HOUSE THEATRE OF CHICAGO

Rating: 4.95 stars   20 reviews

Issues: Arts & Culture

Location: 4611 N. Ravenswood Suite 201 Chicago IL 60640 USA

Mission: It is the mission of The House to unite Chicago in the spirit of Community through amazing feats of Storytelling.

2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

The House Theatre rocks! They make diverse, edgy choices and aren't afraid to take chances with unconventional productions. Their main stage space is spectacular. But my favorite performance spaces are the two that lie beneath. There's a quirky little performance place carved out of the back basement. Then there's the parlour....

We fell in love with the fabulous parlour space that lurks under The House Theatre. With the same stage magic that turns waitresses to queens and creates a palace out of plywood and paint splatter, this basement has been transformed. Where there once was duct work and darkness, a wabi sabi drawing room complete with a bar, rich burgundy walls, paintings and even a chandelier, has been created. I can't imagine a more perfect backdrop for an intimate show.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

They have given me hope for the Chicago theatre scene. In this sluggish economy, where small theatres are still treading water to stay alive, The House Theatre is selling out shows and packing the house.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I'd recommend The House open another space in Logan Square-Avondale. Sure, The Chopin is close to the highway and public trans., and even street parking is pretty easy. But if they moved to funky, fun Avondale, I could walk to everything they produce!

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

With the wealth of theatre offerings in Chicago it's always hard to pick but we've found you can never go wrong with The House. We've seen three amazing shows here--always with wonderful acting and great production values that draw you in to the story. They are able to transcend their space and budget limitations in surprising ways. We try and take friends and relatives with us whenever we go in order to introduce them to The House. It is a Chicago treasure!

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

three different plays over the last year and a half

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Put them on a more secure financial footing.

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

Fresh, dynamic, and riveting...the House Theatre's arrival brought a new vitality to Chicago's live theater scene. Using "old" tools in new ways, with consistently solid delivery in writing, direction, stage design, music, and acting, The House holds audiences in the palms of its hands.

What's more, they share a dedication to serve the community. Not just by key members of the company, but by everyone involved, including those who volunteer. By reaching out to inner city youth and extending cost-free opportunities to experience live theater, some for the first time, they provide kids with a view into new possibilities. These shows are always followed with in-depth discussions to further include the children in gaining deeper understandings of the art of story telling through music, acting, film, and puppetry. Subject matter of these shows and the discussions that ensue are often easily tied to participants' own lives, thus connecting them on the deepest possible level.

It is an honor to be a part of this theater company as a regular attendee of their shows and as a part-time volunteer.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

...observing the awe shared by first-time inner city theater goers and witnessing them come out of their shells as they engage in post-performance discussions with the members of the House Theatre.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Obtain additional funding and capital to enable them to open their own theater space (as opposed to leasing), through which they could extend their community services on a broader level.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Some

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

How did you find this group?

Recommended by friend

What, if any, change in your life has this group encouraged?

deeper level of volunteerism withinthe community

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

House Theatre consistently offers high quality, innovative productions that are both thought-provoking and entertaining. Their staff provides impressive customer service, which builds community and loyalty to the company, as well as clearly demonstrating a commitment and passion for the work they produce. House shows are in a venue that has both interesting and inviting intimate theatre spaces, as well as welcoming, comfortable public space.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Attending performances of multiple shows, dealing with staff, and watching prior productions on recordings.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Add pre and post show discussions, educational lectures, and other such enrichment activities for the shows.

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

I have seen every House show since the theater’s inception…all the way back to when the performance space was so small, I had to sit on the floor and mind my feet for fear of tripping the actors. The thing that never ceases to amaze me about The House is the consistently high caliber of the shows. The writing, staging and performances are very polished, delightfully creative, and as good as anything I’ve seen in Chicago (or anywhere for that matter.) You can’t help but get immersed in what’s happening on stage, and isn’t that what good theater is all about? Dollar for dollar, I think The House Theatre of Chicago is the best theater value in town. And judging from the size of the audiences attending their shows today, I think a lot of people agree.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I was never a real theater-goer until The House came into existence. Now my family and I go to all their shows, as well as shows at other theater companies around town. The House has enriched my life by instilling in me a greater appreciation of the arts. We have also become friends with many of the actors. They are all very nice, down-to-earth people.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

bring back some of the original troupe members, many of whom have moved out west, to do a reunion show together. It would be fun for all, and might possibly generate some decent revenue.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

How did you learn about this organization?

