Monday, December 22, 2014

Thank You and Happy New Year!

Imagination Theater's ensemble, staff, partners, and audiences feel like family.  Together, we accomplished so much this year!

We are tremendously proud of the work we do starting conversations that aren't always easy, but are always important.  Talking about an issue, hearing another point of view, and processing potential solutions make up the early stages of lasting change.  In 2014 we encouraged audiences to talk about children's sexual abuse, sexual assault on college campuses, teasing and bullying, tolerance of other cultures, religious diversity, leadership, toxic relationships, healthy decision making, environmental stewardship, and more.

All of these topics are incredibly important to us; each of these topics is bigger than us.  By working together, Imagination Theater and our extended family of supporters are taking the initial steps toward positively impacting our communities.  We are so proud of what we've accomplished together in 2014 and we are grateful to continue that work in 2015 with so many committed partners.

We wish a very happy new year to the entire Imagination Theater family!

As always, you can learn more about the work we do at

— Jeremy Schaefer, Associate Artistic Director

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Holiday Shows!

The audience at this morning's Show Some Respect: Holiday Edition was definitely in the holiday spirit.  In the opening scene when a child isn't grateful for a gift from her grandfather, the whole audience leaned forward.  I overheard a few students turn to their neighbors and exclaim, "That's really mean!"  When the audience was asked about the scene, one student said "Her Grandpa got her something thoughtful that reminded him of her, and it's the thought that counts."

It really does warm the heart to hear a young audience talk enthusiastically about the importance of being grateful during the holidays.

When I left the show, I too was in the holiday spirit!

Thank you so much to all of our audiences that have moved and inspired me this year!

As always, you can learn more about Imagination Theater at

–Jeremy Schaefer, Associate Artistic Director

Friday, December 5, 2014

A Big Thanks!

Imagination Theater's mission to share social issues theater with diverse audience is supported in large part by the generosity of our partners.  We wouldn't be able to share hundreds of performances a year with thousands of audience members without the backing of our phenomenal supporters across the country!

This past Tuesday was Giving Tuesday and we are tremendously grateful for the donations we received.  Our annual partner program is happening right now, so there is still time to contribute to our mission and share social issues theater with even more audiences!

You can donate to Imagination Theater here.

You can also contribute to Imagination Theater while doing your holiday shopping by visiting or Amazon Smile and selecting Imagination Theater as your charity of choice.

Here is a selection of unselfies that our ensemble members and supporters posted to our Facebook page on Giving Tuesday.

Thank you so much for your continued support!

As always, you can visit for more information about all of our interactive programs.

— Jeremy Schaefer, Associate Artistic Director.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Ease the Tease In Action

In my time with Imagination Theater, I've been lucky enough to observe our audiences from the facilitator's point of view hundreds of times.  Still, few things beat the opportunity to experience a show from the audience's point of view.  

This past Friday I sat in the back of Hope Institute Learning Academy's auditorium with a crowd full of K-2nd graders.  They laughed at our Ease the Tease scenes, contributed to the discussions, processed the response strategies, and then joined our actors on stage to positively influence the outcome of real life scenarios.  Student volunteers were beaming as they returned to their seats.

After interacting with our actors for just 45 minutes, students leave with skills they'll remember throughout the school year!

As always, you can learn more about Ease the Tease and all of our other programs at

– Jeremy Schaefer, Associate Artistic Director

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Reviews Are In!

Creating a new play is an incredibly rewarding experience! This season's overhaul of Show Some Respect was no exception!

From the very first set of workshops with 2nd and 4th grade classrooms, I felt in my bones that this was a powerful project.  Both classrooms beautifully articulated how a program about respect could benefit their school.  They provided invaluable feedback as we turned their ideas into scripts.

When we premiered our two new versions of Show Some Respect for our proud collaborators and their peers, the response was incredible.  Since then, we've shared our newest program at every opportunity.

After our first showcase of the 2014-15 season, parents flocked to our booth to book performances for their schools.

Teachers and parents have been leaving glowing reviews on our post-show evaluations and comments like this one on our Facebook page: 

"Awesome assembly at Fairview School today!!!! Every scene you performed is exactly what the kids connect with, so the production was quite meaningful.  Thank you!!! ~Shari Lambert, Third Grade Teacher"

The most rewarding part of creating this new show is hearing the positive reactions from the audiences and communities we created it for!

As always, you can learn more about Show Some Respect and all our other programs at

—Jeremy Schaefer, Associate Artistic Director

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Show Some Respect!

Show Some Respect was the most popular show of our 2013-14 season, so we kicked it up a notch for the 2014-15 season.  

This past May, we led a series of workshops with a very enthusiastic 2nd and 4th grade classroom at Courtenay Elementary in Chicago.  We sought to discover how our audiences struggle to show respect and where they would like more respect shown to them.  These workshops culminated in brand new scenes based on the themes brought up by the students and role-played in their classrooms.

We could not be more pleased with our brand spanking new Show Some Respect scripts for K-2 and 3-5 audiences.  The show premiered at Courtenay, where it earned a warm reception from the students who provided their input, and their peers throughout the school.  

This week we showcased the 3-5th grade scene about an envious best friend at Showcase 2014 and the parents in the audience immediately recognized the social struggles of their own kids.

These fresh scenes are primed for a busy touring season.  we can't wait to get them on the road.

As always, you can learn more about Show Some Respect and all of our other programs at

—Jeremy Schaefer, Associate Artistic Director 

Friday, August 1, 2014

2014-15 Ensemble!

