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Chopin Theatre is an independent, for profit arts center located across the Polonia Triangle in Chicago's Wicker Park - considered to be one of Chicago's more artistic communities.
Since its founding Chopin Theatre's purpose has been to support, present and produce avant-garde theater, literary, film, visual and performance art events. Established in 1990, it has had approximately 1,400 events with over 7,000 presentations (5,000 theatrical, 900 film, 600 literary evenings and over 500 music, dance, visual arts and social presentations).
Chopin Theatre has also produced over 110 of its own productions, mostly Eastern European, and has hosted performers from each American state and from over 40 countries. Its many guests have included Pulitzer winners Gwendolyn Brooks, Yusef Komunyakaa and Studs Terkel; authors Stuart Dybek, Aleksandar Hemon, Haki Madhubuti, Sara Paretsky, Art Shay, Zadie Smith, Bronislaw Wildstein and Howard Zinn; poets Nikki Giovanni, Luis Rodriguez, Mark Smith, Michael Warr and Adam Zagajewski; actors John Cusack and Jeremy Piven; acclaimed musicians Edward Auer, Peter Brotzman, Chuck D., Kurt Elling, Von Freeman, Fareed Haque, Adam Makowicz and Rob Mazurek.
Chopin Theatre has also organized over 60 interviews or “Spotkania” with leading Polish and Polish American cultural and political figures including W. Adamczyk, G. Auguscik, U. Dudziak, A. Dudzinski, S. Dybek, J. Englert, S. Fabicki, F. Falk, N. Goerke, R.Horowitz, K.Kalkowski, T. Karpowicz, T. Konwicki, K. Krauze, I. Krosny, R. Krynicki, F. Kujawinski, L. Madzik, B. Maj, P. Marcinkiewicz , A. Nowak, M. Nowakowski, J. Peszek, M. Płażyński, P. Sommer, F. Starowiejski, A. Stasiuk, G. Stec, J. Szajna, J. Trzeciak, B. Tyszkiewicz, B. Wildstein, B. Wroclawski and A. Zagajewski
Chopin Theatre is also the producer of I-Fest, Ideas in Motion I-Fest , an international festival of solo performances which has brought to Chicago 17 international artists from 10 countries—Austria, England, Finland, France, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, Switzerland and Ukraine.
The building of the Chopin Theatre was designed in 1918 by M.F. Strunch Architects as a 987 seat theater at 1541-43 W. Division Street. Today it houses a Main Stage (200) and a Cabaret Studio (50-100) with tis Pregnant Buffalo Lounge. According to the Theatre Historical Society of America, the theatre's name has changed named several times over the years from Chopin Theatre to Harding Theatre, back to Chopin Theatre and then to Pix Theatre from 1940-1948. During the next 40 years it went through a number of alternate uses: Security Federal Savings and Loan; thrift shop; discotheque, etc. In 1990 the vacant building was purchased by the Dyrkacz Family and gradually restored.
- Edward Auer, International Chopin Piano Competition pianist
- Gwendolyn Brooks, Pulitzer Prize poet
- Peter Brötzmann, free jazz saxophonist and clarinetist
- David Cromer, MacArthur Fellows Program director
- John Cusack, actor and film producer
- Chuck D, rapper and author
- Stuart Dybek, MacArthur Fellows Program author
- Kurt Elling, jazz vocalist
- Von Freeman, jazz tenor saxophonist
- Aleksander Hemon, MacArthur Fellows Program author
- Malalai Joya, politician
- Yusef Komunyakaa, Pulitzer Prize musician
- Yuri Lane, beatboxer
- Haki Madhubuti, author
- Sara Paretsky, author
- Jeremy Piven, actor and film producer
- Luis J. Rodriguez, poet
- Art Shay, photographer
- Marc Smith, 60 Minutes creator, founder Poetry Slam movement
- Zadie Smith, TIME Magazine novelist (100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005)
- Studs Terkel, Pulitzer Prize author
- Bronisław Wildstein, journalist
- Adam Zagajewski, poet
- Howard Zinn, historian, author and activist