NOVEMBER 19, 2017
DOORS @ 6:00PM


2nd Story is my home, artistically and emotionally. The stories expand my empathy muscles and listening grows my understanding of being human. It is my distinct honor to be able to direct these fine humans and to help position them to share themselves with you! 


Breia, Michael Fischer, Katie Hauser, Margaret Marion

"The leaves are falling off their trees, the day turns dark earlier and earlier, and soon the ground will be covered in snow and sleet and slush. Are we prepared for the onslaught? Do our bodies and our souls and our hearts have what it takes to sustain another long season in this lakefront metropolis?

Let us gather around an ale or two, or that which we find nourishing. These are stories about death and the heart, about the bodies that betray us even as we love them."

Curated by Nicholas Ward
Directed by Stephanie Chavara
Live Music by Mike Przygoda
Sound Engineer: Shain Longbehn
Produced by Kasey Trouba



I have the distinct privilege to be visiting PBS member stations who were awarded the Ready to Learn grant.  These stations are providing access to so many young people and their caregivers and constantly working overtime to do so. We are utilizing the power of story to harness the energy already being used to further the work's scope and showcase how the local station's are providing answers to so many of their communities big questions.

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From an Interview with Adventure Stage Chicago:

New Year, New Ideas!

Now that school is back in session, it's time for our Vittum Trailblazers to hit the ground running. We'd like to introduce our Co-Lead Teaching Artists for this year, Stephanie Chavara and Amelia Hefferon, both veteran mentors. They will be bringing a new perspective to this position!

We sat down with Stephanie and Amelia to discuss what to talk about the new season and what we can expect.

Tell us a bit about the direction of Trailblazers going forward:

Stephanie: We want to do what hasn't been done before when incorporating young people into an organization. It's not just about education and it's not just performance. This is a home, a laboratory and our hideout and we want it to continue to be so.

Amelia: We are making an effort to re-focus on the ideas of process, leadership, and ensemble.This year, we'll be less focused on putting up a fully-staged production, but rather digging into the different tenants of theatre making and giving mentees a chance to experiment and try new ideas out.

Why is Trailblazers changing?

Stephanie: Once a trail is established, an explorer is only an explorer if they ask themself, "What next?" This is our "What next" moment. This is our time to assess, to name the leaders who've emerged, welcome some new folks, and bid an incredibly fond see-you-soon to others.  Trailblazers get restless. We are hungry for a new challenge, and to let go that which no longer serves us. 

Amelia: We noticed we weren't getting to fully explore all the ideas our mentees and mentors had due to time and space constraints. We want to expand the devising and exploration process so our ensemble can feel like we've left no stone unturned.

We are always trying to disrupt generational poverty through participatory arts. How do you see this effect in Trailblazers?

Amelia: We talk a lot about how our work can create community connections. One goal we have is for our mentor artists to open a dialogue with mentees about their options for the future, whether it's college, trade school, or something else. We hope to empower young leaders to see themselves as a vital part of their communities' futures.

Stephanie: As our mentees move into their final years of high school and college, I see them taking advantage of opportunities to create workshops, to move fearlessly because they know what an ensemble means. A Trailblazer is a Trailblazer forever. Which means though you may be the first to go to college in your family, you can truly FEEL a support system that extends beyond your family. You have a wealth of information, resources, and experiences that have collected in our ensemble. It is a preparation for the world, and the tools to handle it without drowning.

What's a fond memory of a Trailblazers event? Do you see similar events happening in the future?

Amelia: When the Trailblazers take over the Polish triangle and create a fun "party" for commuters through music, games, and positive messaging. It's a great way to connect with the larger community and we're looking to create more of these opportunities.

Stephanie: I also agree with the Polish Triangle. It's special to see people from opposite walks of life in Wicker Park and West Town mix and recognize each other as occupying the same space. And that's because of the fearless young people that welcome ALL people to the party. We're definitely going to continue to explore ideas where we get out there and unite with our communities.

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Played at the Chicago Fringe Festival    Summer 2017

Written by Stephanie Chavara.

Devised by myself and Arya Halbleib (a 15 year old artist currently at Chicago High School for the Arts), the play leaps through space and time as mother and daughter look for answers to their shared genealogical questions. Either through the poetry of the cosmos they attempt to understand their shared mental illness, or through the struggle with their illness they attempt to understand the theories of time, using movement and the limitations of language. 

This project is meant to grow. If you liked what you saw, please contact me!!

To financially support this production, please visit my Patreon page.