About Storycatchers Theatre – Who we are.
For 34 years, Storycatchers Theatre has been empowering court-involved youth to craft and perform musical theatre based on their own personal stories of growing up in Illinois’ underserved neighborhoods. Using an award-winning and transformational writing methodology, these youth develop the skills needed to successfully re-enter society and move beyond their histories to become peer mentors, civic influencers and agents of change in our community.
Efforts include three residential programs inside juvenile justice facilities and “Changing Voices,” a post-release employment program of 17-24-year-olds who write, rehearse, produce and tour their original musicals to civic leaders, Illinois judges, at-risk youth and other influential audiences to create space for crucial conversations.
Who should apply. And what we offer.
We’re looking for experienced teaching artists who are committed to never giving up on the youth who society and the justice system have left behind. Maybe they have experienced growing up in underserved neighborhoods. Maybe they are dedicated to uplifting and empowering people have lived in and through serious trauma.
Our teaching artists help people recover their dignity and voice and empower them to transform their lives. Fewer kids on the street. Stronger families. Futures reclaimed. More smiles. All through the process of writing stories and creating theatre.
We offer a place where art makes real change.
What our teaching artists do.
Using their expertise to create a safe, structured space, the Teaching Artist supports participants in a rigorous writing curriculum – writing their personal stories, taking risks, learning performance skills and musical techniques. They will coach participants both in a classroom setting, in small groups, and individually. They will collaborate with other artists and with program supervisors. They will help youth meet arts and life skills development goals and will serve as role models for participants.
This employee must work successfully with all persons in the organization without regard to ethnicity, religion, age, national origin, physical challenge, sexual preference or gender.
Some things you might do in a typical week.
- Attend a weekly program meeting to discuss a young person’s challenges in writing their story.
- Spend two hours at home choreographing a dance or reading a youth’s script.
- Lead a dance rehearsal, writing workshop, voice training session, etc.
- Manage entrances and exits for participants during a performance.
- Discuss the emotions of a song with the composer.
- Help block a scene or teach a new piece of choreography.
- Run the group warm up.
- Develop a creative expression to better understand a traumatic event in the community.
- Have a pep talk or one-on-one conversation with a participant to mitigate a behavioral or creative concern.
- Enter daily session reports and weekly development data into the database.
- Facilitate a discussion between two youth.
- Accompany the ensemble on tour to a community performance.
- Prepare youth for a post-show discussion.
Youth Mentoring (In addition to the tasks above for our Changing Voices program)
- Talk with a young person about why health and wellness is important.
- Accompany the youth to a job-skills session at a corporate headquarters.
- Check-in with a young person about progression to a personal goal.
- Have a team celebration for a young person who graduates into a full-time job.
- Provide encouragement through a stressful program session.
- Empower youth to develop coping tactics for handling a personal situation.
- Convince a young person to take advantage of a case management workshop.
- Chaperone the ensemble bus to a polling place and help them vote for the first time.
What you’ll need to be a great candidate.
- Pass a background check, drug screen and take a TB test (if not done recently).
- Experience working as a professional performance artist.
- Teaching experience in a diverse setting. You’ll need to be able to command a classroom and gain respect.
- Experience working with you who have been traumatized and/or underserved. Particularly, young African Americans.
- Experience with, or strong interest in, advocating against the societal issues and oppressions prevalent in minority communities.
- Skillfully lead activities in one or more performance areas (dance, writing, voice, acting, percussion, etc.)
- Willingness to provide youth emotional, social, and practical support within professional boundaries.
- Demonstrated history of arriving on time for work.
- Have a good sense of humor and relentless patience in stressful situations.
- Know how to use Excel. Not like a champ, but just enough.
For Teaching Artists with more than FIVE years experience:
For uniquely qualified candidates with some managerial experience, part and full time work as an Artistic Manager or a Program Manager is available. These exciting positions work in tandem to develop, lead, and grow an individual program. Please see the website for more information.
Full time and part-time positions are being considered. Part-time positions work 15-35 hours per week depending on program.
We pay for all assigned off-site prep time. That means script reading, phone calls, curriculum planning and staff meetings, monthly artist trainings – anything you are required to do for each program session, performance, or professional development.
- Teaching Artists: $20-25/hour starting
- Artistic Managers and Program Managers (Part-time): $25-30/hour starting
- Artistic Managers and Program Managers (Full-time): $40,000 – $55,000/year
Full-time staff members are eligible for medical coverage – 100% paid by Storycatchers – as well as a generous paid-time-off package.
Where you’ll work.
Our residential program staff work inside three detention and incarceration facilities: one near Washington and Western, one near Ogden and Roosevelt and one in a suburban facility near Naperville.
Our Changing Voices post-release program resides near Washington and Western.
Our Administrative offices are housed in a cozy suite in River North at 544 W. Oak.
To apply, please send your cover letter and resume to John Armstrong at email@example.com - please put the position title in the subject line.