Theatre Momentum is proud to announce our signature event, The 15 Hour Project!

The 15 Hour Project is TM’s take on the traditional 24-hour theater project. Starting with improv actors who may never have worked together, we develop 3 improv shows from scratch, rehearse them, and perform them, all in under 15 hours. It’s a unique experience, and we hope you can join us for the day!

Join us on July 14, 2018 for an entire day of workshop, show development, rehearsal, and performance!

The 15 Hour Project consists of four parts:
A morning workshop (9:30 AM-12:30 PM), followed by an afternoon show development workshop (1:00-4:00 PM), a rehearsal period (5:00-8:00 PM) and an evening performance (9:30 PM).

The entire day of the 15 Hour Project will take place at Pendulum Space (1803 W. Byron St, Suite 216), beginning at 9:00 AM (check-in) on Saturday July 14, 2018. Performances will begin in the Stage Studio at 9:30 PM.

Cost: $25!

That’s right, this entire day of workshop and performance is just $25, to cover the costs of coaches, space, and pizza lunch. Spots are limited, so get signed up!

Ready to sign up? Sign up here!

To make sure all participants are on the same page, we require a minimum of 6 months improv or acting experience to participate in the 15 Hour Project. Thanks!

This time our shows will be directed by Deborah Parks, Jackie Sestak, and Mike Zimmermann of Theatre Momentum!

Every time we run this event, it’s been a complete blast, so we hope you can join us!

Performances are FREE, so invite whoever you like for some great, smart improv!
Questions? Drop us a line at

Schedule is as follows:

9:00 AM — Check in
9:30 AM-12:30 PM — Scenes Workshop session with Tony Rielage
Get tons of scenes under your belt and get personal feedback from TM’s Artistic Director, Tony Rielage. Sharpen your skills before we dive into the remainder of the day.

12:30-1 PM — Break. Pizza and drinks provided.

1 PM-4:00 PM — Show development Workshop session with Tony Rielage and directors Deborah Parks, Jackie Sestak, and Mike Zimmermann.

A workshop to generate three brand new show formats. The structure of this workshop will use input from all workshop participants to create some truly unique shows. These shows will be performed a few times, polished a bit, and prepped for rehearsal. At the end of the workshop session, the participants will break into three groups, to work on one singular format.

4-5 PM — Break.

5-8 PM — Rehearsal.
After break, the three show forms are handed off to our three directors, Deborah Parks, Jackie Sestak, and Mike Zimmermann. Workshoppers will rehearse the formats they created that afternoon, tweaking, polishing, and preparing them for performance. The shows being prepared will aim for a 25-30 minute show length.

8-8:30 PM — Break.

8:30 PM — Call Time.
Actors arrive at the Stage Studio and are given the run-down on how the evening will be structured.

9 PM — Doors Open
Doors open. Performances for the 15 Hour Project are FREE this year, so invite everyone you know!

9:30 PM — First of The 15 Hour Project shows begins.
Performances will run about 25-30 minutes apiece, with no intermission.

11 PM-ish — Last show closes. Usually we end up at a nearby bar, to celebrate!

Sign up here!

The 15 Hour Project Directors:

Tony Rielage (Artistic Director)

Tony Rielage is the Artistic Director and Founder of Theatre Momentum. He has been performing, directing, and producing improv theatre for over 25 years, notably with the Nothing Sacred Players, Trespassers Only, and International Stinger. He has trained at iO, the Playground, and Annoyance, and founded TM’s precursor workshop, Workshop-in-Progress. He is Theatre Momentum’s head instructor, and firmly believes that the best improv is about vulnerable human beings acting naturally, bravely, and honestly.

Deborah Parks

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 Theatre 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.

Jackie Sestak

Once Jackie said “Yes and”, her love for improvising blossomed and has not stopped. She started off studying with the Neo-Futurists and then dove into performance art. This led to pursuing improv at the Second City, Annoyance Theatre, and ComedySportz. Attracted to dramatic improv she’s performed with the groups Un/Comfortable Silences, re-Bound, and with Theatre Momentum. Jackie is also a teaching artist for Room2Improv where she works with veterans and students emphasizing the value of ‘Yes, and’. For more information on this wonderful organization visit Jackie looks forward to working with you on TM’s 15 Hour Project!

Michael Zimmermann

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.”

Improv theatre laboratory

When: Every Sunday afternoon, 3-6 PM
Where: Pendulum Space
1803 W. Byron Street, Suite 216

How much: Free, if it’s your first week, then just $5 per person any week after that. Hope to see you there!

Workshop-in-Progress, TM’s weekly improv theatre lab, returns Sunday, February 18th! Join us for an afternoon of creativity, improvisation, and opportunity.

Join us and our coach, Tony Rielage (Artistic Director, Theatre Momentum), as we explore new and innovative improv show forms.

Learn new approaches to show development and production.
Expand your theatrical experience, grow as a performer, build some shows, get in gear.

Every week, improvisers of all skill levels come together to participate in Theatre Momentum’s ongoing weekly improv theatre lab, Workshop-in-Progress (WiP). WiP is designed to workshop new long-form improv show formats, offer a networking opportunity for improvisers, and encourage participants to stretch the boundaries of traditional Chicago-style improv.


How is Workshop-in-Progress run?

Everyone who participates in WiP is encouraged (though not required) to come on Sunday with an idea in mind- something you are fascinated by and want to explore. Not a fully fleshed out show idea- that’s what WiP is here for!

Each player writes their idea on an index card (just a brief title) and tosses it in the bowl. Our coach then chooses one of these at random and has the writer explain the concept. Once the writer has shared their thoughts, we then brainstorm as a group.

We’ve found the best show formats at WiP tend to come from the simplest ideas, rather than fully fleshed-out show structures. The brainstorming process occurs with the entire group; we discuss the show concept, how to approach it, what drawbacks there might be, what the show is trying to communicate, and what each participant finds interesting. The coach takes in all the conversation and formulates a potential form. After a quick explanation and discussion of the form, we begin to improvise this new concept.

What level of experience do I need to participate in WiP?

We welcome everyone to join in the generation of ideas and forms, as well as the improvised scenes themselves, regardless of experience level. For the new improviser, WiP offers a friendly, inexpensive way to “test the waters”, plus the chance to play with veteran improvisers. For the experience player, WiP provides an opportunity to work with a variety of performers, play with new shows in development, and challenge the way you think about improving. The more complicated forms are often quite challenging, so the more experienced improviser can stretch some improv muscles they might not usually use.

How much does WiP cost?

The philosophy behind both WiP and Theatre Momentum is to offer improvisors an inexpensive forum for developing and challenging your improv. In keeping with that goal, we invite you to come to your first session for FREE! After that, it’s just $5.00 per session to help alleviate the costs of rehearsal space, coaching fees, and promotions.

Do I have to come every week?

While it can be very helpful and fun to participate regularly, each session of WiP stands alone. So, if your schedule permits you to only make one or two sessions a month, that’s perfectly alright — and you only pay for the sessions you attend!