Oracle Productions, the Chicago theater company that operates according to a unique “public access theatre” model, has been named the winner of the League of Chicago Theatres’ 2014 Broadway In Chicago Emerging Theater Award. This is the eighth year of the award, which will provide $5,000, a consultation with Broadway In Chicago staff members, and a marketing package that includes advertising support.
In a prepared statement, Oracle executive producer Ben Fuchsen commented: “We are humbled by, and grateful for this honor. Thank you to the other amazing finalists, all the member organizations of the League, Broadway In Chicago, and the League of Chicago Theaters staff and board.”
Oracle executive director Brad Jayhan-Little added: “It means a lot to us that the performing arts community supports the mission of public access theater. We are excited to see how this will help us bring our mission further into the community.”
Oracle was incorporated as a not-for-profit theatre company in early 2005, when it opened a studio theater in the Lake View area. The company has grown to become a diverse cultural service organization committed “to giving everyone everywhere the chance to experience the arts.” In October 2010, Oracle launched Public Access Theatre, which makes performing arts events free to the public. The cost of admission is offset by support from The Forty 4, a community of individuals who contribute as little as $5 per month.
Deb Clapp, executive director of the League of Chicago Theatres noted: “Since 2005, Oracle has been producing quality productions free of charge in Chicago. We are thrilled to honor them with this award, and we hope it will make a significant impact on the company.”
“Oracle creates quality work and provides a needed service in our community,” said Lou Raizin, president of Broadway In Chicago. “It gives us great pleasure to recognize Oracle as we celebrate the extraordinary spirit of mentorship that is unique to our city.”
The Emerging Theater Award was created in 2007 to encourage, support and promote young theaters in Chicago that have demonstrated great ability and promise, artistic excellence and fiscal responsibility in business practices. (Oracle has received 11 nominations for the 2013/14 Non-Equity Jeff Awards that will be handed out tonight, with seven nominations for its production of Bertolt Brecht’s “The Mother,” and four for Oracle B*Sides’ production of Ariel Zetina’s “Pink Milk,” in association with White Elephant.) The company was selected from a group of finalists by a majority vote of member companies of the League of Chicago Theatres.