Friday, July 22, 2022

FEST ALERT: Wicker Park Fest Returning July 22-24 for the 18th Season

Here at ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Live Shows, we've been going to Wicker Park Fest, Chicago’s biggest street festival, since it's inception. With 3 stages, over 40 acclaimed live bands, an arts area, family fun, food and drinks, there's something for everyone. This is one of the best of the Chicago fests, so get on down to Milwaukee Avenue from North Avenue to Paulina Street July 22-24 for Wicker Park Fest's 18th season.

Photos: Local H, NNAMDÏ, Cherry Glazerr, Caroline Rose, The Happy Fits. Courtesy of the artists.

Headlining bands include Chicago’s established rock band Local H, Chicago-based multi-instrumentalist NNAMDÏ, as well as eight national acts such as Cherry Glazerr, Caroline Rose, The Happy Fits, MICHELLE, Y La Bamba, The Spits, Armand Hammer, and Tom the Mail Man. Other highlights from the music lineup include Laura Stevenson, Arin Ray and Cheekface. The free festival with $10 suggested donation benefits the nonprofit Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce. The presenting sponsor for Wicker Park Fest 2022 is Goose Island Beer Company.

The complete lineup and schedule are as follows:

FRIDAY, JULY 22, 5-10 P.M.


08:30 - 10:00 Local H

07:00 - 08:00 The Spits

06:00 - 06:30 Bev Rage & The Drinks



09:00 - 10:00 Y La Bamba

07:45 - 08:30 ÉSSO! Afrojam Funkbeat

06:30 - 07:15 Cheekface

05:15 - 06:00 Dwaal Troupe



09:00 - 10:00 Reggae Gold

07:30 - 09:00 Tukkiman

07:00 - 07:30 DJ Illest

06:00 - 07:00 Ifficial Reggae Movement

05:00 - 06:00 Lady Sol & Friends


SATURDAY, JULY 23, 12-10 P.M.


08:45 - 10:00 The Happy Fits

07:30 - 08:15 Laura Stevenson

06:15 - 07:00 Quasi

05:00 - 05:45 Marina City

03:45 - 04:30 Caracara

02:00 - 02:45 Phoneboy

01:00 - 01:30 Lightleak

12:00 - 12:30 Young Ritual



09:00 - 10:00 Armand Hammer

07:45 - 08:30 Arin Ray

06:30 - 07:15 Gramps The Vamp

05:30 - 06:00 Tom the Mail Man

04:30 - 05:00 Matt Muse



08:45 - 10:00 Future Rootz feat. Daniel Crane

08:00 - 08:45 Mo Mami

07:00 - 07:45 La Reina Cumbia

06:00 - 06:45 Lester Rey

05:00 - 05:45 Bumbac Joe & his Mamakinas

03:00 - 05:00 The Gr8Cypher w/ TheGr8Thinkaz

12:00 - 02:00 School Of Rock Chicago West


SUNDAY, JULY 24, 12-10 P.M.



08:30 - 10:00 Cherry Glazerr

07:00 - 08:00 Caroline Rose

05:45 - 06:30 MICHELLE

04:30 - 05:15 Dante Elephante

03:15 - 04:00 TheGr8Thinkaz

02:15 - 02:45 Emmett Mulrooney

12:00 - 01:45 School Of Rock Chicago



09:00 - 10:00 NNAMDÏ

07:45 - 08:30 Oux

06:30 - 07:15 Mo Lowda & The Humble

05:30 - 06:00 The Brevet

04:30 - 05:00 Stay Outside



07:00 - 10:00 The Hustle

05:00 - 07:00 Duane Powell

03:00 - 05:00 Tommaso Conforti


Other entertainment and special offers at the festival include:


Arts Area

The Arts Area is presented by Wicker Park Bucktown Special Service Area #33 with provoking sculpture installations and interactive art, showcasing unique works from local artists. This year, 3 artworks will be shown: Rainbow Pyramid by John Bannon and Ed Wesly, A Quivering Life (Snared) by Samuel Schwindt, and Studio W.I.P. by Native 312. For more information on the Arts Area and the artists, visit