The artistic director used to work with my neighbor across the street. We met at a barbecue in my neighbor's back yard. He said he wanted to start a theater group. He did. They were great. And my family and I have been friends and fans ever since.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

Expect the unexpected at the House.

Since their arrival in Chicago 10 years ago, this troop of actors has performed original works of uncanny surprise. From Houdini water tank escapes to trips to the moon on a sailing ship, they have created wonder with their stagecraft.

Production after production reflects a vision of theater without walls, where the audience is as much a player as the actors, where adult memories of a childhood tale morph and mold our perceptions of the everyday world and where you leave feeling challenged and elated.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

House productions are unlike any other theater company in Chicago.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Spread the word about the house.

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

My family has been a fan of The House Theater since it's inception. Never have I seen a more passionate, energetic, devoted and talented group of people. From the people at the box office, set designers, lighting technicians, costume designers, choreographers to the actors- these people share a vision and a dream. They are a family. And their family has welcomed my family into their theater for a decade. My children cut their teeth on plays by the House Theater. They, in turn, have brought their friends to every play. We regularly have groups of 20 to 40 people coming to every House show with us and they always ask one question- "when is the next show". This is the best kind of theatre- accessibile and exceptional.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

finding theatre is consistently inspiring and accessible.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

give it more money if I could.

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

I have been a devoted fan of The House for close to 10 years. I am drawn to return again and again by their exuberance, their uncanny ability to make every single person in the audience feel significant to the performance, and most of all, to their heartfelt connection to their work. I look forward to each new season knowing that my time with The House will nurture my soul and send me happily back out into the not so tidy world with a lighter step, feeling renewed and refreshed.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

their committment to connection with their audience.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Give them enought money to have their own space, a paid support staff and an artistic & production budget to match their dreams.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

in the 1970's I owned an art gallery in the DePaul University area and had the pleasure of seeing John Malkovich crackle in an early Steppenwolf Theater production while they still operated from Highland Park. I also had the pleasure of viewing several productions at the now defunct St. Nicholas theater (home of David Mamet) in addition to working with their excellent production staff on a fund raiser for the Big Brothers and Big Sisters organization. Through those heady early days of the burgeoning and talented off Broadway scene in Chicago, I have remained thoroughly addicted to Chicago Theater. Along with two fine writers who are my long term friends, I catch every new production I can fit into my schedule. Now that I have retired downstate and run a living green nature center to encourage children in experiencing nature, I rely heavily on those friends to lead me to the hot new theater action in town. VIcki Quadi who writes and produces the Nun based interactive plays at the St. George insisted over six years ago that we check out Nathan Allen's new play for The House theater. We went, he conquered. The writing was fun, the production near genius in it's simplicity and originality, the performances shone with an energy I hadn't seen since those early days in the 70's. One play became a trilogy, we saw every one. We sent other people to see what we had so enjoyed, no one was ever disappointed. When my youngest son met a woman he really wanted to impress, I treated them to tickets to see one of Nathan's trilogy. He loved it ("I laughed, I cried, I sang, it was great), she was impressed with the play and the date. Now they are married with a 4 year old son. We all still catch every House play we can get to.
We are still never disappointed with the writing, the originality and the passion. If you are creative and clever enough to enjoy the path less traveled of great off Broadway theater, do yourself a favor and check out any one of their productions. They will not disappoint you.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

in seeing them grow into an award winning theater company

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

help them with fundraising and find them a permanent home

Review from Guidestar
Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 4 stars  

I have visited this Theater on three occasions, first to see The Nutcracker, attend the Magic Show and Odradek. Each experience has been enjoyable and entertaining. The theater is deceptive in appearance from the outside but inside it is intimate warm and the staff friendly and professional. There is a small bar both on the main floor and on the basement level and you can actually enjoy your drink of choice while watching the action. Parking is readily available in the area and close to many bus stops. I am fortunate to live a few blocks from the Theater and can actually walk, but when I drove due to the weather, there was no problems in parking on the street. You are made to feel welcome and like an individual by both the staff and actors. I really enjoy this Theater

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

No

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

None

Review from Guidestar

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