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Steep Theatre Awarded Largest Grant In Company History

The Community Development Grant will allow Steep to create a state-of-the-art black-box theater; increased space and improved facilities and more.

Steep Theatre Awarded Largest Grant In Company History

Steep Theatre has been awarded a $2.988 million Community Development Grant from the City of Chicago to transform its newly acquired building in Edgewater into a state-of-the-art performance venue and permanent artistic home. The grant was announced Wednesday at a press conference hosted by Mayor Lori Lightfoot at the South Shore Cultural Center. Steep will begin construction on its new home in 2023.

"We are deeply honored and humbled by the city's decision to so generously fund our project and we're grateful for their faith and support of Steep's mission and our work ahead," said Steep Artistic Director Peter Moore. "We recognize that this is an investment not only in our company, but in our Edgewater community and our theatre community, which has been hit so hard these last two years by the pandemic. We take those responsibilities very much to heart. Chicago isn't Chicago without its theatre, and we're proud that our city recognizes theatre as both an indispensable cultural asset and an undeniable economic catalyst."

The City of Chicago's support of this project will affirm Steep's position as a cherished cultural destination and community anchor in the Edgewater neighborhood it has called home since 2008. Over the last 21 years, Steep Theatre has earned a reputation as one of Chicago's most acclaimed and essential theatre companies, producing over 70 shows that have been met with remarkable critical and commercial success. From 2008 to 2020, Steep produced plays in its leased storefront home on Berwyn Avenue, until the building was purchased for development. Steep purchased its new home in spring of 2022. Located at 5300-5318 North Kenmore Avenue, just a block and a half from its former home, the new Steep Theatre will be a beacon of art, artists, and community for the city and for the company's beloved Edgewater community for decades to come. Steep is grateful for the unflagging support of Alderman Harry Osterman and his office throughout their efforts to find and build a new home in the 48th Ward.

The Community Development Grant will allow Steep to create a state-of-the-art black-box theater; increased space and improved facilities to better support artists, administrators, and audiences; and expanded public areas to enhance community outreach efforts - all designed with inclusion, sustainability, accessibility, and design excellence at the forefront. To that end, Steep has engaged Monica Chadha of Civic Projects Architecture for her firm's alignment with these priorities and experience with community-oriented design.

The Community Development Grant program is part of the Chicago Recovery Plan (CRP), a citywide effort under Mayor Lightfoot focused on creating sustainable economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. In November 2022, sixty-one businesses and organizations across thirty-three community areas were selected to receive more than $39 million in grants, with more than $93 million in total neighborhood investment.

About Steep Theatre

Founded in 2000 by three actors, Steep has grown into a dynamic ensemble of forty-five theatre artists, supported by a dedicated and inspired team of arts administrators and community members.  Steep creates powerful productions of plays by today's most exciting writers and features the work of Chicago's hottest theatre artists in an intimate, accessible space. Steep is known as a home for hard-hitting, finely tuned ensemble work. With each production, the company has shepherded a growing community of audiences and artists into bold new territories of story and performance.



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