Pin Perks

A $10 donation at the gate benefits the nonprofit Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce, and comes with festival pin perks of receiving more than 20 discounts from festival vendors and businesses in the area. Participating businesses and deals include but are not limited to: Steely Boutique (30% off one item), Transit Tees (free pin or button with any in-store purchase), Kadampa Meditation (50% off one regular drop-in class), Spynergy (3 classes for $60), Liquor Park (10% off entire purchase), One Strange Bird (15% off entire purchase), Burton (20% off full price items), Eco Conscious Technologies (20% off online purchases of Air/Surface Pro/Pro+), Earth Rider Cycling (free pair of bike sock with any purchase), Barry's (free first class), and Ouro Hermetica (free OuroHermetica tea light candle). For more information on the pin perks, visit


Food and Drinks

Food vendors at the festival include:

5411 Empanadas: empanadas (truck)  

Beat Kitchen on the Riverwalk: tacos, empanadas, pizza, fries, tater tots

Blackhawk BBQ & Seafood: BBQ, carnival & seafood

Donerman: German food (truck)

Genoa Italian Concession: Italian food

Harold’s Chicken: Chicken                     

Indian Garden Restaurant: Indian food

Island Noodles Chicago: Hawaiian food

Lee Concessions: carnival & Asian food

Seoul Taco: Korean tacos

Suzies Fun Foods: carnival food

Zucci Events & Dining: Mediterranean food


Kids Fest and Family Activities

The Kids Fest, hosted by Burr Elementary and taking place at Wolcott and Milwaukee Avenues, will offer an exclusive area of family programming, including early childhood learning, kids’ mini  tennis, science learnings, balloon animals, cookie decorating, kids cooking lessons, and more!

Thursday, July 21, 2022

REVIEW: Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank, Now Playing Only In Theatres

What We're Watching: Movies On Our Radar

Guest Review

by Lori Morrison and Family

Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank is about a young dog, Hank (Michael Cera), down on his luck but with a head full of dreams. Hank is determined to make his dream come true by learning to become a Samurai. Lucky for him, a once great Samurai named Jimbo (Samuel L Jackson) is available to teach him as long as he can defend a village of cats with a No Dogs Allowed policy. Ika Chu (Ricky Gervais) wishes to destroy their village to expand his kingdom and secure his spot as the new Shogun. 

This is an animated comedy loosely based on Mel Brooks' 1974 film Blazing Saddles. Mel Brooks voices The Shogun. 

It is filled with cliches, references to other movies and breaking of the 4th wall moments which sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. It is probably best for the 10 and under crowd. 

Lori is an unschooling Chicago mom who lives in LaGrange with her three kids. She is a 2nd degree black belt in TKD and a burlesque dancer, who teaches self defense.

Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank




1 hr 42 min

Release Date: July 15, 2022

Genre: Children, Comedy, Adventure, Animated

A hard-on-his-luck hound Hank (Michael Cera) finds himself in a town full of cats who need a hero to defend them from a ruthless villain's (Ricky Gervais) evil plot to wipe their village off the map. With help from a reluctant teacher (Samuel L. Jackson) to train him, our underdog must assume the role of town samurai and team up with the villagers to save the day. The only problem… cats hate dogs!







A hard-on-his-luck hound Hank (Michael Cera) finds himself in a town full of cats who need a hero to defend them from a ruthless villain's (Ricky Gervais) evil plot to wipe their village off the map. With help from a reluctant teacher (Samuel L. Jackson) to train him, our underdog must assume the role of town samurai and team up with the villagers to save the day. The only problem… cats hate dogs! Also starring Mel Brooks, George Takei, Aasif Mandvi, Gabriel Iglesias, Djimon Hounsou, Michelle Yeoh, Kylie Kuioka, and Cathy Shim, PAWS OF FURY: THE LEGEND OF HANK pounces into theatres July 15, 2022.


Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies and Align and Aniventure Present

In association with HB Wink Animation and GFM Animation

A Flying Tigers Entertainment Production in association with Aniventure

In association with Cinesite

In association with a bunch of other guys too numerous to mention…


Rob Minkoff, Mark Koetsier, Chris Bailey 


Ed Stone & Nate Hopper and Mel Brooks, Norman Steinberg, 

Andrew Bergman, Richard Pryor, Alan Uger


Andrew Bergman



Rob Minkoff, Adam Nagle, Peter Nagle, Guy Collins, Yair Landau and Susan Purcell



Adrian Politowski, Alex Schwartz, Ben White, Reginald Hudlin, 

Wang Zhongjun, Wang Zhonglei, Mel Brooks


Michael Cera, Ricky Gervais, Mel Brooks, George Takei, Aasif Mandvi, Gabriel Iglesias, Djimon Hounsou, Michelle Yeoh, Kylie Kuioka, Cathy Shim and Samuel L. Jackson


PG for action, violence, rude and suggestive humor, and some language






Follow along on social media at #PawsofFury

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Rosemont Monster Jam® Tickets On-Sale Now For September 16-18, 2022

ChiIL Mama’s ChiIL Picks List

The most family-friendly, action-packed motorsport in the world races into Allstate Arena on September 16-18

This. Is. Monster Jam™!  The most action-packed motorsports experience for families in the world today returns to Rosemont for an adrenaline-charged weekend at Allstate Arena on September 16-18.  Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, Monster Jam® features world-class athletes locked in intense competitions of speed and skill. Tickets are available on

The Monster Jam Pit Party will be held on Saturday and Sunday. At the Monster Jam Pit Party, fans can see the massive trucks up close, meet their favorite drivers and crews, get autographs, take pictures and enjoy other family-friendly fun.  This unique experience is the only place that allows people to get up close access to the Monster Jam teams and get an insider’s look at how these trucks are built to stand up to the competition.

Rosemont fans will witness a fierce battle for the event championship with each skilled Monster Jam athlete tearing up the dirt with gravity-defying feats in 12,000-pound Monster Jam trucks going head-to-head for points in Freestyle, Skills, Donuts and Racing competitions.  Plus, fans can become part of the action by voting for the winner in the Skills, Donuts and Freestyle competitions via real-time, in-stadium fan voting on their smartphones. 

The all-star lineup will feature multiple fan favorites including GUINNESS WORLD RECORD™ Krysten Anderson, driver of legendary Grave Digger®, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and Armando Castro who grabs the bull by the horns behind the wheel of El Toro Loco®. 

Monster Jam drivers are trained, world-class male and female athletes who have mastered not only the physical strength and mental stamina needed to compete, but the vital dexterity to control 12,000-pound machines capable of doing backflips, vertical two-wheel skills and racing at speeds up to 70 miles-per-hour to produce jaw-dropping, live motorsports action seen around the world.



Friday, September 16 – 7 PM

Saturday, September 17 – 1 PM & 7 PM | Pit Party 10:30 AM – Noon

Sunday, September 18 – 1 PM & 6:30 PM | Pit Party 10:30 AM – Noon

WHERE: Allstate Arena, 6920 North Mannheim Rd, Rosemont, IL 60018

TRUCK LINEUP: Grave Digger driven by Krysten Anderson; EarthShaker driven by Tristan England; El Toro Loco driven by Armando Castro; Zombie driven by Brittany Marcotte; Stone Crusher driven by Chad Tingler; Hooked driven by Shane Phreed; Overbored driven by Jamey Garner; Wildside driven by Zach Garner.

**Truck and driver line-up subject to change



Tickets will be available for purchase online at

Visit for more detailed information on the event.

For more info about a Monster Jam event near you, follow Monster Jam on our social media channels: Facebook, Twitter & Instagram and TikTok.   Subscribe to the Monster Jam YouTube Channel at

About Feld Entertainment, Inc.

Feld Entertainment® is the worldwide leader in producing and presenting live family entertainment experiences that bring people together and uplift the human spirit. Properties include Monster Jam®, Monster Energy Supercross, Disney On Ice, Marvel Universe LIVE!, Sesame Street Live!, and Jurassic World Live Tour. Across the brand portfolio, Feld Entertainment has entertained millions of families in more than 75 countries and on six continents. Visit for more information.


About Monster Jam

Unexpected, unscripted and unforgettable, Monster Jam® features world-class athletes competing for championships on perfectly engineered dirt tracks that push these ever-evolving, state-of-the-art trucks to the limit. Beyond the 350 global live events each year, the Monster Jam brand extends off the track into the home through products, content and merchandise that keeps the fun alive year-round.  For more information, visit





Tuesday, July 19, 2022

REVIEW: The Wizard of Oz Via The Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences Now Playing playing Through August 7th, 2022

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A musical adventure for all ages!

Theatre for Young Audiences returns to the Marriott Theatre.

