History, Mission and Core Values
Lookingglass Theatre Company is the recipient of the 2011 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theater. Now celebrating its 25th Anniversary Season, Lookingglass formed in 1988 when a group of ambitious college graduates created a process-driven theatre company and unique theatrical experience for the public. Our signature approach to developing plays involves long-term dedication to the development process, presenting work in a theatre with a configurable stage and seating that can change depending on the needs of the production. In 1992, the Lookingglass ensemble extended its vision to serve traditionally underserved populations by reaching out to Chicagolandâ€™s diverse constituency through the creation of our education and community programs department. To date, we have produced 58 world premieres and have received 52 Jefferson Awards and citations.
Lookingglass propels its unique artistic vision with three primary venues: the creation of new work through gglassworks, the staging of world premieres on the Lookingglass Mainstage, and the outreach of our education and community programs. Lookingglassâ€™ primary commitment is to produce new theatrical works. These bold, new works are created through the gglassworks program, run by Heidi Stillman, Director of Artistic Development and a founding ensemble member. Under Heidiâ€™s leadership, potential scripts receive considerable development through intensive workshops and readings. The significant amount of time and resources invested in gglassworks has an enduring impact on the sustainability of the company and on our status as a premiere institution for the development of original work.
â€śOh my, how curious everything is!â€ť -- Alice
Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There
When Alice walked through the looking glass, she walked into a world beyond imagination. She walked into a world more involving and intoxicating than any movie or circus, more thrilling than a high-speed chase, more frightening than a childâ€™s nightmare, and more beautiful than a thunderstorm on a hot summer night. She awoke with a new sense of herself in the world and her own power within it.
Reflected in Lewis Carrollâ€™s achievement
is the mission of the Lookingglass Theatre Company. Through theatre,
which invites, even demands, interaction with its audience, our goal
is to fire the imagination with love, to celebrate the human capacity
to taste and smell, weep and laugh, create and destroy, and wake up
where we first fell --- changed, charged and empowered.
The Lookingglass Theatre Company combines
a physical and improvisational rehearsal process centered on ensemble
with training in theatre, dance, music, and the circus arts. We
seek to redefine the limits of theatrical experience and to make theatre
exhilarating, inspirational, and accessible to all.
From the seminal, self-produced collegiate production of Alice in Wonderland, Lookingglass has always believed that the power of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Lookingglass sees immense value in group history and experience, a collective vision, the dynamics of teamwork and the importance of leadership within that collaborative construct. Each performance is a collaboration between artists, story and audience. Collaboration informs every aspect of how we produce theatre.Transformation
Transformation is certainly at the core of all theatre and particularly vital to Lookingglass. Lookingglass uses visual metaphor, gesture and daring theatricality to create transcendent staging. Fiction and non-fiction are converted into stage pieces. Actors are often required to play multiple characters outside their traditional range. Even the newly-built theatre reflects the core value of transformation-- the infinitely flexible facility changes in configuration to best suit each new production. Transformation is reflected in the Lookingglass Mission Statementâ€¦to change, charge and empower.Invention
Lookingglass seeks to redefine the limits of theatrical experience. The ensemble uses multi-disciplined arts training and an ambition for innovation to invent new ways to develop and tell stories.