Events

Chicago Home Theater Festival: Building Community and Solidarity through Storytelling

Chicago Home Theater Festival will explore the practice of social organizing by inviting artists, activists, and neighbors to create Neighborhood Field Guides in collaboration with the Chicago Park District, City Bureau, Sixty Inches From Center and others. We will gather neighborhood stories and create zines, audio collages, and dramaturgical tools which will be utilized by artists to create neighborhood-specific work and performed as part of our festival in May 2017. CHTF invites strangers into each other’s homes to share an intimate meal, experience transformative art, and build intentional community across lines of difference. We aim to provide a platform for artistic exchange within neighborhoods that have experienced systemic disinvestment; center narratives by and about artists of color, women and femmes, migrants and immigrants, LGBTQ folks, and artists with disabilities; and curate performances and conversations that directly disrupt injustice and catalyze collective action.

Storytelling is a powerful tool to share stories and history as a means of education, cultural preservation and installing values. Through this workshop with Bonsai Bermudez and the Youth Empowerment Performance Project, communities will come together to explore their history, identify current struggles that are impacting their neighborhoods, and find ways to address these issues. We will be using theatre of the oppressed and popular education principles to create a learning community throughout the workshop. Through this workshop we also aim to celebrate the resilience of individuals, neighborhoods, and communities.

Bonsai Bermudez Biography:
Bonsai Bermudez completed a Master's Degree in Clinical Counseling from the University of Puerto Rico with a concentration on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) issues. They have been working in the social justice-service field for over 15 years with a main focus on trauma, transformative justice, and harm reduction practices. Prior to entering graduate school, they completed a Bachelor's Degree in Theatre and Dance and have worked professionally as a ballet/modern dancer and actor. In their show business career Bonsai became a part of Ballet Teatro de Puerto Rico, Conservatory of Ballet Concierto, Broadway Dance Center, Traveling Theatre of Puerto Rico, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, among others. In 2010 joined Orgullo en Accion as a Board Member to politically advocate for the Latina/o LGBTQ Community in Chicago. Bonsai also worked for five years at the Broadway Youth Center, a program that mainly serves LGBTQ youth experiencing housing instability in Chicago, in which the last three years performed as the Drop-in and Resource Advocacy Manager. Bonsai is currently working as the Executive Artistic Director of Youth Empowerment Performance Project (YEPP), a program for LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness to explore their history, investigate new ways to address their struggles, and celebrate their strengths throughout the process of developing a theatrical performance piece.

As an individual that believes in transformation and healing, they have nurtured a personal-professional career integrating harm reduction, trauma informed principles, transformative and restorative justice, drama and dance therapy, art therapy, body-mind integration, and life balance integration. He is quadrilingual (Spanish, English, French and Sign Language) with a strong interest in multicultural issues.

This program is in conjunction with Public School  and is led by Irina Zadov.