Two Dynamic Residencies

Table read at Dominican University. Heather Bodie is leading the Erasing the Distance residency at the school.

Two Erasing the Distance residencies are currently happening, one at Dominican University and one at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). The projects launched in fall and will both culminate in February, 2018, performances.

Both of these residencies are examples of our Custom Programs team expanding our impact — through residencies, performances, and geographical reach. We look forward to continuing the momentum throughout 2018! 

Dominican University Residency

Associate Artistic Director Heather Bodie is leading the second Erasing the Distance residency at Dominican University.

During the first residency, written pieces were excerpted. This time, Bodie entered Dominican as an Adjunct Professor. She taught a class on Erasing the Distance’s methodology, so the students could collect stories from individuals in the Dominican community who have been impacted by mental health issues. The course was a community-based learning course, a theater course with a cross-disciplinary student body, including students who were majoring in criminal justice and sociology.

The class collected 22 stories, including stories from two teachers, two graduate students, and one alumni. Most of the stories were collected from undergraduate students. Once the stories were collected, 10 were shaped and developed for the stage.

Dominican students were cast to perform and the technical design aspects were assigned to students as well.

The Dominican University residency team during first rehearsal, having a table reading on stage.

“The production is unique in that we have students involved at all levels. Many on campus have joined the team in a variety of capacities to support the project and we are thankful to have so many interested and invested,” says Bodie.

The final performances, which will be performed in Dominican’s Martin Recital Hall, February 22-25, are open to the public. Visit the Dominican University site for more information and to purchase tickets.

School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) Residency

At the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Custom Programs Manager Jana Ross is working with the Disability and Learning Resource Center to create a collage of stories from students on campus who identify as having learning disabilities, mental health issues or physical disabilities.

Brainstorming conversations for this partnership began over a cup of coffee in 2015, evolving over time into a residency that began in September of 2017, when Ross began working formally alongside SAIC students and staff.

Five primary stories are being woven together for the stage, and the evening is designed with the art practices of the storytellers themselves in mind. The piece will feature “sound collage” moments with audio excerpts taken from additional student interviews layered over an original composition. Projection design will underscore the collection experience. After seeing the performance, audience members will be invited to walk through an interactive gallery of storyteller artwork.

“It’s been wonderful to play with different artistic mediums and textures in this piece. After the first reading of the script, we received feedback from our partners that allowed for a deeper dive into how Erasing the Distance’s process works within an art school community. Adjustments were made to tell their stories as artists first, allowing other experiences and identities to unfold from there,” says Ross.

This was the first Erasing the Distance residency at SAIC, and will culminate in a final performance for the SAIC campus community on Friday, Feb 23.

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