Dear Stone Theater Company grew out of a collective of artists in Logan Square, Chicago who met to share various artistic work every other week. It started as project-based group of Wheaton College graduates, who wanted to put our common training and experience in ensemble driven theater-making into practice with a production. This first production, Much Ado About Nothing, was mounted in the July 2014. It was followed by a production of Yasmina Reza’s ‘ART’ in January 2015. As of March 2016, Dear Stone Theater Company is an officially incorporated non-profit theater in Chicago. We have continued to expand our work with local theater artists, specifically early-career artists, and to bring compelling and affordable theater to the Chicago community.
Dear Stone Theater Company’s mission is twofold:
1. To provide employment and career-development opportunities for early-career theater artists.
2. And while so doing, to create theater that explores the inherent value and beauty of all people within the complex and often difficult reality of living together in spite of one another’s flaws.
In our productions, we strive to perform theater that offers audiences the opportunity to engage the implications of the characters’ relationships as well as our own. We desire that this engagement between the audience and theater-makers will catalyze new life in the way we relate to others once we step out of the theater and back into our everyday lives.
In our programming, we offer workshops, readings, networking events, new-play development, production roles, and teaching opportunities for theater and teaching artists whose early-career potential may not be nurtured by the “who you know” nature of Chicago’s theater community.
When searching for a name for the company, we tried to find images that could capture the fragility, struggle, and reward of being in relationship with others. After much discussion, we turned to Shakespeare’s romances—his tales of human failings and reconciliation. At the end of The Winter’s Tale, we found this passage spoken by Leontes to the statue of his deceased wife whom he falsely accused of adultery:
“Chide me, dear stone, that I may say indeed
Thou art Hermione; or rather thou art she
In thy not chiding, for she was as tender
As infancy and grace.”
Hermione’s statue eventually comes to life, and all wrong if forgiven. The epithet Leontes uses for the statue captured for us both the tender and grating realities of being in relationship with one another: how something as rough and common as stone can be held dear. So to, in the relationships our theater hopes to explore on the stage.