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The Living News Project


The Living News Project: 

A journalistic theater piece investigating homelessness in Chicago.


The SHELTER/CHICAGO team consisted of theater artists, students and faculty at Columbia College and reporters from the Chicago Tribune, working with staff and residents at Cornerstone Community Outreach (CCO), a homeless shelter in Uptown, to write and perform a piece to investigate the tangled knot of causes leading to homelessness by listening to the stories of the men, women and children who are living on our streets. Over the course of three years, SHELTER/CHICAGO challenged us to consider how we get our news, how the media reports on homelessness, and what we label as “news” in our time. 


The Living News Project:
Hot Off the Press

THE LIVING NEWS PROJECT is inspired by the WPA Federal Theater Project’s “Living Newspapers” of the 1930’s, when the federal government put unemployed theater artists to work with unemployed journalists to create large-scale theater pieces focusing on social and political issues. They toured the country, and were met by writing “units” in various cities that would adapt the scripts to keep them local, and change them as the news unfolded. They were always "hot off the press." The Living News Project mirrors the work of the Federal Theater Project, and makes it brand new .

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The Living News Project:
Public Dialogues

Each Living News Project performance unfolds into public dialogue. In Chicago several public dialogues have taken place to discuss homelessness in the City -  at Cornerstone Community Outreach homeless shelter, Columbia College Chicago and at the Chicago Cultural Center, sponsored by 3Arts, with support from the City of Chicago and the Illinois Humanities Council. 

SHELTER/CHICAGO and the public conversation moderated by Chicago journalist Laura Washington at the Chicago Cultural Center aired on CAN-TV.


The Living News Project:
Collaborative Workshops and Courses

THE LIVING NEWS is a hands-on, intensive, collaborative process. Participants investigate the artistic lineage of "Living Newspaper" Productions, create their own Living News script, perform and host public dialogues. The group works together to select and refine a topic, research and gather news, conduct direct, in-the-field interviews, and contribute to roundtable writing sessions leading to the composition of a theatrical script. By performing in their community and hosting public dialogues, participants in The Living News process immerse themseleves in social politics and re-imagine how their creative voices can contribute to larger, inclusive, action based civic conversation. 

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