Join the (junior) ensemble!
Theatre Momentum is hosting auditions for our intensive workshop/performance program, NEWTON. Come join the only theatre in Chicago dedicated to dramatic improvisation!
Newton will produce four junior ensembles of 10-12 players apiece. Each ensemble will rehearse weekly for 8 weeks to learn the essentials of the Theatre Momentum style and build an improv show based on the skills and strengths of the ensemble as a whole. There is a small fee for the program, but there’s a way to get all that back. Keep reading!
After the 8 weeks of training are complete, the Newton ensembles will perform in a showcase of 8 performances on Friday and Saturday nights. The start time for each performance will rotate, so that each ensemble will have multiple chances to open and close out the evening.
What’s a “junior ensemble”?
Theatre Momentum has our mainstage ensemble, which focuses on individual productions, such as this year’s Lies, Damned Lies, & Statistics, and our production currently in rehearsal, Fugue State. These shows are performed by themselves, without any other groups sharing the stage. A junior ensemble will share the evening with other Newton ensembles, instead of having a primetime performance to themselves.
Why do I have to audition? Isn’t this a workshop series?
Don’t worry about the audition too much. This is simply an assessment of your general skills and a review to give the Newton directors a good idea of which ensemble to place you in. These are considerably less competitive than our mainstage auditions. We have had numerous actors audition for the mainstage in the past, and many were just on the cusp of being ready to join the mainstage. We didn’t want to leave those folks out in the cold, so we created Newton. There are limited slots, though, so we may not be able to take everyone.
I have no improv experience at all. Should I audition?
Go for it! While yes, the TM style is helped by having a background in acting and/or improv, you may have just what it takes. If you’re just not sure and still want to try out the TM style, you can join us for our weekly improv lab, Workshop-in-Progress, to find out more about the TM aesthetic.
How much does this whole thing cost?
To take part in the Newton program costs $30 for the 8 weeks of instruction.
However! We are also offering the opportunity to receive that $30 back, through ticket commissions paid out for every person who uses your discount code to buy a ticket. Need-based scholarships are also available, just email us for more details.
Yep, each performer will receive a unique discount code that gives audience members $2 off each ticket. For each ticket sold with your code, you will get back $2. So, just 15 audience members over the course of 8 shows, and you can get your $30 back! As far as we know, we’re the only improv theatre in Chicago that offers this for our training program ensembles.
I can’t make some of the scheduled shows or rehearsals!
Not to worry. The shows will allow for you to be able to take days off as needed. Preference will be given, however, to those who can attend all rehearsals and most of the shows.
Auditions for the ensembles will be the week of June 24-30, at the following times:
Sunday, June 24, 1-3 PM
Tuesday, June 26, 8:30-10:30 PM
Thursday, June 28, 7:30-9:30 PM
Saturday, June 30, 1-3 PM
Please note: you can attend any audition you like, and you will be reviewed by all the directors. For instance, if you can only rehearse with the Tuesday group, but you are only able to audition on Sunday, the Tuesday group’s director will still see your audition.
Sunday group (Dan Jackson): Sundays, 1-3 PM, July 8-August 26
Tuesday group (Michael Zimmermann): Tuesdays, 8:30-10:30 PM, July 10-August 28
Thursday group (Deborah Parks): Thursdays, 7:30-9:30 PM, July 12-August 30
Saturday group (Will Morris): Saturdays, 1-3 PM, July 14-September 1
Fridays and Saturdays, 8:30 and 9:45 PM (rotating)
September 7-September 29
Meet the Directors!
The esteemed directors for the Newton program have been ensemble members with Theatre Momentum for several years, and have been hand-selected to work with you to learn the TM style and build your very own show.
Dan Jackson (Sunday group)
Dan Jackson graduated from Kent State University with a degree in Theatre Studies. Plays that he has helped devise through workshops and readings include This Is Not a Chair (Greenhouse Theatre Center), The Curse on Mordrake House (Barebones Theatre Company), Unsaid (Three Cat Productions), and Into the Pool; or, The Cheshire Cat Mourns the Death of the American Dream (Blackbird Theatre Company). Dan believes that Theatre Momentum’s style offers a certain amount of artistic freedom in that actors are freed from the expectation of being funny by being encouraged to simply be real.
Michael Zimmermann (Tuesday group)
Michael Zimmermann is very excited for the opportunity to teach the Theatre Momentum style. As an alumnus of The University of Wisconsin-Parkside Theatre Department, Mike organized a series of Spolin-esque collaborative workshops that culminated in the staging of a revue titled “And Now For Something Entirely Offensive.” Since relocating to Chicago he has performed in several TM productions including “Elements”, “School of Life”, “Fugue”, and “Lies, Damned Lies, & Statistics”. Mike believes the Theatre Momentum philosophy allows the performer the freedom to be intuitive, spontaneous, and truthful. In the words of Viola Spolin, it is the personal freedom to be “faced with a reality and see it, explore it, and act accordingly.”
Deborah Parks (Thursday group)
Deborah Parks graduated with honors from California State University, Fullerton in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications with a concentration in Entertainment Studies and a minor in Radio/TV/Film. After graduation, she spent some time living in Los Angeles working as a story producer in unscripted television production before eventually settling down in Chicago. She is a graduate of the iO Theater improv training program and musical improv training program, as well as The Second City’s dramatic improv program. In addition to Theater Momentum’s mainstage, Deborah can be seen around the city performing solo sketch, as well as every Sunday night at iO Theater where she co-produces the variety show Sunday Funday with Cool Aunt alongside her independent improv team, Cool Aunt. Deborah loves the patience of the Theatre Momentum style. When players are able to take their time, they can attribute meaning to every word said, and not said, on stage.
Will Morris (Saturday group)
Will Morris is excited to be back with TM and equally thankful for the opportunity to share their unique style with such a skilled cast. He was lucky enough to direct a production of Hamish Linklater’s The Vandal at his alma mater Georgia College, where he also taught improv classes and directed the college ensemble. Being a former performer on the TM stage, Will is grateful to be able to share with this cast and audience what he’s learned and why he believes this theatre and its mission to be so special.