Makiyah Holloway-Dudley, Visual Arts ’24. Tell Me A Story. 2020, Multi-Media Collage

A Day in the Life

The Theatre Conservatory offers a joyful and diverse program of instruction at the highest artistic level in both Acting and Musical Theatre tracks. ChiArts Acting majors focus on a progression of study including acting, voice and speech, movement, history of theatre  practice and literature, stage production and design, periods and styles, and devising new work. Musical Theatre majors work with Theatre, Music, and Dance Conservatory faculty and follow a progression of study including acting, vocal technique, dance, music  theory, keyboard, chorale, the history of musical theatre practice and literature, stage production and design, and devising new work.

25+ Pre-Professional & Donor-Funded Courses Offered

20 Dedicated Faculty Members

2 2023 Broadway in Chicago Illinois High School Musical Theatre Award (IHSMTA) Nominations

10+ August Wilson New Voices Competition Regional & National Finalists

Theatre Alumni Stories
Headshot of Kiara Rivera

Kiara (Kairis) Rivera

Bachelor of Arts in Theater and Anthropology, Connecticut College
Chicago-based actor who is passionate about new work and storytelling, and a proud Indigenous q’eqchi Maya and Mexican artist
Headshot of Taylor Blackman

Taylor A. Blackman

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting, Oklahoma City University
Bicoastal actor, recently performed in 1st National Tour of Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, and a 2022/23 Ensemble Studio Theatre/The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Commission Recipient
Group of students in costume during a performance

What Do Scholar-Artists Gain?

  1. Pre-professional training from a range of Chicago theatre working artists, giving scholar-artists unique insight and experiences through professionals in the field.
  2. Masterclass and performance opportunities with organizations such as Broadway in Chicago, Goodman Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre, The Artistic Home, and a  robust portfolio of university partnerships. 
  3. Curriculum that honors the growth of a multifaceted artist with courses such as Stage Combat, Applied Production, and Diverse Playwrights. 
  4. Access to a network of alumni graduates who are performing on Broadway stages, working in sound design, stage managing, producing films, and playwriting across  the nation. ChiArts theatre alumni have also opened up doors as educators, entrepreneurs, and academics in their respective fields. 
Group of students dancing with fans onstage with one student singing in the middle of the group during a performance

Performances & Arts Partnerships

ChiArts’ Theatre Conservatory hosts 8+ showcases and full-scale productions each year. The conservatory’s school-wide play and musical have been attributed by countless alumni as the inspiration for their professional theatre careers. Recent ChiArts Theatre productions include Little Shop of Horrors, In the Red and Brown Water, Songs for a New World, and The Skin of our Teeth. Through faculty guidance and coaching, scholar-artists are also encouraged to grow their skillset through performance  opportunities at Illinois High School Association’s (IHSA) Drama Contest, National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Chicago Chapter Competition, and the August Wilson New Voices Competition to name a few prominent partnerships.

Expert Leadership

Headshot of Lauren Wells Mann

Lauren Wells-Mann joined ChiArts in 2022 and is an actor, director, dancer, choreographer, and arts educator. Lauren Wells-Mann believes in the power of the arts and the importance of BIPOC artists having autonomy over their own narratives, and it is a mission to which she is deeply committed.

Mrs. Wells-Mann holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting from Columbia College Chicago, and a Master in Secondary Education from the University of Phoenix. She began her professional acting career with Eta Creative Arts Foundation. She has also performed with companies such as Lookingglass Theatre Company, Black Ensemble Theatre, Harlem Theater Company, Healthworks Theater Company, and Victory Gardens Theater to name a few. Mrs. Wells-Mann has also directed and choreographed for Eta Creative Arts Foundation, Ma’at Production Association of Afrikan Centered Theatre (MPAACT), Chicago on the Nile, Black Lives Black Words – Chicago, 20% Theater Company – Twin Cities, Perceptions Theatre, and Griot Theatre Collective. She attributes her directing prowess to the tutelage of Darcelle Williams, Cheryl Frazier, and Carla Stillwell. In addition to these accolades, Mrs. Wells-Mann has been coaching competitive acting and speech events for the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) for 20 years. Under her direction, students have won numerous state and national championships in various acting and public speaking activities.

Large group of students onstage raising one hand into the air in unison

You make it possible

With your help, the ChiArts Foundation will raise more than $3 million this year to fully fund ChiArts’ five arts conservatories and provide a safe and supportive environment for scholar-artists to flourish during and beyond high school.