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News & Events

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​There’s never a dull moment at The Theatre School; here are some of the highlights. Check back often to find out about upcoming events and to get the latest stories. 

9/21/20   Roger Guenveur Smith presents​ new work Otto Frank ​| 7:00 PM Central

Otto Frank Performance
Free performance.  Run time approximately 60 minutes with post-show discussion to follow.  
RSVP here to receive joining instructions.

For two years, the Franks improvised a home above the family business in Amsterdam, before their arrest, separation, and removal to Nazi death camps. Otto Frank miraculously escaped a firing squad at Auschwitz and returned to Amsterdam to learn of the murder of his wife and their two daughters. What remained was a diary, initially intended as a modest birthday gift to Anne from her father. The surviving Frank passionately pursued the publication, translation, and adaptation of Anne's journal. It is now, with the exception of the Bible, the most read non-fiction book in the world. But less known is the story of Otto.  

This event is co-sponsored by DePaul University's Theatre School, Center for Black Diaspora and Jewish Life,​ and was made possible by generous support from the Vincentian Endowment Fund. 

Roger Guenveur Smith headshot
​Roger Guenveur Smith is an internationally acclaimed actor, writer, and director who has created a prolific body of work on stage and screen. He adapted his Obie Award-winning solo performance of A Huey P. Newton Story into a Peabody Award-winning telefilm and his Bessie Award-winning Rodney King is currently streaming on Netflix.  Also among his work for the international stage are studies of Frederick Douglass and Christopher Columbus, Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley, iconoclast artists Jean-Michel Basquiat, Simon Rodia, and Charles White, and baseball greats Juan Marichal and John Roseboro.

3/26/20   UPDATE! Deadline Extended to May 1​
      Submissions Now Being Accepted for Cunningham Commission for Youth Theatre
​The Theatre School at DePaul University is pleased to announce that submissions are now being
Student reading a script
accepted for the Cunningham Commission for Youth Theatre. Playwrights from the Chicagoland area and alumni of The Theatre School are eligible to apply, and the winner will be announced in June. The deadline for submissions is May 1, 2020.

The Cunningham Commission for Youth Theatre was established at The Theatre School to honor the memory of the Rev. Donald Cunningham, a Chicago priest, playwright, and lover of theatre. The Cunningham Commission was established by an endowment gift from the Cunningham family and is presented annually. The purpose of the commission is to encourage the writing of dramatic works for young audiences that affirm the centrality of religion, broadly defined, and the human quest for meaning, truth, and community. The Theatre School intends to produce the plays created through this commission in its award-winning Chicago Playworks for Families and Young Audiences series.

 Chicago Playworks is dedicated to reflecting our audience's experience in an urban, contemporary, and multi-ethnic environment. Each season has three productions that are attended by over 30,000 young people and their families. Target audience age varies for each individual show, with a primary interest in serving grades four through seven.  

 Candidates should submit:
​• ​A resume
  One sample of their playwriting work (no more than 20 pages). The writing sample may be from a         play of any genre for any audience.
 ​ ​A brief statement about their interest in the commission.
  ​A paragraph-length description of a possible project.  ​​

 The commission timeline is as follows:
 June 2020: Winner announcement and contract signing.
• December 1, 2020: First draft due (payment upon delivery).
 January 15, 2021: Notes from Theatre School committee delivered to playwright.
• April 1, 2021: Second draft due (payment upon delivery).
 May 15, 2021: Notes from Theatre School committee delivered to playwright.
 September 1, 2020: Third draft due (final payment upon delivery)

​Play will then be considered for the following year's Chicago Playworks for Families and Young Audiences series.

​The fee for the Cunningham Commission is $6000, with an additional fee provided if the play is produced as part of the Chicago Playworks series. The selection committee is chaired by Phil Timberlake, and is composed of members of the Cunningham Commission advisory committee and faculty of The Theatre School. 

Please send all entries to: Cunningham Commission Selection Committee, The Theatre School at DePaul University, 2350 N. Racine Avenue, Chicago, 60614. Questions and entries can also be sent to

Dr. Jeanine Ntihiragez
Center for Black Diaspora Hosts 
Dr. Jeanine Ntihiragez at The Theatre 
School on November 5

To register for the event and learn more: 

Photo of Featured Directors
Photo by Michael Brosilow for American Theatre Magazine
November Issue of American Theatre Magazine Highlights Chicago Theatre

Features faculty members Lisa Portes, 
Coya Paz, and an article by alumna 
Yasmin Zacaria Mikhaiel 

Read the issue:​

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