The Marriott Theatre for Young Audience’s production of the Wizard of Oz transported three generations of my family to a just-dangerous-enough world of magic and brought us safely, satisfyingly home.

My mom, I, and two of my kids, ages 12 and 7, were immediately drawn into Campbell Krausen’s sincere and engaging Dorothy. We were quickly introduced to the Kansas crew; an adorable, living and breathing Toto; and ensemble players Laura Savage, Mandy Modic, and Matthew Bettencourt who created, with the surrounding screens and inventive costuming, a very convincing tornado.

When Glinda (Harriet Nzinga Plumpp, who also plays Aunt Em) appeared along with her shower of bubbles, my 7-year-old was not alone in leaping out of his seat and exclaiming, “Joy, joy, joy!”

Jacquelyne Jones as the Wicked Witch of the West (and Miss Gultch) was a perfect villain for the beloved crew to conquer. We all appreciated the non-traditional casting of Allison Sill in the role of the Scarecrow (with very entertaining physical comedy), the heartfelt performance of Michael Turrentine as Tin Man (his excellent tap skills were a super fun dynamic for his character), and Lorenzo Rush Jr.’s “Cowardly” Lion, who is very funny and, of course, courageous in the end. Kevin McKillip was the perfect well-intentioned bumbler as the Wizard of Oz (and Uncle Henry).

All production photos by Liz Lauren

Artistic Director Peter Marston, props and scenic designer Sally Zack, costume designer Amanda Vader Byl, lighting designer Jesse Klug, sound designer Brandon Reid, and media designer Tony Churchill—along with other tech and stage pros—made this an experience that held my digital-native kids captive.

The Wizard of Oz is playing through August 7th. Don't miss this!

 Kimberly Robb Baker is a Chicago based writer, blogger, consultant, story teller, and mother. You can find her worky stuff here: and her artsy fartsy stuff here:

The Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences returns this summer with THE WIZARD OF OZ! Families will relive this beloved tale of four unlikely friends on the adventure of a lifetime at the Marriott Theatre, located at 10 Marriott Dr. Lincolnshire, running July 8, 2022 through August 7, with a press opening on July 16 at 10:00AM. The production returns November 15 through December 31. THE WIZARD OF OZ features the classic musical score that has entertained audiences for generations including "Follow the Yellow Brick Road," "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead," and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." This special one-hour presentation is directed by Johanna McKenzie Miller and choreographed by Tiffany Krause. Musical Direction is by Cameron Miya with Musical Supervision by Jeff Award winner Ryan T. Nelson.

“I am so thrilled to be a part of this special production of THE WIZARD OF OZ in the round,’’ said Johanna McKenzie Miller. “With the eve of Judy Garland’s 100th birthday this year, we thought this would be the perfect time to bring back this classic tale and relive the special moments that will continue to bring generations together and have the whole family humming along.”

THE WIZARD OF OZ tells the classic tale of young Dorothy Gale and her dog Toto who are swept away by a tornado from their Kansas farm to the colorful and enchanting Land of Oz. To get back home, Dorothy must first embark on a journey to the Emerald City, where the Wizard of Oz resides. On the way down the Yellow Brick Road, Dorothy and her dog are accompanied by three new friends they meet along the way– a Scarecrow who wants a brain, a Tin Man who wants a heart and a Cowardly Lion who wants courage. All on the quest to have their wishes come true, they come across the Wicked Witch of the West out on her own quest for revenge.

This production of THE WIZARD OF OZ stars Campbell Krausen as “Dorothy,” Lorenzo Rush Jr. as “Lion,” Michael Turrentine as “Tin Man,” Allison Sill as “Scarecrow,” Harriet Nzinga Plumpp as “Auntie Em/Glinda,” Jacquelyne Jones as “Miss Gultch/Wicked Witch” and Kevin McKillip as “Uncle Henry/Oz”. The ensemble features Laura Savage, Mandy Modic and Matthew Bettencourt, with understudies Isabella Abel-Suarez, Grace Bobber, Emily Ann Brooks, Jake Elkins, Michael Earvin Martin, Jenna Napolitano, and Nolan Fizoires Robinson II.

The Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences team will be led by Artistic Director Peter Marston Sullivan, with artistic associate Emily Marso, props and scenic design by Sally Zack, costume design by Amanda Vander Byl, wig design by Megan Pirtle, lighting design by Jesse Klug, sound design by Brandon Reed, projection and media design by Tony Churchill. The stage manager is Jessica Banaszak.

Marriott Theatre is committed to providing healthy and safe facilities for audiences, performers, and staff. Please check prior to your visit for the most recent COVID-19 protocols.

THE WIZARD OF OZ plays most Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10am, Fridays at 6pm, Saturdays at 10am and 12.30 pm and Sundays at 10am. Visit or call 847.634.0200 for exact schedule, as show times and dates vary. Tickets are $15, excluding tax and handling fees. Call for group discounts over 20 tickets. Free parking is available at all performances. To reserve tickets, please call The Marriott Theatre Box Office at 847.634.0200 or visit

Summer Fun Abounds With The Netflix Family Summer Truck Tour

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Netflix Activity Truck at Navy Pier

Photo Recap by Guest Reviewer

Kimberly Robb Baker and Family

If your kids are anything like mine, they BLOW UP your Netflix account! So it was an extra pleasure to bring my kids to the Netflix Activity Truck at Navy Pier this weekend.

All event photos by Kimberly Robb Baker

They got to take pictures with Blippi and Po (of Kungfu Panda fame). Netflix didn’t even mind when I got in on the greenscreen action, put in-scene of The Sea Beast, their new girl-hero water adventure! Did I mention there were generous swag bags for the kids?!

The truck tour began in California and brought a taste of Hollywood to the Windy City. You can get your own kid-friendly experience with Netflix as they appear in Minneapolis at the Mall of America’s Toddler Tuesday 10-3 on July 19th, at the New England Aquarium in Boston on July 23 and 24 9-5, and finally in Atlanta at The Battery from 9:30-4:30.

To keep the fun going at home, download the activity guide here and check out the “Summer Break” collection at for even more summertime viewing suggestions. 

The Netflix Family Summer Truck Tour features a kids and family friendly film & series-themed truck which is making its way across the U.S. during July and August with stops at MLB games, aquariums, malls, piers and a host of other locations. Family fun includes giveaways, character meet-and-greets and an immersive photo experience highlighting the best “what to watch” films and series for families this summer.

To get the latest on Netflix Family Summer, follow on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest @NetflixFamily #NetflixFamilySummer 

Sunday, July 17, 2022

FEST ALERT: Physical Fest Is Back July 16th-24th at Nichols Park in Hyde Park and The Den Theatre.



After holding a virtual festival in 2020 in response to the lockdown and producing their first outdoor event last year, the ninth edition of the Festival will present an expanded program of indoor and outdoor performances and in-person workshops, July 16th-24th, at Nichols Park in Hyde Park and The Den Theatre.

Physical Theater Festival Chicago is bringing back indoor performances for its ninth edition after going virtual in 2020 and presenting a downsized outdoors edition last year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns. Public response to the outdoor event was, in fact, so positive that Festival co-founders Marc Frost and Alice da Cunha are starting the Festival Saturday, July 16th with a full day of family-friendly outdoor shows in partnership with the Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks series. The free event will take place at Nichols Park, 1355 East 53rd St., in the Hyde Park neighborhood from 2-8 pm. The Festival will continue with a week of international, national and local performances, workshops and conversations at The Den Theater, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., from July 18th-24th. There will also be virtual offerings available on their website,

Artists scheduled to perform during the eight-day event include: Chicago’s Theatre Lumina, physical actor, juggler and performer Alex M. Knapp, clown and puppeteer Sharaina “Shay” Turnage, and contemporary circus company To X For; from the UK, Kuumba Nia Arts and Unlock the Chains Collective, two groups dedicated to bringing to life the stories and histories of people of African and Caribbean descent in the United Kingdom; and from Argentina, Payasos Cenizas.\

Tickets for individual shows at The Den Theatre are: General, $21; Industry/Students/Seniors/Veterans, $16. Festival passes for all 5 shows are General, $86; Industry/Students/Seniors/Veterans, $61. Tickets and passes can be purchased at For The Den Theatre’s covid policy visit their website.

“Being able to present our Festival last year, in person and outdoors, was a much needed balm for an artform that depends precisely on that human, physical contact. To see the joy, the smiles, in our audiences' faces, especially among the children was incredibly rewarding for both Alice and myself. So you can imagine how we feel about our return to the stage to introduce theatergoers to the amazing new creations from these dynamic  artists.” said Frost.

