Monday, November 23, 2015

Thank You To Our Ensemble Members!

A decade ago, when I began my journey with Imagination Theater, one of the things that most impressed me about this company was its seemingly limitless flexibility.  Then and now, our actors and teaching artists regularly adjust content on the fly to fit the needs of our audiences.

This season, our ensemble has really upped their flexibility game!  In a short period of time we've created multiple original programs for high school empowerment days, two completely customized versions of our No Secrets program, new pieces about kids and dads, healthy decision making, corporate workshops, diversity trainings, and more!  Our actors and facilitators have been learning, perfecting, and performing new scripts and navigating new content on a regular basis since the top of August.

I've been fortunate enough to attend a few of these customized performances and witness how ensemble members expertly lead audiences through these brand new experiences.  Facilitators intuitively know when they need to linger on a concept and when they can move to the next scene.  Audiences have been enthusiastic and our feedback has been unanimously positive.

As we approach Thanksgiving, I am definitely thankful for our team of artists and their incredible dedication to our mission.  Whether the material they're working with is seasons old or completely fresh, their craft is always exemplary.  I am so impressed by and grateful for each and every one of them.

As always, you can learn more about our programming at

— Jeremy Schaefer, Associate Artistic Director

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Fast Pace of the 2015/16 Season

It seems like every year I respond to the arrival of fall weather by commenting that it came so quickly.  This year, however, fall feels like it's arrived particularly early.

Imagination Theater has had an incredibly busy and wonderful start to our 2015/16 season.  We're extending our mission of interactive, social issues theater into brand new horizons. 

Here are just a few highlights from the past couple of months:

We welcomed four new and incredibly talented actors into our ensemble.

We trained new facilitators and got them up in front of audiences.

We've continued to expand our children's sexual abuse prevention program, No Secrets, into communities outside of Chicago.  Every new school to experience the program has responded with enthusiasm and gratitude.  We've even customized brand new versions of the script for district wide programming!

We showcased Ease the Tease at Premier Showcase and Centre East Showcase 2015.  After both performances schools were eager to share an assembly with their students.

We booked an extremely busy performance schedule in September, October, and November.  We've also started reserving dates for our holiday program, Show Some Respect: Holiday Edition, this coming December.

Finally, we are about to embark on our first international workshop: a corporate training in London!

With everything happing at Imagination Theater the past couple of months, it's no wonder that autumn's arrival felt like it came early.  Our 2015/16 season is moving forward at an awesome pace and we look forward to every second of it!

As always, you can learn more about Imagination Theater at

— Jeremy Schaefer, Associate Artistic Director

Monday, August 3, 2015

Summer Rehearsals

Imagination Theater is grateful to welcome some superb new talent into our ensemble this season!

It's been absolutely wonderful to experience a whole new perspective of our programming during this year's summer rehearsals.  Familiar scenes spark new and meaningful discussions, while our opening games have a fresh burst of energy.

This year's new ensemble members bring more to the work than their acting talents.  They have a genuine compassion for young audiences and a desire to use their theatrical skills to make a positive impact.  After rehearsing this past month, I have no doubt that they will leave an awesome footprint on our 2015/16 season!

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

— Jeremy Schaefer, Associate Artistic Director

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Ensemble Member of The Year: 2015!

Imagination Theater’s ensemble is an incredibly dedicated group of actors, facilitators, and teaching artists with huge hearts and tremendous talent.  It takes stelar individuals to make a beyond stellar ensemble!

Every year, our ensemble members vote to name one of their peers the ensemble member of the year.  Here are the credentials we ask everyone to consider when casting their vote:

“This person has gone above and beyond the call of duty throughout the season, and is well-rounded in all areas of IT’s programming as an actor, moderator, improviser, facilitator, educator, and writer.  The ensemble member of the year has a positive attitude both on stage and off, and is looked upon as a leader within the company.  This person shows remarkable commitment to IT, having volunteered his/her time on numerous occasions, and is consistently reliable and professional.  The ensemble member of the year truly understands IT’s mission, and strives to incorporate “IT skills” into his/her life.” 

The votes are in and the winner is… Dimokratia Michalopoulos (for the second time)!

Here’s a sampling of what Dimokratia’s fellow ensemble members had to say about her:

“She has a warm sense of humor during shows and on car rides.” 

“She has a great balance of focus while still having fun and being supportive and engaging."

“I've never heard anything but positivity from her about what we do when we're doing it.”

