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House Theatre's "The Tragedy of King Christophe." (Photo by Michael Brosilow)

Chicago’s House Theatre to Close After a 21-Year Run

The nonprofit ensemble theatre, known for commitment to community and storytelling, will end its run in July, only a year after hiring a new artistic director.

CHICAGO: After 21 years, the House Theatre of Chicago will close its doors this summer. The board of directors recently announced that the theatre will formally wind down operations following its current production of the North American premiere of The Tragedy of King Christophe.

“Thanks to the hard work and patience of so many—as well as the Shuttered Venue Operating Grant funding we qualified for—we were able to rise from the challenges of the initial pandemic hibernation and point the company in a new direction,” said board president Renee Duba in a statement. “However, our strategic assessment looking to the future made it clear that we did not have the financial momentum or audience/donor support to continue beyond this fiscal year. We chose instead to maximize our current year programming and to honor all present commitments and partnerships with a thoughtfully planned exit from the Chicago theatre scene—and a wealth of pride in what the House Theatre of Chicago has accomplished.”

Highlights from the theatre’s production history include Death and Harry Houdini, The Terrible Tragedy of Peter Pan, The Sparrow, The Hammer Trinity, Rose and the Rime, United Flight 232, The Nutcracker, and many more. Their productions garnered a total of 70 Jeff Awards and nominations. The House championed long-running programs like The Magic Parlour and The Last Defender. Through a founding partnership with the University of Chicago’s Chicago Performance Lab, the House commissioned and supported the development of dozens of new plays and projects by Chicago artists. the House was recognized in 2014 with a national grant from the American Theater Wing.

The nonprofit ensemble theatre company was founded in 2001 by collaborators from the Southern Methodist University and the British American Drama Academy, under the leadership of artistic director Nathan Allen. Allen stepped down in 2020, and the theatre reemerged from the pandemic in 2021 under a new artistic director, Lanise Antoine Shelley. The House went on to produce two new plays this year, a world premiere adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen and The Tragedy of King Christophe. As of 2018, the House Theatre had a budget of approximately $1.5 million.

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