We work together to create theatre that asks important questions of ourselves and our audiences. We tell timely stories focusing on giving voice to a range of perspectives.
We believe that the development of theatre artists through the artistic process is as important as the work it produces. We strive for quality and support in both.
We believe theatre can be for everyone. We strive to connect with the larger community, both artists and not.
We believe in embracing the theatricality of theatre, by producing both new and old work that makes the most og that which is unique to theatre.
Approach and Structure
Who can apply?
At the end of each year we hold SEASON GENERALS FOR EVERYONE, REGARDLESS OF SPECIALITY.
Whether you are a playwright, actor, designer, stage manager, production manager or something else, if you are a Chicago based theatre artist you are invited to apply for a position in the Bower Theatre Ensemble on a yearly basis. This is done by completing the application form.
After submission you will be invited to either come in for an audition and/or interview (don't worry: if you don't specify acting as one of your roles, you aren’t required to act!)
From these applicants an ensemble is selected for ONE YEAR ONLY. At the end of each year everyone in the ensemble will automatically become an emeritus member of Bower Theatre Ensemble.
What are we looking for?
There will be many things taken into consideration, but as a reflection of our mission, three things will be key:
- A dedication to learning and commitment to supporting the ensemble.
- Diversity: of backgrounds, ethnicities, perspectives, and training.
- On a practical note, people who can fill out the roles of a production.
Please know: It’s not one-and-you're-done! You can reapply as many times as you'd like – even if you've already been an ensemble member before.
What are you committing to?
When joining the ensemble you are committing to work on two productions and one fundraiser in one year.
At least one of these productions each year will be a new work; either an adaptation, a new approach to an existing text, a devised piece, or a piece written specifically for the ensemble.
As an ensemble member are committing to work in BOTH productions, but in different roles.
- You will work on one production in your PREFERRED ROLE.
- You will work on the other in your LEARNING or ALTERNATE ROLE (unless, in special circumstances you are asked to do otherwise.)
For example: You may be an actor who can also create or has an interest in making props. When applying you would then list "Acting" as your PREFERRED ROLE, and "Props Maker" as your ALTERNATE ROLE.
We hold auditions and interviews well in advance because as professionals, we allow for and expect you to plan your time so that you can fulfil your responsibilities for BOTH projects. If you can only commit to one project during a season, unfortunately you will not meet the required commitments necessary to be an ensemble member in that year.
At the end of the year each ensemble member will be paid the same stipend for their work. This stipend has two components: a base stipend and a revenue-sharing stipend.
The exact amounts will change year to year, but all actors will receive a set amount as their base stipend, and then receive an extra revenue-sharing stipend if Bower Theatre Ensemble exceeds its ticket-sale revenue targets for the year. This amount will be shared between the other ensemble members and the company, and calculated per show to be divided at the end of the season.
What happens when I become Emeritus?
As an emeritus ensemble member, your new role is a vital part of the company. We believe it takes a village. Our hope is to continue the ensemble by creating a community of mentors. There will be more on the details of this as we grow.