“Our Festival was conceived from Day One as an international festival so to not be able to bring these artists from around the world to the city of Chicago due to the pandemic, while necessary, truly saddened us.” added da Cunha. “In the theater world, two years feels like an eternity so we feel incredibly happy and blessed to be able to bring these local and international artists back to the space we all call home, the stage, and celebrate their resilience in these difficult times.”

The 9th Physical Theater Festival Chicago is made possible through the generosity of major supporters like the Richard HJ. Driehaus Foundation, the MacArthur Funds for Culture, Equity, and the Arts, Chicago Park District's Night Out in the Parks and The Chicago Latino Theater Alliance; our producer's board and the generous contributions of individuals like you. 



Saturday, July 16, 2-8 p.m.

Physical Theater Festival Chicago Family Event

Nichols Park, 1355 East 53rd St., Chicago

Performances by Alex M. Knapp (Chicago), Sharaina Turnage (Chicago) and Kuumba Nia Arts (UK)

Physical actor, juggler, magician and circus performer Alex M. Knapp attended the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University for Music (Vocal and Cello performance), as well as Columbia College Chicago for theater. He has studied Mime with The Mime Company in Evanston, Clown with 500 Clown, Paola Colletto, and The School for Theater Creators. He has received intensive circus training at New York Trapeze School in New York, Eche Arial Arts in Boston, and from Norbol Meirmanov at Meirmanov Sports Acro (MSA) in Chicago. Alex has performed with companies such as Redmoon Theater, Adventure Stage, the Inconvenience Theater and with 360 Entertainments national tour production of Peter Pan. On TV he has performed with Green Screen Adventures on WCIU. At clubs, bars, parties and festivals he performs with his band the Amen Brothers on Vocals, Ukulele and Cello.

Actor, puppeteer and clown Sharaina “Shay” Turnage is an actor/writer/voiceover/puppeteer/clown from the Southside of Chicago. Shay has toured with Manual Cinema and Theater Unspeakable. Shay also has performed with Free Street for the past few years. Shay studied “Du” Theater in Suriname, South America and was one of the first and currently only North Americans to perform the art form in Suriname and in the US. 

Kuumba Nia Arts is a Black led Oxford-based touring theater company that produces and develops work based on traditional African theatrical forms and aesthetics.  In Swahili, Kuumba means ‘creativity’ whilst Nia can be translated as ‘intention’ or ‘purpose’.  


1333 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Monday, July 18

7 p.m. – Scratch Night

Scratch Night is a curated, quarterly theater showcase of works-in-progress featuring innovative local theater makers. Scratch Night features 6-7 previews of original contemporary, visual, and physical theater by different Chicago artists to foster their development. Co-produced by Brittany Price Anderson and Scott Ray Merchant, Scratch Night aims to provide a social space for community, conversation, and collaboration.


Tuesday, July 19 and Wednesday, July 20

7 p.m. – Song of Home by Theatre Lumina (USA/Chicago)

Theatre Lumina presents its newest devised work, Song of Home, a series of movement etudes confronting America’s complicated relationship with global displacement. Experienced by three displaced women coming to the United States, Song of Home is a theatrical meditation on the rich dynamic between a country’s identity and its accountability to the displaced. This project was first presented in a workshop phase in New Orleans in spring 2019 and then toured to Chisinau, Moldova and Lodz, Poland in February 2020.

Theatre Lumina is a group of artists devoted to cross-cultural collaboration and international exchange, founded by Monica Payne in 2014. Through the selection of diverse artists, subject matter, scripts, and influences, they seek to deepen audiences’ perspective and care for the world in which they live.  

Wednesday, July 20 and Thursday, July 21

9 p.m. – Surface Tension by To X For (USA/Chicago)

Surface Tension takes a beautiful and daring look at a queer friendship. At points ecstatic, dark, searching, and joyful, this intimate circus show celebrates vulnerable connection through sincere juggling. Utilizing acrobatics, weight-sharing, object manipulation, and dance, Surface Tension addresses the fear of loss, the power of trust, and the joy of vulnerability. 