Imagination Theater is incredibly proud of our talented ensemble and we are thrilled to welcome three phenomenal performers into our IT family!

Sydney Charles, Jose Nateras, and Sean Sullivan have been busy this past month rehearsing our teeming roster of assemblies.  They have taken to the work like ducks to water!  I've loved watching them, and I'm sure audiences will too!

As always you can learn more about Imagination Theater and our programs at

—Jeremy Schaefer, Associate Artistic Director

Friday, March 21, 2014

Curriculum Packets

This season we introduced an extensive curriculum packet and activity book to complement performances of Ease the Tease.  The resulting packet, created by Judy Freedman, has proven to be a phenomenal resources for teachers.  There are enough activities in this massive activity guide to reinforce positive teasing response strategies all year long!

We are now thrilled to introduce curriculum packets for Show Some Respect (K-5), Take A Stand (6-8), Making Healthy Choices (K-5), and Go Green (K-5)!  While these packets are thinner than the Ease The Tease tome, they are perfect ways to cary the dialogue that starts on stage into the classroom.  Each packet includes  discussion questions, drawing exercises, writing exercises, games, and a list of suggested books that further explore the theme.

These packets are now included with all new bookings of their associated assemblies!  A week before performances, I'll email PDF's to our onsite contact so that packets can be distributed to teachers in advance of the show!

I had a blast generating word searches, outlining follow up activities, and flipping through hundreds of picture books at the local library!  I look forward to sharing these packets with our audiences!

As always, you can learn more about Imagination Theater and our performances at

— Jeremy Schaefer, Associate Artistic Director

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

One Earth Film Festival!

As we gear up for April performances of Go Green, it is incredibly exciting to see everything happening March 7-9 at the One Earth Film Festival!

Family friendly events include a film adaptation of Peter Brown's phenomenal picture book, The Curious Garden (Sunday, March 9, 2014 – 3-4:15pm/The Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor 7347 Madison St, Forest Park, IL), and the magical adventure, Lost and Found (Saturday, March 8, 2014 – 3:30-4:15pm/W. Beye Elementary School 230 N Cuyler Ave, Oak Park)!

Definitely check out these awesome green films!

As always, you can learn about Imagination Theater and our Go Green program at

— Jeremy Schaefer, Associate Artistic Director

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Communities In Schools Of Chicago Report

Imagination Theater is thrilled to be featured in Communities In Schools of Chicago's winter 2014 report!

Communities in Schools of Chicago has been a truly phenomenal partner for our work and our mission.  We look forward to growing this partnership in the years to come!

Read the profile of Imagination Theater from their winter report below.

As always, you can learn more about Imagination Theater and our programs at

— Jeremy Schaefer, Associate Artistic Director

Friday, January 10, 2014

JCCC News Chicago

Imagination Theater was happy to receive this write up in the November issue of JCCC News Chicago.  It's a great write up on the Ease the Tease performances and workshops that the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Chicago funded at Pulaski International Charter School.

We just received the English translation:

Grant Recipient Visit Report
Imagination Theater – “Ease the Tease”
 Grant Recipient: Imagination Theater
Project Name: Ease the Tease 2.0 – Bullying Prevention
Grant Amount: $5,000 (Year 2012)
 In mid-April, amid chilly weather and scattered rain, we paid a visit to Pulaski International School of Chicago in the city to watch “Ease the Tease,” part of the Bullying Prevention Program supervised by Imagination Theater (IT).  After being greeted by the school principal and a representative of the IT company, we entered the auditorium.  There, IT members performed skits for third through fifth graders, while also having students participate in role play activities. Of particular interest was the fact that bullying, long regarded as a problem in Japan, was divided in the program into playful “Friendly Teasing” and malicious “Hurtful Teasing.”  “Hurtful Teasing,” which differs depending upon the feelings of the perpetrator and the recipient, has led to serious cases of bullying involving both truancy and suicide.  This results in friendly relationships turning into ones of assailants and victims, as was explained to the participating students for their understanding.  This program was followed the next day with a general assembly in which individual members of IT were assigned to each class.  Each member explained to the students different ways of dealing with bullying, and then allowed them opportunities to take turns participating in further role play to practice these skills.  IT creates individual programs on request for a wide range of age groups, from kindergarten to college, and even for adults.   Based in Chicago, they conduct programs throughout the year all across the U.S. and Canada.  Here in the U.S., bullying is not only a problem for education in schools, but is a serious social problem.   We keenly felt that not only bullying but general harassment should be kept in mind every day.

We were thrilled to work with JCCC and extremely appreciative of their collaboration!

As always, you can learn more about Imagination Theater

- Jeremy Schaefer

Monday, January 6, 2014


2014 kicks of with a dangerous, citywide chill.  Our office staff is working remotely and our actors and audiences are staying at home where it's safe and warm.

From the safety of our remote offices, however, there is a lot of excitement about 2014 and the many projects we are implementing this year.

Our Ease the Tease picture and story contest has officially begun!  Everyone in the office is super excited to see the submissions!  We have no doubt the creativity and honesty of our audience members will blow us away!

At the top of the 2013-14 season we started providing schools with an incredible activity book to compliment performances of Ease the Tease.  Right now, the office is busy assembling similar, albeit thinner, activity books for Show Some Respect, Take A Stand, Making Healthy Choices, and Go Green!

Thankfully, we can do all this remotely, without braving the cold.  If you have to be on the road today, please bundle up, be careful, and stay warm.  

The view from a home office window.

As always, you can learn more about our programs at

—Jeremy Schaefer, Associate Artistic Director