Emily Zimmer’s artistic career revolves around working with kids. Twelve years ago, she came to see the Chicago Avenue Project for the first time. “It was a transformative experience,” she recalls. “The combination of earnestness and absurdity was exactly what I want to see in theatre.”
After that first experience, Emily continued to attend shows at PHT because it was doing the kind of work with a social justice focus that interested her as an artist.
In 2013, Emily received one of Pillsbury House Theatre’s Naked Stages fellowships through which she created an original performance piece that explored the economic meltdown of 2008. “Naked Stages is supposed to be a performance that challenges convention and allows for experimentation,” she notes, “and I have learned a lot from working with kids about how to experiment and where theatre can go.”
Emily is now the director of Chicago Avenue Project. Her favorite part of her job is watching the kids evolve during the process, transforming from nervous to brave. “For me kids seem hooked into something really authentic, and they make art that I find very interesting because it defies convention.”
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photo of Mimi and Manny by Kelsye A. Gould, 2014