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Raven Theatre is dedicated to 1) providing an important voice in regional theatre focusing on masterpieces of the American stage as well as new and lesser-known projects that illuminate the "American Experience," with occasional forays into distinguished examples of world theatre, and 2) reaching out to and enriching Chicago's far northern neighborhoods through its educational outreach programming.Through its array of adult and children's programming, Raven has established itself as a cultural anchor to an underserved segment of Chicago. In the eight years since the company relocated to its current complex in the Edgewater community of Chicago, it has continued to grow artistically as well as organizationally. It has mounted vigorously fresh productions of masterpieces by great playwrights, enjoying critical and audience acclaim, while garnering numerous Joseph Jefferson and After Dark awards.
Raven Theatre's mission is realized by sustaining a high standard of artistic excellence which is made available to all notwithstanding their ability to pay. Raven Theatre's By-Laws establish the Raven Theatre Opportunity Program, which is dedicated to providing theatrical and educational opportunities to traditionally underserved groups. Under this program, the theatre makes available up to 5% of the seating capacity at reduced or free admission to anyone who does not have the ability to pay.
Since 1983, Raven Theatre has produced critically-acclaimed hit shows which to date have received over 40 Jeff nominations and 20 awards for production, direction, performance and design. In 1995, Raven Theatre established a Children's Program by creating original works specifically for young audiences ages 3-9.
Raven Theatre serves the far north communities of Chicago, including Edgewater, Rogers Park, Uptown and Andersonville, areas of tremendous diversity in its socio-economic and ethnic make-up which are underserved by the performing arts. In the 2009 - 2010 academic year Raven Theatre's Outreach program served a student population of 350 neighborhood students that mirrored that fact, including children of Hispanic, Indian, Pakistani, African, Bosnian, Pacific Island and Asian families.
This year the most significant indicator of Raven's programming impact in our community came out of our budget crisis. In response to learning that we were going to have to cut programs for the 2010-2011 school year, a group of parents, teachers and community members came together to informally discuss fundraising ideas for the program itself, rather than a particular school partnership. Out of that informal meeting grew the formation of a now sanctioned auxiliary organization to the Raven Board of Directors, called "Friends of Raven," a group of volunteers who act as ambassadors to raise awareness and financial support for the theatre's youth outreach programming. Their mission is to have fun while supporting the theatre by:
- Actively developing new sources of fundraising, including planning and executing fundraising events
- Working to increase public awareness of the theatre's education and outreach programs
- Teri McCaskill
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