Leadership as Performance Art: Civic Actor Studio connects community leaders with the characters they contain
Civic actors are people who work to make a difference in their communities’ quality of life. Last month, as part of a new partnership between Court Theatre and the Office of Civic Engagement (OCE), 22 of Chicago’s established and emerging civic actors explored what it was like to become literal actors, creating scenes onstage at the Green Line Performing Arts Center and engaging in dialogue about the roles they play as leaders.
The group, which included leaders from South Side nonprofits, foundations, media, and the University, made up the first cohort of the Civic Actor Studio (CAS) at the University of Chicago, an innovative leadership retreat that offers a new way to leverage the University’s resources to benefit people working in the civic sector.
Joanie Friedman, executive director of civic leadership at OCE, says that CAS centers on two goals: “The first goal is to help individuals build leadership capacity for their organizations, and the second goal is to serve as a ‘trust accelerator’ that builds strong connections among leaders to help strengthen the fabric of the South Side.”