Free Street History TImeline

Home » About Free Street Theater » Free Street History Timeline

Are we missing something?

50 years is a long time to cover! Free Street’s history sprawls over decades of community-engaged work and we invite YOU to help us fill in the gaps in our timeline. Do you have a story to share? Submit your information here and we will be in contact with you to add your video, newspaper clipping, program, photo, anecdote to our timeline! We would love to hear from you!

12 + 3 =

Free Street History

2023
May 05
2019
May 03

Parched: Stories of Water, Pollution & Theft

Parched: Stories of Water, Pollution & Theft

 In 2019, our youth ensemble, after a year of deep research and interviewing over 100 individuals, presented a play about both the power of water,..Read More

2018
Oct 17

Welcome to our ever-growing timeline!

Welcome to our ever-growing timeline!

This is an online archive that documents the many, MANY cool things Free Street has done in the past 50 years. It is a work..Read More

Sep 30

The Storyfront Brings “Tiendita Theater” to Back of the Yards

storyfront history

Free Street opened our Storyfront in Back on the Yards in Spring 2017. Designed as both a story gathering site as well as a performance/program..Read More

Jul 31

Papelitos Guardados

Papelitos Guardados

 In September of 2018, Free Street contracted five artists, each representing a different Chicago neighborhood: Humboldt Park, Back of the Yards, Garfield Park, South Shore,..Read More

Jul 30

The Real Life Adventures of Jimmy de las Rosas

The Real Life Adventures of Jimmy de las Rosas

In this original play by Ricardo Gamboa,a 13-year old Mexican-American boy living in Little Village spends his days playing baseball, helping his abuela at her..Read More

Jul 07

Rest: Created in collaboration with Tricia Hersey, founder of The Nap Ministry

Rest: Created in collaboration with Tricia Hersey, founder of The Nap Ministry

REST toured Chicago Parks during the summer of 2018, inviting Chicagans to nap & rest, while considering the message of The Nap Ministry: rest as..Read More

May 11

Epic Tales from the Land of Melanin: Through Free Street’s In/House series

Epic Tales from the Land of Melanin: Through Free Street’s In/House series

Epic Tales from the Land of Melanin: Through Free Street’s In/House series, FEMelanin presented “Epic Tales from the Land of Melanin,” a joyful and participatory..Read More

Apr 13

For Us with Love

For Us with Love

In this youth ensemble production, Chicago youth investigated what radical love meant to them, through this prom themed play. 

2017
Jul 24

Los Milagros/The Miracles Project

Los Milagros/The Miracles Project

 In this summer project Los Milagros had audiences moving around to different stations, each featuring a different story about tiny, everyday miracles. Each station was..Read More

May 18

Night of the Living Moms

Night of the Living Moms

“Night of the Living Moms!” was an interdisciplinary showcase curated by Artist-in-Residence Lani Montreal. Featured artists explored the tension between being a mother and being an..Read More

Apr 21

Checkmate

Checkmate

From taking a stand in the cafeteria to taking a stand in the government, Free Streets youth artists present a new play that asks how..Read More

Mar 05

Meet Juan(ito) Doe

Meet Juan(ito) Doe

 Premiering in the fall of 2017, Meet Juan(ito) Doe, created and directed by Ricarod Gamboa, along with Ana Velazquez, and devised with a cast of..Read More

Feb 02

Lily Be’s No Hay Mal

Lily Be’s No Hay Mal

Own your truth. Own your sh*t. Own your story. Raw, straight from the hip, and only mildly filtered, Lily Be’s one-woman show NO HAY MAL..Read More

2016
Oct 20

100 Hauntings

100 Hauntings

Based on real Chicago ghost stories, this multimedia performance asks what–and who– is haunting Chicago. An elevator operator named Jorge doesn’t know he’s dead. A passive..Read More

Oct 17

The Americans

The Americans

This special election-edition of The Americans was created and conceived by Coya Paz, and directed by Katrina Dion. Based on interviews with over 200 people..Read More

Jul 11

”Space Age”- By Ricardo Gamboa and Sean Parris

”Space Age”- By Ricardo Gamboa and Sean Parris

Two boys, one bathtub and explosive, highly physical re-performances of pop cultural influences and scenes of communion between two lovers combine to celebrate queer imagination..Read More

Apr 08

CRAZY

CRAZY

Created by Free Street’s emerging youth artists as mental health clinics across the city were closing down, CRAZY asked how anyone stays sane in Chicago.

