wilde short story of the same name.

Weaving movement and words into a highly physical form of storytelling, this intimate production tells the tale of an angry giant who builds a wall to keep children off his land, but discovers the perils of isolation and the negative consequences of selfishness.

“The themes of this story, originally published in 1888, resonate with modern audiences, tackling issues that we are still very much grappling with,” said Maria Burnham, the playwright and a co-director of the production. “The story is almost too relevant.”

This production removes the religious overtones of Wilde’s original short story and replaces it with a morality tale that focuses on character redemption and the power of love. It also moves the story off the page by relying solely on the actors who are telling it, illustrating to the audience another theme of the story – how much better we can be when we all work together.

The adaptation uses a chorus to embody human characters and mythical beasts. The actors build the world of trees, birds, benches and beasts with their bodies.

“Physical theatre is really much more about, not a singular person, but what a group can provide you. What can we build together as opposed to one person standing and saying ‘Hey I’m a giant’ or ‘I’m a tree’,” said Miona Lee, co-director and movement choreographer for the production. “The story itself is very much about inclusiveness and the way we’re building our world as well is really inclusive.”

The Selfish Giant was part of a collection of stories for children by Oscar Wilde, The Happy Prince and Other Tales, first published in May 1888. In the story, the selfish giant builds a wall around his beautiful garden to keep children out. By doing so, he creates a perpetual winter in the garden, because no other season wanted to be part of his selfish endeavor. Then one morning, a special child brings spring back, and the giant’s heart melts along with the snow.

The Selfish Giant stars Jean E. Burr as Lydia and Tamsen Glaser, Molly Gloeckner, Sophia Hail, Nate Hall, Sarah-Lucy Hill, Song Marshall, Daniela Martinez, Maggie Blair Smith and Zoe Savransky as a chorus of characters.

The show was crafted to appeal to all ages and its weekend runs are perfect for families looking for live, daytime entertainment. The Selfish Giant runs June 8-30 on Saturdays at 1 p.m. and Sundays at 11 a.m. at Otherworld Theatre in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago (3914 N. Clark St., 60613) Tickets are on sale now: $10 adults, $5 children 12 and under, or $25 family of four.

The Selfish Giant is part of Ghostlight’s summer Nightlight series.

Nightlight is Ghostlight’s summer young audience series with original, adapted and forgotten plays geared toward children and the adults who love them. Ghostlight believes theatre can be a beacon for children, letting them know they aren’t alone in the world, giving them a sense of security and revealing the truth that in stories they can be anything they want to be. You’re never too young – or too old – for a nightlight.

Tickets on sale for The Selfish Giant

Actors have begun rehearsals for  The Selfish Giant , which runs in June at Otherworld Theatre in Lakeview.

Actors have begun rehearsals for The Selfish Giant, which runs in June at Otherworld Theatre in Lakeview.

Tickets are on sale now for The Selfish Giant, a physical theatre production that will mesmerize audiences of all ages.

This story of a giant who builds a wall to keep children off his land runs during the month of June at Otherworld Theatre and is geared toward all ages.

Tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets and are $5 for children, $10 for adults or $25 for a family of four.

You can also obtain tickets through our Go Fund Me Campaign. The Garden, Ogre, North Wind and Giant levels all come with tickets to the show, along with a host of other goodies. Learn more Becoming a Generous Giant for Children's Theatre here.

Based on Oscar Wilde's short story of the same name, The Selfish Giant illustrates the perils of isolation and the negative consequences of selfishness, but it also teaches us that it is never too late for redemption and for love.

Donate to children, earn a reward!

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Did you know we’ve put together some very special gifts for the donors to our The Selfish Giant fundraiser? From growing your own garden to headshots and more.

Read all about the show here and then go donate here.

By donating you help keep our ticket prices affordable for all families in Chicago.

Levels include:

$25 GARDEN LEVEL: Start your own urban garden with a Grow Your Own Garden Kit and receive a ticket to the show, as well as thanks in our program.

$50 OGRE LEVEL: Join cast members and the director of The Selfish Giant after a performance for apple pie and milk and to learn more about physical storytelling. Bring your kids (or you friends’ kids) so they can learn how to turn everyday objects into props to create their own plays at home. Plus: A ticket to the show, as well thanks in the program

$75 NORTH WIND LEVEL: Get a headshot session with our company photographer who will offer you one look (a.k.a. outfit, but a variety of expressions within that one outfit) and guarantee a photo you’re happy with, or you’ll get a makeup session. You get all the photos from the session on a disc to use as you wish without watermarks. This offer is regardless of whether you’re an actor looking for fresh headshots, one of our business friends looking to spruce up your LinkedIn page or an animal lover looking for a professional photo of your pupper (did we mention, this wasn’t limited to humans!) Plus two tickets to The Selfish Giant, as well as thanks in the program

$100 or more GIANT LEVEL: A Nightlight Gift bag, featuring your choice of a Nightlight T-shirt or tote bag, among other items, plus two tickets to The Selfish Giant as well as thanks in the program.

Up Next: A Live Reading of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Ghostlight Ensemble presents the next installment of its ongoing live movie reading series with Don’t Call Me Junior: A Live Reading of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

So dust off that brown leather fedora, get that whip cracking and join us at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, May 6 at Carbon Arc Bar & Board (4614 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625), located in the Davis Theater in North Center, to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the movie’s release.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is a 1989 American action-adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg and is the third installment in the Indiana Jones franchise. It was release in the United States on May 24, 1989. In Last Crusade, the intrepid explorer Indiana Jones sets out to rescue his father, a medievalist who has vanished while searching for the Holy Grail. Following clues in the old man's notebook, Indy arrives in Venice, where he enlists the help of a beautiful academic, but they are not the only ones who are on the trail, and some sinister old enemies soon come out of the woodwork.

The live reading is directed by Chad Wise.

There is a suggested donation of $5 at the door, which will help Ghostlight fund its upcoming season.

Meet the cast of The Selfish Giant

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Up next for Ghostlight is The Selfish Giant, part of our Nightlight young audiences series.

Based on Oscar Wilde's short story of the same name, The Selfish Giant is a story that illustrates the perils of isolation and the negative consequences of selfishness, but it also teaches us that it is never too late for redemption and for love.

We're excited to announce the cast for this ensemble production: Jean E. Burr, Tamsen Glaser, Molly Gloeckner, Sophia Hail, Nate Hall, Sarah-Lucy Hill, Song Marshall, Daniela Martinez, Maggie Blair Smith and Zoe Savransky.

The show is directed by Maria Burnham and Miona Lee.

This production will intrigue children and parents alike, not just with its story, but with its method of storytelling. The adaptation uses a chorus of actors to embody human characters and mythical beasts, while building the world of trees, birds, benches and beasts with their bodies. This physical theater piece relies almost completely on the ensemble of actors telling the story.

The show runs June 8-30 on Saturdays at 1 p.m. and Sundays at 11 a.m. at Otherworld Theatre, 3914 N Clark St., Chicago, IL 60613. Tickets will be on sale soon.

Be a Generous Giant for The Selfish Giant, a show for young audiences

Every theatrical production involves a team of artist on the stage and behind the scenes to bring the stories you're seeing to life. Most of these people perform, design and build without ever being paid for their efforts.

At Ghostlight, we strive to provide everyone with an stipend to help offset the costs of traveling to rehearsal and performances or running all over town to gather materials for costume, set and properties construction. That's not always an easy task when trying to provide affordable family-friendly entertainment with rental rates in Chicago at all-time highs.

We hope you'll help up reach our goal by supporting theater for young audiences.

Find out more about The Selfish Giant and our campaign here.