Dimokratia started with Imagination Theater as an actor and she still continues in that role after taking on facilitation responsibilities as well.  This season she trained to facilitate our Children’s Sexual Abuse Prevention Program, No Secrets.  By taking on the title of No Secrets facilitator, she has been instrumental in allowing that program to extend beyond the city limits in accordance with Erin’s Law.

I have been fortunate enough to watch her facilitate and act in a number of shows this past season.  Regardless what role she’s playing, her commitment to our social issues mission is a gift to our audiences.  Younger audiences gravitate to her warm energy and overflowing positivity.  Older audiences easily relate to her and feel comfortable asking her questions or accepting her invitations to join the actors on stage.

In addition to our social issues shows, Dimokratia volunteered at our annual benefit and participated in the pilot program for a corporate workshop on the east coast.  I was fortunate enough to tour with her for that corporate workshop and witness the way she carries her onstage positivity into every aspect of touring from navigating airports to finding a good meal in a new city.  

She’s an omnipresent force within our company, and it’s a privilege to celebrate her this year (yet again) as your Ensemble Member of The Year!  

Congratulations Demi, and thank you for everything you do!

As always, you can learn more about Imagination Theater’s ensemble and programming at

— Jeremy Schaefer, Associate Artistic Director

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Wrapping Up Auditions

The talent in Chicago’s theater community is astounding!  After four rounds of auditions, Imagination Theater saw nearly 60 actors interpret our interactive scenes and improvise positive resolutions to realistic conflicts.  

It was really fantastic to witness new takes on familiar characters and to see fresh blood in some of our most popular scenes.  Every group of auditioning actors evoked both laughter and conversation from their peers.

We are so grateful to be a part of such a phenomenally talented theater community!

In the next couple of weeks we’ll be introducing the newest members of the Imagination Theater ensemble!  

We’re looking forward to a fantastic ensemble and another great season of social issues theater!

As always, you can learn more about Imagination Theater at

— Jeremy Schaefer, Associate Artistic Director

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Audition for Imagination Theater!

Imagination Theater is looking to welcome new talent into our social issues ensemble!  

Who Is Imagination Theater?

We are a year-round touring ensemble delivering interactive plays to schools and community centers that explore social issues like teasing, respect, bullying, sexual abuse prevention. healthy decision making, and more!  Every show consists of games, scripted scenes, and audience role plays.  You can see a video breaking down one of our most popular programs, Ease the Tease, at 

What is the Commitment?

We ask for three days of daytime availability (until 5:00 PM) per week.  Performance assignments are distributed two weeks in advance.  A typical day is between 4 and 6 hours long.  Early mornings are common.

There will be rehearsals over the summer from 9 am - 1 pm on Tuesdays and Fridays starting July 14 - August 14 (it is possible we will not rehearse all of those days).  If you have conflicts with rehearsals, please let us know at the audition as we may be able to work around your schedule.

Is There Pay?

Yes.  Actors are paid hourly starting the moment the cast arrives in our office through the moment the carpool returns to the office after the show.  The initial summer rehearsals are unpaid, but all rehearsals and shows after that are paid.

How Can I Audition?

For the audition there will be cold readings from our shows (one from a K-5 script and another from a 6-8 script).  After each scene, we'll ask you to improvise a positive conclusion to that scenario with an Imagination Theater staff member playing the role of a student volunteer.  Small groups will also have an opportunity to improvise scenes together based on audience suggestions ( ie: "My brother won't let me play in the treehouse, because he says there are no girls allowed.")
Instead of a traditional call backs we will schedule interviews the week of July 6-10.

To schedule an audition contact Steve at (773) 327-6788 or by Tuesday June 23rd and sign up for either a 10:00 - 11:00 audition on Thursday June 25 or a 2:00 - 3:00 audition on Tuesday June 30.


If you have any questions at all, feel free to contact us.  We hope to see you this June!

As always, you can learn more about Imagination Theater at

— Jeremy Schaefer, Associate Artistic Director

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Diversity and Inclusion Workshops

Imagination Theater, in partnership with The Felicity Group, is on tour this June leading diversity and inclusion workshops for corporations on the east coast.

Our interactive style fills the workshop with an unmistakable energy.  From the very beginning, participants are moving around, meeting new people, and drawing insights from lively discussions.  This is most certainly not a talking heads diversity training.

We're thrilled at how much fun people have during these insightful sessions.  Learning through laughter is a terrific way to learn!

At the day's conclusion, participants acknowledge layers of diversity that they hadn't previously considered and recognize ways (both small and large) that they can actively foster inclusion in their office.