To X For is a grassroots contemporary circus company based in Chicago, formed by artists Liam Bradley and David Chervony. Their aim is to make intimate performance that conveys a deeper sense of our humanity.

Thursday, July 21-Saturday, July 23

7 p.m. (Thursday and Friday), 9 p.m. (Saturday) – Sold by Kuumba Nia Arts (U.K.) and Unlock the Chains Collective (U.K.)

When one woman tells of her extraordinary journey to overcome the brutality of slavery, she becomes a beacon for the British anti-slavery movement. Born into slavery in the British colony of Bermuda, Mary Prince went on to become an autobiographer and champion of freedom. Published in 1831, Sold had an electrifying effect on the abolitionist movement helping to free many Africans in bondage. Through theater, song, music, drumming & dance, this masterpiece of Black British theater is inspired by the storytelling traditions of the West African Griot.

Kuumba Nia Arts was founded in 2009 to bring African and Caribbean peoples’ histories and contemporary stories to life through theater & film. Their storytelling theater form is a fusion of drama, song, dance and ritual linked to Caribbean and African roots. 

Unlock the Chains Collective was founded in 1986 by Euton Daley to explore performance poetry as a theatrical form and to develop a dialogue with various social struggles at the time. Dormant for over 20 years, they reformed in 2013 to continue the journey and give Black artists a performance platform and to present black experiences and cultural forms. 

Friday, July 22-Sunday, July 25

9 p.m. (Friday), 7 p.m. (Saturday) and 3 p.m. (Sunday) – Ruedos by Payasos Cenizas (Argentina). Co-presenting with Chicago Latino Theater Alliance

Silence, laughter and poetry come together in an extremely delicate and fun show that starts from minimal gestures and reaches the great questions of each and every one of us, by the hand of an artist. A clown show full of silences, angels and demons, where the body is in charge of writing words in a universal language. The arenas are corners in the life of this clown, who bares his soul while building crazy stories through a constant game with everyday elements.

Agustín Catriel Soler (Payasos Cenizas) is a founding member of the Los Tarantela theater company and has toured Europe doing presentations at the Cirque Starlight in Switzerland and at the Martin Handson’s Winter Circus in Holland. In 2013 he premiered his one-man show Ruedos in Buenos Aires, touring several festivals around the world. Performances of this show continue up to the present. He directed the plays Povorot (2018) Mortajas (2019) and Ciertas Petunias (2022).

WORKSHOPS (also at the Den Theatre)

Physical Theater Festival Chicago is pleased to offer workshops with visiting and local artists during the festival. Attendees will be able to hone their skills, add to their artistic toolbox, and meet physical theater practitioners in an engaging setting. All workshops will cost $51 and for those wanting to attend all four workshops there will be a workshop pass for $181.

Thursday, July 21

10 a.m.-1 p.m.

The Triptych: Storytelling in Three Panels

Taught by Monica Payne and members of Theatre Lumina

This workshop will explore physical expression and storytelling through the lens of the Triptych, a three-paneled composition drawn from the world of visual art. Through various exercises, primarily based in Viewpoints, the workshop will unlock the vocabulary necessary for making innovative, physical new work. Students will have the opportunity to create their own triptych and to discuss strategies for using it as either source material or character research. 

Friday, July 22

10 a.m.-1p.m.

Neoteric Juggling

Taught by Company To X For

An all-level crash course in contemporary juggling and a deep dive into Company To X For’s creative practices. In this three-hour workshop, participants will engage with the principles of object manipulation through composition, improvisation, and narrative storytelling. Participants will leave this workshop with a toolkit of exercises to explore the possibilities of juggling in performance. 

Saturday, July 23

10 a.m.-1 p.m.


Taught by Kuumba Nia Arts & Unlock the Chains Collective

A practical exploration of the company's storytelling style as used in their award-winning production of Sold – the story of Mary Prince. Participants will work to create short pieces of theater that moves from improvisation to structure and explore how we shift from past to present to future and the utilization and fusion of prop, song, music, movement, symbol, character and chorus in creating stories.

Sunday, July 24

10 a.m.-1 p.m.

The Clown Body

Taught by Payasos Cenizas

This workshop will work on the construction of an available, sensitive, precise and present body, The Clown Body, through corporal, comic, and poetic writing.

The precision of the "movement" together with the "decision", both fundamental elements in a scene.The clown can be captured in a firm, present, and immense tree but it can also be the leaf that falls from the tree in absolute silence. 