2015
Dec 03

Melissa DuPrey’s SUSHI-frito: an adobe girl in a salt-and-pepper world

Melissa DuPrey’s SUSHI-frito: an adobe girl in a salt-and-pepper world

Free Street Theatre proudly presents the full production of Melissa Duprey’s SUSHI-frito, the second installment of a trilogy of solo shows. SUSHI-frito: An Adobo Girl..Read More

Sep 15

TRACK 13

TRACK 13

A playformance that delivers a straight shot to the heart of the question of whether and how #blacklivesmatter. Before Ferguson, Eric, Baltimore or Sandra On February..Read More

Aug 03

The Real Life Adventures of Jimmy de las Rosas

The Real Life Adventures of Jimmy de las Rosas

Mutant Chihuahuas are snatching people off the streets of Chicago this summer! Will Jimmy de las Rosas turn up the heat on his own mutant..Read More

Apr 30

The Scarlet “S” Project and Free Street Theater Presents: “I Am the Rat”

The Scarlet “S” Project and Free Street Theater Presents: “I Am the Rat”

The Scarlet ‘S’ Project uses theater to address the prevalence of sexual violence in our society, and to eliminate notions that this violence is an..Read More

Apr 17

B is for Bang!

B is for Bang!

Free Street Theater’s B is for BANG takes on gun culture in America, asking what freedoms the 2nd Amendment is *really* designed to protect. Created..Read More

Jan 15

Mariposa Nocturna: A Puppet Triptych

Mariposa Nocturna: A Puppet Triptych

Master puppeteer Stephanie Diaz uses handcrafted puppets to tell a tale of loss, longing and rebirth. A child’s wish for her dying grandmother to have..Read More

2014
Sep 12

DOPE:420 Stories About Pot, Weed, Kush, Prisons, Parents and People

DOPE:420 Stories About Pot, Weed, Kush, Prisons, Parents and People

Created and performed by youth age 13-19 under the direction of Free Street’s Artistic Director Coya Paz, DOPE is a fast, funny, and unapologetic look..Read More

May 09

Nerds, Sluts, Commies & Jocks

Nerds, Sluts, Commies & Jocks

Created by youth age 14-19, Nerds, Sluts, Commies, and Jocks pushes beyond high school politics to examine the way that labels shape our identities from..Read More

Jan 31

Cold Summer

Cold Summer

Directed by artist and activist Ricardo Gamboa, Cold Summer was initially developed under the auspices of a youth employment program in Summer 2013. When teens’..Read More

2012
Feb 10

LOL

LOL

Collaboration by Gio Gonzalez and Coya Paz

2011
Feb 07

A Big Split

A fifty year history will include some truly difficult moments, and here’s one we think is important to talk about. In 2011, the longtime creative..Read More

2010
May 31

Free Street Goes to Thailand!

Free Street Goes to Thailand!

In 2010, Free Street traveled to Thailand for a two week cultural exchange with the  Makhampom Theater Company of Chiang Dao. Led by Ron Bieganski..Read More

Feb 02
2004
Feb 01
2003
Feb 02
Feb 01
2001
Jun 19

Free Street Heads to Germany with Co-Tingle

Free Street headed to Europe for the 7th time with Co-Tingle, directed by Ron Bieganski, with Technical Design by Anita Evans. The performance was presented..Read More

Feb 15
Feb 02
2000
May 31

P.A.N.G. kicks off!

P.A.N.G. kicks off!

In 2000, Free Street started P.A.N.G. (Producing Arts for a New Generation), which ran for four seasons (2000-2004). Under the leadership of Bryn Magnus, P.A.N.G...Read More

1998
Feb 02
Feb 01
1997
Apr 19

Documentary About “Body House”

Documentary About “Body House”

In 1997, then-Artistic Director Ron Bieganski directed “Body House,” a youth-made performance based on jazz musical motifs. The performance ran at Steppenwolf’s Studio, and was..Read More

Feb 15
1991
Feb 10
1990
Feb 01

Free Street (too)- Senior Ensemble

Free Street (too)- Senior Ensemble

Free Street’s multigenerational Ensemble, Free Street (too), toured an original project called “Such a lot of Living to Do”, directed by Patrick Henry Ensemble included:..Read More

1989
Apr 30

Free Street Founder Patrick Henry dies

From the Chicago Tribune, April 16th, 1989: “Patrick Henry, founder and director of the Free Street Theatre of Chicago, died Saturday in St. Joseph Hospital..Read More

1987
Jul 15

Project! Tours To London

Project! Tours To London

In 1987, Free Street toured Project!, written and performed in collaboration with residents of Cabrini Green, to the Theatre Royal in Stratford East, London. The..Read More

1985
Dec 15

Free Street Debuts Project!

Free Street debuts Project!, a musical based on interviews with residents of Cabrini-Green, featuring performances from residents. The piece was directed by founder Patrick Henry,..Read More

1977
Sep 30

Numaro

Numaro

To be honest, we’re still learning more about NUMARO, which started as the Free Street Band but spun off on its own in 1977. Read..Read More

Apr 20
Feb 15