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Our 2020/2021 Season: TRANSFORMATION

As we look forward to marking our 50th Anniversary, we are excited to curate a year-long conversation of transformation. Our first ever virtual season features stellar weeks of youth driven adaptations, new works based in classic story theatre traditions, a partnership with the Women’s Club of Evanston, the ongoing creative collaboration with Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre, and expanded online performance and class offerings to accommodate the safety needs of our community during the pandemic. 

Using the cornerstone of story and the online platform, we are inviting our worldwide community back home to tell new tales while honoring the legacy that inspired it. Overwhelmingly, alumni have been answering the call with new opportunities to reach our #Pivenfam across the world using technology that has allowed us to take our work online. As we continue to bring art to the center of community conversation, Piven is curating virtual events, online interactions, and highlighting the work of alumni voices in our community. 

In a time when BIPOC voices are underrepresented, we are committed to our community program and social justice initiatives. As master teachers, directors, adaptors, writers, and devisors, we are a community of authentic voices. At the forefront of our artistic endeavors is to highlight the triumphs of leadership and artistic engagement that we see from BIPOC, nontraditional, and differently abled artists in our community. Throughout the season, our endeavors will feature the exceptional voices from our work with incarcerated women at Cook County Jail, stories of veterans using Shakespearan verse to respond and heal from past trauma, the talents of neurodiverse and differently abled artists performing improvisational sets in online performance, as well as the individual achievements that we see from our many scholarship students in our classes.

The lasting legacy of Piven Theatre Workshop is the spirit of transformation fostered by our founders Byrne and Joyce Piven. Whether it is the excellence achieved on our stage or the collaborative spirit fostered within our classes, the notion of mentorship is at the core of all that Piven strives to achieve. I personally have mentored and been mentored as an artist, student, and director. I am honored to be part of this incredible organization that celebrates cycles of creativity, circles of connections, and a wide community of talented collaborators.

Together we create a community that values collaboration and transformation. Together we make the world anew.


The Workshop’s theatre grew naturally out of its acclaimed actors’ training center, where skilled actors, directors, and designers of all ages could continue their development as professional artists. As with our renowned theatre training center, productions at Piven are grounded in the traditions of story theatre and have a strong emphasis on ensemble artmaking and community dialogue.


piven-theatre-labProduction Lab

Dedicated to nurturing emerging artists and new works, the Lab @ Piven was created out of the Piven Theatre Workshop training center and its professional theatre to provide mentorship opportunities to theatre artists. The Lab @ Piven offers emerging artists a valuable forum in which to develop and share their work in a more informal workshop setting. Beginning with its acclaimed youth ensembles, Performance Project and Young People’s Company, the Lab@ Piven has expanded to include multi-artist performance salons, staged readings, and new works festivals.

“Piven training is about confidence, humility and belief … About new shivers of understanding about the human condition.  About feeling free to enact transformations of reality over and over again, like waves, until you are left with something infinitely more real than you started with.”

Sarah Ruhl

Alum / Playwright

“The Pivens challenge us by calling us to a higher idea of the theatre and of ourselves … Long may they thrive.”

Bernard Sahlins

Co-Founder, Second City