Training program

Collaboraction opens submissions for the one-year youth training program

Collaboraction has opened submissions for The Light, a year-long residency-style training program for young “artivists” (artists + activists) in Chicago to illuminate community, connection, and social change through performance and art. design.

Now in year two, The Light will recruit, cultivate and provide performance platforms, both live and digital, for two cohorts or “sets”. Like last year, Collaboraction will select five young performance activists, who will be paired with mentors to create and perform original solo works. New this year, Collaboraction has expanded The Light to include a second cohort of production activists – five young people who will work alongside industry professionals in design and technical skills including light, sound, video, costumes, stage design and stage management.

The submission deadline for both cohorts, Performance Activists and Production Activists, is Friday, May 20, 2022. To apply, go to and complete the appropriate submission form.

Applicants will be asked to submit a sample video, state their social justice goal, and share how they seek to spread it to the world as an artist who wants to cultivate positive social change. For performers, Collaboraction is open to different styles including storytelling/theatre, spoken word, dance or music. For the production/design team, all levels of experience and areas of interest are welcome. For both cohorts, Collaboraction is especially interested in submissions from young people interested in art as healing, an umbrella theme for all of the company’s programming coming out of the pandemic.

In July, Collaboraction will select a diverse group of ten young artists. The two ensembles will work independently, with mentors and in collaboration to conceive, engineer, rehearse and perform five solo pieces under the overall title The Light. These performances, presented in August at Hamilton Park in Englewood, Douglass Park in Lawndale and Lafollette Park in Austin as part of the Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks, will be free and open to the public.

Following the visit to the parks, The Light artists, with technical support from the youth production team, will each create a video of their work to be screened at Collaboraction shows and in-person events, on future episodes of Crucial Connexions’ live monthly virtual talk show, and shared on Collaboraction’s ICT Tac, Youtube, instagram and Facebook feeds itself.

Each youth selected for The Light will be paid $18 per hour for all rehearsals, productions, performances and appearance times, through Collaboraction. Fair remuneration policy for all. The light performers and production/design team will also be booked for additional performances, appearances, collaborations, activations, and training opportunities throughout the 2022-23 school year.

The Light is partially supported by the Marc and Jeanne Malnati Family Foundation and Toyota Motors North America.

Speaking about their experience, Phallon and Kyra Pierce, aka The Pierce Twins, said, “The Light has helped us grow as artists and connect with other teens. We’re not just artists learning and work together, we are really friends! Being able to participate in this program and the support of Collaboraction has provided us with opportunities to perform and spread our message on a larger scale.”

On March 21, Collaboraction paved the way for the Pierce Twins to spread their message more widely when the Chicago Bulls and United Airlines honored them at a courthouse ceremony with their Chicago Stands Up Award, which recognizes young people from Chicago having a positive impact. . Collaboraction introduced the Bulls to the talents and activism of the Pierce Twins and nominated the girls for the award.

Join the society’s new membership program that supports digital workshops and live programs, helps pay artists fairly, and provides courageous space for diverse voices who create transformative performances on critical social issues. CollaborActivists receive exclusive invitations to monthly social events (virtual and in-person), free or discounted tickets, special giveaways, and updates on Collaboraction’s community impact. Become a CollaborActivist for as little as $1 per month at

Collaboraction is an ethno-diverse social justice organization that uses theater and performance to inspire social change on Chicago’s most critical issues. Collaboraction is a 24-year-old company that produces live and digital performances, anti-racism workshops, and youth programs that inspire change and build equity in Chicago.

Since its founding in 1996, Collaboraction has pushed artistic boundaries, working with over 4,000 artists to bring over 100 productions and events to over 150,000 unique viewers, and has inspired measurable positive change in social justice in Chicago. and beyond. Collaboraction’s work includes Sketchbook, Peacebook, Crime Scene, Forgotten Future and Gender Breakdown.

In addition to live performances, community building, and video production, the company centers and showcases its work in historically overlooked Chicago neighborhoods like Englewood, Austin, and Lawndale.

Live virtual programs that began during the pandemic and continue online include Becoming, a live, RSVP-only webcast for anyone looking to be an active anti-racist (first Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. CT) , and Crucial Connections, a live, interactive talk show that brings together social justice warriors, artists, and community residents for crucial conversations (third Thursday of every month, 7 p.m. CT).

Collaboraction has been recognized for its innovation and inclusiveness in using theater as a tool for social change with numerous awards, including, most recently, a 2020 Foster Innovation Award from Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the 2020 Multi -Racial Unity Award from the First Unitarian Church-Chicago, a 2018 Stand For the Arts Award from Comcast & OvationTV, and an Otto Award from the Castillo Theater in New York.

Collaboraction is supported by the Chicago Community Trust, National Endowment for the Arts, Illinois Humanities, Paul M. Angell Foundation, Marc and Jeanne Malnati Family Foundation, Joseph and Bessie Feinberg Foundation, Bayless Family Foundation, Spreading Hearts, AV Chicago and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. Collaboraction is supported by grant funds from the United States Department of the Treasury through the City of Chicago. (The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed by Collaboraction are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Treasury Department or the City of Chicago.)

For more information, visit collaboration.orgor follow the company on Twitter, Facebook, instagram, ICT Tac Where Youtube.

Pictured: Collaboraction’s first set of artist-activists The Light, class of 2021-22 (left to right): Ella Rae, Ava Lynn Trpeski, Kyra Pierce, Phallon Pierce, Marcus Jackson and Nate Buescher.

Photo credits: Joël Maisonet