From Scratch – A PopUp Festival of New Work

A Weekend to celebrate the creative act of Devised Theatre.

Friday and Saturday, May 24 & 25, 2019

“If you see something, say something.”

Never underestimate the power of art. The creative act of artistic response to current events is a positive force. When an ensemble of actors meets to collectively create, find their voices, and devise their new and relevant stories, they are doing something to change their world. Here in Chicago the Moving Dock Theatre Company, in collaboration with Principia College, is showcasing new work devised by ensembles in response to our times in a weekend Festival of world premiere performances and workshops for adult theatre artists and kids.

“Devising” is a new word for an old practice. Rather than one author or one choreographer or one director dictating what everyone else does, in devised theater, each participant is equally involved in the creative process. Devised theater is as much about self-revelation and teamwork, as it is about the miracle of inspiration and the creative process.

The fruits of Moving Dock’s #truthprojectensemble devising project will debut this weekend along with new work by our Festival collaborators, On the Bluffs Ensemble, and solo artist, Karen Montanaro. The three shows will perform both evenings.

Along with these exciting performances, there will be a special workshop for theatre artists to explore devising approaches and a workshop for kids, parents, everyone to try creating together. FromScratch_websquare-01


Voices from the Dark by Moving Dock Theatre Company’s #truthprojectensemble

Identity Crisis 2019 by On The Bluffs Ensemble

Friday, May 24 and Saturday, May 25 7:30 PM

(Intermission between the two shows. PG13 Some adult language and content)

Tanzspiel by Karen Montanaro

Friday, May 24 6-7 PM,  Saturday, May 25 5-6 PM

Devising with the Head, the Heart, and the Body Workshop

Saturday, May 25 11-2 PM

Want to do it yourself? Join us for a special workshop for adult and serious teen theatre artists. Explore different ways to approach devising theatre with Moving Dock’s Artistic Director, Dawn Arnold and solo artist, Karen Montanaro.

Imagination in Action Workshop – A Family Friendly Workshop for all ages

Saturday, May 25 3:30-4:30 PM

Our Festival welcomes families with a special workshop for kids, parents, everyone in a fun exploration of creating with movement and mime. Come for the workshop and stay for Karen’s show, Tanzspiel afterwards.


From Scratch Festival Venue
The Christian Community Church
2135 W Wilson, Chicago, IL 60625

Contact the

Reservations for the performances and workshops – Brown Paper Tickets

Festival Performances Pass (all three shows on one evening) – $10
Devising with the Head, the Heart, and the Body Workshop – $35 
Imagination in Action Workshop – $10 per person or $25/family 
Additional Donations gratefully accepted
Tickets will be available at the door if seats are available.

Here is the line up for this energizing weekend:

Friday, May 24

Tanzspiel 6-7 PM   
Identity Crisis 2019 and Voices from the Dark 7:30 PM

Saturday, May 25

Devising with the Head, the Heart, and the Body Workshop 11-2 PM
Imagination in Action – A Family Friendly Workshop for all ages 3:30- 4:30 PM
Tanzspiel 5-6 PM
Identity Crisis 2019  and Voices from the Dark 7:30


Voices From the Dark

Moving Dock Theatre Company’s #truthproject ensemble has been asking the question, ‘How do we respond?” This devising project was a long journey involving creative movement exploration, discussion, and writing by members of the ensemble to unfold a story centering around a young woman survivor of a school shooting who is helped to find her way by mysterious Guides.

Actors – Christa Macbeth, Shannon Naylor, Ginger Schmidt, Dawn Arnold, Weston Williams, Tim McCain
Sound Design – Weston Williams
Outside-eyes – Alicia Hall, Matthew Ellenwood
Project Director – Dawn Arnold


Identity Crisis 2019

On the Bluffs Ensemble focused their project on how technology accelerates an age-old identity crisis. This original stage piece was conceived and created through a collaborative process of dance, movement, music, poetry, and mask work to explore how our relationship with technology defines our self-image, our connections with each other, and our place in the world.

Actors – Jessica Barker, Riley Capp, Tyler Flavin, Cole Johnson, Taylor Marples, Jintong Yu
Project Director – Karen Montanaro
Project Producers – Trish Brown, Chrissy Calkins Steele
Props, masks, costumes – Leah McFall, Tom Halsey



A kaleidoscope of stories told in movement, mime, and dance, is a one-woman tour de force celebrating the expressive potential of the human body. Karen Montanaro, a world-renowned dancer and mime artist, award-winning choreographer, and innovator of “mimedance” (the fusion of two classical art forms), blends the arts of mime and dance to create theater with rare physical and emotional power.

Solo Artist – Karen Montanaro

Festival Producers – Dawn Arnold, Chrissy Calkins Steele, Trish Brown
Festival Technical Director – Tom Halsey


An Artistic Response - #truthprojectensemble’s

Voices From the Dark




We live in challenging times. There is much written and broadcast to keep any citizen on over-load. Yet, this is not a time to tune out. Rather, is it a time to explore and express – to keep a constructive conversation going. Actors from the Moving Dock Theatre Company Acting Ensemble with Moving Dock’s Artistic Director, Dawn Arnold,  have been exploring the issues and concerns of our current climate through the artistic process of our company. Our goal has been to shape a show that would give voice to the concerns of our time. Our hope has been that our efforts would contribute to the conversation in a positive way.

Many thanks to the audience that came out for our work-in-progress showing at the end of our first phase of devising our show. Your input was amazing! You taught us what you wanted to see and gave us ideas to move forward in developing the piece.

The second round of workshopping took new directions as our Ensemble continued developing this devised piece in a long journey over many months. We’re asking a lot of questions about what we are experiencing  in our world right now, finding ways to speak about it, maybe by speaking less, expressing more, trying to find our humanity.

Our actors - Christa Macbeth, Shannon Naylor, Ginger Schmidt, Dawn Arnold, Weston Williams, Tim McCain
Outside-eyes – Alicia Hall, Matthew Ellenwood
Sound Design – Weston Williams
Project Director – Dawn Arnold
Voices Tim, Dawn, Ginger, Christa IMG_2944

#truthproject Shannon & Christa II


 Voices Shannon Warrior & Guides_204215