(Re)Launching Forth Filament!

Hey there!

I wanted to take a moment to say hello and catch you all up to speed on what we’ve been up to the the last few months, and where we’re headed next! So travel with me, if you will, to where our story begins: November of 2009.

After closing our successful production of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow at the Viaduct Theatre, it became clear we had outgrown our scrappy-young-company-fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants business model. As we have grown since our founding, we have been joined by many extraordinary collaborators to create a wide range of shows that we couldn’t be more proud of. In order to continue growing in a healthy and sustainable way, we needed to develop some infrastructure to support these artists and these productions.

So we did.

Although it may seem that we had vanished there for awhile, we have actually been hard at work laying the foundation for the future of Filament. I am thrilled to introduce to you our brand new executive staff and our rich ensemble of artists. You’ll see some new faces and recognize some long-time Filament partners. Ladies and Gentlemen, I’d like to you to meet Allison, Carolyn, Christian, Jack, Laura, Madeline, Mark, Mary, Nathan, Omen, Peter, Reggie, Ryan, Shayna, and Tyler. They’re a crackerjack group of actors, musicians, visual artists, writers, athletes, break-dancers, teachers, web developers, mask makers, comedians, world travelers, and all-around good people. I am so excited for you to see them in action. You can get to know these fascinating and dynamic folks all a little better by visiting our Ensemble page!

Once we had the team assembled, it was time to restructure the company and refocus our work. We looked back on the work we had done, and asked ourselves “What do we love? What do we keep revisiting? What do we believe in? What do we hope to accomplish?” Over and over, the idea of folk kept resurfacing. Folk music. Folk art. Folk stores. Folk dance. It was a genre, a tone, a feeling, an idea that appeared over and over in our work. That, coupled with our belief in celebrating the offerings of each of our audiences and artists, led us to the notion of folk theatre – theatre rooted in univeral human truths that reflects and engages the communities by and for which it is created.

From there we explored our values, and they all seemed to be rooted in the same three ideas: community, imagination, and sustainability. We want to build, strengthen, and honor community. We want to celebrate, awaken, and enliven the imagination. And we want to do this in a responsible, forward-thinking way that is sustainable for our artists, audiences, and world.

Out of these goals and values, our new mission statement was born!   The Filament Theatre Ensemble creates theatre in a folk tradition, emphasizing community, imagination, and sustainability. This mission is not only our company’s core purpose and focus, but also a goal, a standard, something to aspire towards. I have great joy in the thought of continuing to learn and grow within this framework.

So with all that philosophy and organization business squarely underneath us, we were able to move forward with the practical planning of our season. I am SO EXCITED to announce our 2010/2011 season. Drumroll please…

August 2010-August 2011, touring to Chicagoland schools
Alice and Me!
Adapted from Lewis Carroll by Jack Novak
Directed by Christian Libonati

October 22-December 11, at the Underground Lounge
Choose Thine Own Adventure
Adapted from William Shakespeare by Allison Powell
Directed by Julie Ritchey

And in the spring, running in rep, the exciting Greek myth double header:
Adapted from Ovid by Omen Sade
Directed by Omen Sade

Written by Sarah Ruhl
Directed by Julie Ritchey

For more information about these plays and how to get involved, please visit our Current Season page!

Plus, on top of all that, we’ve got this brand new website!  Take a minute to explore.  In addition to information about the company and ensemble, we have video clips, this blog, and our Stuff Filament Likes section, which is chock full of recommendations on everything from books to recipes to fun things do to around Chicago.  Check it often for updates, and feel free to leave us comments with your own Likes!  We’re big on sharing here at the Filament Theatre Ensemble, and this website is a great place to get started with that.  Although we’ve got the bones of the site in place, we  will be adding  even more interactive features, video clips, production photos, etc. in the coming weeks.  As we build the site, dear readers, we turn to you.  What features would you like to see on our website?   Let us know!

So as you can see we’ve been up to quite a lot. We’ve been so eager to share our with you, and have been looking forward to this re-launch for such a long time. We will be keeping this blog up-to-date with all kinds of behind-the-scenes information about our projects, thoughts and information about things that excite us, and more! So please stay in touch! Let us know what you like, what you’d like to see, share your dreams and ideas. We love thoughts and questions and dialogue – feel free to leave comments right here on the website or send us an email. We are so grateful to be a part of this vibrant community! We look forward to hearing from you!

With gratitude and affection,