Circle Theatre is an artist-based company whose mission is to produce exciting and innovative theatre accessible to our widely diversified suburban and city audience. Through variety-filled seasons including drama, comedy, musicals, and new works, Circle Theatre challenges, entertains, and educates audiences and artists of all ages.
In 1985, Karen Skinner, Wayne Buidens and Joseph Bass founded Circle Theatre with the mission of making exciting theatre available to the western suburbs of Chicago. They chose the name "Circle Theatre" to represent both Circle Avenue (Forest Park's main thoroughfare) and the concept of infinity. Their work began in public buildings, and then settled in a church in 1987. A few years later, a fire the destroyed the church and forced Circle to find its own space. Soon after, Circle's home became 7300 West Madison in Forest Park, just a block east of Circle Avenue. In October 2010, Circle made the next step in its history by moving 4 blocks east to its current location at 1010 Madison Street in oak Park.
Over their nearly 3 decade history, Circle has presented countless World, Regional and Chicago premieres including works by Rebecca Gilman, Charles Mee, Jon Steinhagen and Harry Connick Jr. Circle also has a reputation for staging chamber style productions of large Broadway musicals with such works as The Secret Garden, Urinetown and The Life, among countless others. In recent seasons, Circle has also put its stamp on classic work with highly lauded productions of The Philadelphia Story, Design for Living and Hayfever. Circle has been honored to host events with Broadway luminaries Marvin Hamlisch, Michael John LaChiusa and Rupert Holmes, counting Academy Award winner Russell Crowe and Emmy nominee John Mahoney among its many supporters. Having appeared on every major paper's top ten lists numerous times, Circle has also been named Chicago's favorite theatre on Channel 7 morning news and is the recipient of the 2010 Jeff Award for special recognition of its 25th Anniversary.
In addition to a thriving main stage season, Circle also boasts one of Chicagoland's finest youth programs, The Emerging Young Artists. This staff works with over 200 young people per year, presenting productions ranging from Shakespeare to High School Musical and everything in between. In addition, select members of the youth ensemble are invited to become "Junior" company members and are mentored by working theatrical artists.
Circle has been lucky enough to have leaders who are masters in their field throughout its history. Currently Kevin Bellie serves as Artistic Director. Assisted by a strong company and board, Circle Theatre is propelling into future decades of theatrical excellence. Circle Theatre's artistic company is a formidable group of actors, directors, writers, musicians and designers ranging in age from 14 to 70. By day, its members are lawyers, teachers, fund-raisers, administrators, graphic artists, sales managers, business professionals and students — by night they come together to create art. Circle's company members are chosen for both their skills and their dedication to Circle's success. Every member takes a vital role in pursuing Circle's mission to produce exciting and innovative theatre accessible to our widely diversified suburban and city audience. Through variety-filled seasons including drama, comedy, musicals, and new works, Circle Theatre challenges, entertains, and educates audiences and artists of all ages.