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In addition to premier Circus Arts instruction, The Actors Gymnasium Professional Circus Training Program includes collaboration and training with the following partners:


Founded in 1988 by graduates of Northwestern University, Lookingglass Theatre Company is a nationwide leader in the creation and presentation of new, cutting-edge theatrical works and in sharing its ensemble-based theatrical techniques with Chicago-area students and teachers through Education and Community Programs. Guided by an artistic vision centered on the core values of collaboration, transformation, and invention, Lookingglass seeks to capture audiences’ imaginations leaving them changed, charged, and empowered.

Actress Lindsey Noel Whiting performing as Alice on the cloudswing in Lookingglass Theatre's 2014 production of Lookingglass Alice.Recipient of the 2011 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre, Lookingglass has built a national reputation for artistic excellence and ensemble-based theatrical innovation. Notable world premieres include Mary Zimmerman’s Tony Award-winning MetamorphosesThe Arabian Nights, and The Odyssey, David Schwimmer’s adaptation of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle and Studs Terkel’s Race: How Blacks and Whites Think and Feel about the American Obsession, and David Catlin’s circus tribute to Lewis Carroll, Lookingglass Alice. Lookingglass’ work has been produced in more than a dozen US cities.

Lookingglass Theatre also has a long-standing, collaborative relationship with The Actors Gymnasium. A number of Lookingglass’ critically acclaimed, highly physical productions were developed at The Actors Gymnasium, and feature choreography by Actors Gym master teacher, Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi.

The award-winning shows produced in association with The Actors Gymnasium include The Baron in the Trees, La Luna Muda, Hard Times, Icarus, Little Prince and Lookingglass Alice.


LUCKY PLUSH PRODUCTIONS (LPP) is a Chicago-based dance theater company led by founding Artistic Director Julia Rhoads. LPP is committed to provoking and supporting an immediacy of presence – a palpable liveness – shared by performers in real-time with audiences. LPP is equally dedicated to creating work that is richly complex while also being broadly accessible. Critics and audiences alike recognize LPP for its complex choreography, moving content, surprising humor, and incisive commentary on contemporary culture.

Since its founding in 1999, LPP has premiered over 30 original works. Recent appearances include Flynn Center for the Performing Arts (VT), Kingdom County Productions (VT), North Carolina State University (NC), Purdue Convocations (IN), Kohler Arts Center (WI), Spoleto Festival/USA (SC), CRASHarts at Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (MA), Skirball Center (NYC), DANCEClevaland with Cleveland Playhouse (OH), Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (MD), College of St. Benedict/St. John (MN), Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (IL), Hancher Auditorium (IA), and the Dance & Physical Theatre Trust of New Zealand, among others.

Lucky plushLPP is the recipient of two National Performance Network Creation Fund awards, two NEFA National Dance Project Production Awards and Production Residency Awards, an NEA Art Works grant, an Illinois Arts Council Artstour Award, and a Metlife New Stages in Dance Award. Commissioning partners include Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (MD), Flynn Center for the Performing Arts (VT), and Links Hall Chicago. Press features include The Boston Globe’s “10 Best Dance Performances of 2013,” Chicago Public Radio’s “Best of 2011,” The Chicago Reader’s “Best of Chicago 2010,” Time Out Chicago’s “The Decade’s 10 Best Original Dance Works,” The Chicago Tribune’s “Best of Dance 2008,” Chicago Sun Times’ “Lasting memories in Dance” for 2005 and 2007, and a Time Out Chicago cover story “5 reasons to love dance in Chicago.”

Additionally, LPP spearheaded Creative Partners, a collaborative financial model that provides professional fundraising for three Chicago arts organizations: Lucky Plush Productions, Blair Thomas & Co, and eighth blackbird. Exclusive touring representation by David Lieberman/Artists Representatives.