Perhaps our favorite part is witnessing meaningful collaborations emerge from our discussions.  When groups of people are invited to discuss vital issues, no obstacle is too large to be tackled.

As always, you can learn more about Imagination Theater at

— Jeremy Schaefer, Associate Artistic Director

Friday, May 15, 2015

Illuminate Benefit 2015!

Tonight's the night!  We're celebrating another fantastic season while building support for the future.

The 2014/15 season saw our No Secrets program expand into the suburbs with multiple district wide bookings.  We also premiered a new version of Show Some Respect that received unanimous praise.  We look forward to celebrating such an awesome season tonight with a crowd of partners, friends, and supporters.  There will be food, drinks, a silent auction, an award ceremony, and general good times!

Tickets are available on our website ( until 2:30 today.  After that, they'll be available for purchase at the door.

For more information, click here,

As always, you can learn more about our programs at

- Jeremy Schaefer, Associate Artistic Director

Friday, April 3, 2015


Spring is here in Chicago!

That means everyone in the office is cautiously optimistic that it's not going to snow next week.

That also means that we're gearing up for the end of the school year.

April through June can be very busy times for us!  Our communication workshops are incredibly popular for summer camp counselor trainings and end of the year celebrations!

Additionally, all of our programs are available all year round, so they're perfect for summer school, summer camp, staff trainings, and more!

The school year stretches until mid-June, so call us today and help us end the school year on a high note!

As always, you can learn more about our programs at

— Jeremy Schaefer, Associate Artistic Director

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Performances for Whole School Districts!

Imagination Theater's message is huge: individuals have the power to positively impact their community and affect change.

Because our message is universal, it's not uncommon for whole districts to book programming.  This allows our interactive assemblies to reach each school and engage every student in a meaningful conversation.

In February we brought our Children's Sexual Abuse Prevention Program, No Secrets, to entire districts in Elmhurst and LaGrange.  Those block bookings enabled whole communities to get on the same page with sexual abuse prevention and establish shared vocabulary with which to talk about this sensitive topic.  With Erin's Law in effect throughout the state, block booking No Secrets is a powerful way to provide students with the law's vital educational component.

We've also block booked Ease the Tease and Show Some Respect in the past.  When we book whole districts, we perform at multiple schools each day, and then share the savings with the district.  By booking more shows, the district saves money and every classroom benefits.

We believe that all of our shows initiate important discussions and support communities.  We would love to share that experience with your district.

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

—Jeremy Schaefer, Associate Artistic Director

Friday, January 30, 2015

Audiences that Inspire

When we bring Take A Stand into high schools, we know that we're going to get some reactions.  The scenes speak to the reality of bullying in ways that can sometimes be uncomfortable and always ignite passionate, diverse responses. After many scenes audiences have audible reactions, sometimes in favor of the protagonist and sometimes in support of a dangerous choice.  Either way, the scenes always fuel needed discussion.

Through these facilitated discussions, the audience explores consequences of unhealthy choices while celebrating those who stand up for others.  The result is always empowering.

Sometimes, however, the audience is exceptional.  That was the case this past Wednesday.

While students voiced diverse opinions, the amount of support the whole audience showed each individual was incredible.  After one student passionately voiced her feelings against prejudice of any kind, the entire audience applauded.  Rarely, is an audience so supportive of one another, that people earn applause during the post scene discussions.

Every volunteer that came up on stage had their return to the audience underscored by cheers and compliments.

Many different points of view were voiced, and all were accepted.  It was a really beautiful thing to see.  I'm tremendously proud that our show promotes important conversations, and I'm optimistic for the future when I see an audience so eager to participate in the dialogue.

As always, you can learn more about Take A Stand and all of our other programs at

— Jeremy Schaefer, Associate Artistic Director

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Customized Programs

Every Imagination Theater assembly is unique to the community hosting the event.  Our shows are always about the audience.  Audience members even star in the most pivotal moments of nearly every scene.

We provide the platform for communities to discuss and explore the issues that are most meaningful to them.  In order to best serve that end, we regularly work with schools and communities to customize programs and create original assemblies that address the social issues most critical to them.

Sometimes this means we're creating an entirely new show, like our upcoming programs on responsible proms and substance abuse.  On other occasions we can tailor an existing script to suit a particular community or shine a light on a specific circumstance.  This February we are touring a customized version of our No Secrets program for 6-8th grade as well as a customized version of our Aware Individuals program for high school students.

The flexibility of our style allows us to speak directly audiences about the issues that matter most to them.  It is a privilege to serve communities in this way.

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

— Jeremy Schaefer, Associate Artistic Director