Physical Theater Festival Chicago is an annual contemporary, visual, and physical theater festival that presents new forms of theater that are being performed around the world. In 2014, Alice da Cunha and Marc Frost launched the inaugural Physical Theater Festival through the Artistic Associate program at Links Hall. The inspiration for the Festival drew upon their combined experience in London as physical theater students at the London International School for the Performing Arts (LISPA). Moving from London to Chicago, they were inspired to start a new festival to promote a more progressive, fresh and physical approach to theater-making in Chicago. 

Originally from Brazil, Alice is an actress, producer and teacher who has lived and worked in Portugal, the US and the UK. While in London, Alice worked as an actress as well as producing a weekly short film festival, ShortCutz London, and as the Marketing Director for CASA, London’s Latin American Theatre Festival. Alice also serves as Artistic Consultant to Theater Unspeakable and has acted in various films, TV and theater shows including United Flight 232 (Jeff for Best Ensemble & Best Mid-Sized Prod.). Alice also does translation and interpreting for various companies including the Chicago Latino Film Festival.

Marc is an actor, deviser, educator and Chicago native who has performed and produced work in Brazil, Ireland, Spain, the USA and the UK. He created Theater Unspeakable as a platform for original works of devised, physical theater. Based in Chicago, the award-winning company has toured nationally, performing at venues including Lincoln Center Education (NY) and Kennedy Center (DC). He currently teaches physical theater at Northwestern University and Columbia College Chicago. Marc is also a proud graduate of the Commercial Theatre Institute’s 14-Week Training Program for Commercial Theatre Producers in New York City. 


CHICAGO PARK DISTRICT: This year, the 10th annual Night Out in the Parks edition will bring over 700 world-class events, including over 158 movies, 146 dance showcases, 128 musical performances, 120 theater, 71 nature experiences, 22 community festivals, 13 wellness immersions, and numerous holiday-themed events to every one of the city's 77 community areas and in all 50 wards. More than 120 Chicago-based artists will be involved as part of the family-friendly park event series, which will offer 2,000 hours of safe, high quality, cultural programming in 250 parks citywide. Nearly all events are offered with free admission. The Park District will also highlight more than 140 dance-themed outdoor performances that celebrate Chicago’s rich tapestry of cultures and storied dance industry as part of the “Year of Chicago Dance.” All events are available to view at and on the Night Out mobile application My Chi Parks™. Patrons who are exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19 are asked to stay home and join us for an event when symptoms subside. 

CHICAGO LATINO THEATER ALLIANCE (CLATA): The Chicago Latino Theater Alliance (CLATA) is committed to enticing, fostering and showcasing new thought provoking works of emerging Latino playwrights to inspire a cross-cultural audience. CLATA works to showcase existing and new thought-provoking U.S. Latino playwrights, actors and directors primarily in Chicago, along with national and international counterparts. CLATA strives to preserve cultural heritage and serve as a conduit to promote and identify new and exciting works. CLATA’s goals are to create a permanent home for Chicago’s Latino theater groups and companies and to create the country’s leading international Latino theater festival with an emphasis on showcasing local Latino theater artists and companies. CLATA also aims to provide technical and professional support for Chicago’s Latino theater groups and companies. CLATA is a sponsor of Physical Theater Festival Chicago.

THE MACARTHUR FUNDS FOR CULTURE, EQUITY, AND THE ARTS AT THE RICHARD H. DRIEHAUS FOUNDATION: Richard H. Driehaus, a successful investment advisor, made his first public philanthropic gesture in 1983, when he established his eponymous foundation. For the next decade, the Foundation made grants totaling $6,000,000. In 1992 a family board was appointed, an executive director was hired, and giving became more formal and focused. Today the Foundation awards approximately $5,000,000 annually in grants, a portion of which is in partnership with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The Driehaus Foundation benefits individuals and communities by supporting the preservation and enhancement of the built and natural environments through historic preservation in neighborhoods throughout Chicago, encouragement of quality architectural and landscape design, and conservation of open space. The Foundation also supports arts and culture, investigative reporting and government accountability, and organizations that provide opportunities for working poor people. The Driehaus Foundation has been a Lead Sponsor of Physical Theater Festival Chicago for the past five years.