Civic Actor Studio

civic actor studio

The Civic Actor Studio (CAS) at the University of Chicago is a four-day leadership retreat for established and emerging civic leaders, led in partnership with The Court Theatre, that connects disparate civic actors — non-profit leaders, educators, funders, media, and UChicago faculty and staff — to examine the various leadership roles they play, engage in civic dialogue, and “practice” the embodiment of civic leadership so that they have increased self-efficacy in their work.

Participants read dramatic texts and take part in theater-based exercises and discussions, creating scenes onstage designed to help actors access their voice, power, and the wide range of “characters” they contain. Retreat participants must live and/or work on the South Side of Chicago and serve the community through paid or volunteer work.

Nominations and self-nominations are accepted throughout the year by completing this nomination form.

Past Participants

First Cohort: September 2019 Civic Actor Studio

Second Cohort: June 2021 Civic Actor Studio

Third Cohort: November 2021 Civic Actor Studio

Fourth Cohort: June 2022 Civic Actor Studio

Fifth Cohort: November 2022 Civic Actor Studio

Sixth Cohort: March 2023 Civic Actor Studio

Seventh Cohort: October 2023 Civic Actor Studio

Eighth Cohort: March 2024 Civic Actor Studio

jonathan swain

News Stories and Participant Profiles

October 2019: Leadership as performance art: Civic Actor Studio connects community leaders with the characters they contain

October 2019: Jonathan Swain, Civic Actor Studio participant 

February 2020: Notes on leadership: Chicago Civic Leadership Exchange kicks off with lessons from a pop-up choir

June 2021: UChicago’s Civic Actor Studio challenges Chicago’s civic leaders to practice the art of leadership

January 2021: Jhmira Alexander, Civic Actor Studio participant

Back to News
Related articles