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“I Have a Story to Tell” to be first CLC theatre performance in Waukegan

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Feb 11, 2022

The College of Lake County (CLC) Theatre department is bringing multiple new elements to the table this February and March during the production of “I Have a Story to Tell” thanks to personal storytelling and a partnership with Three Brothers Theatre in Waukegan. 

Deon Lopez, Jose Olivares and Octavio Hernandez in CLC Theatre’s “I Have a Story to Tell.”“I Have a Story to Tell” revolves around the storytelling of individuals from the CLC and Lake County Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) community. 

Photo: A friendly game of Lotaría evolves into a discussion about language and culture for (left to right) Deon Lopez, Jose Olivares and Octavio Hernandez in CLC Theatre’s “I Have a Story to Tell.”  

“We are looking at everything we do in our department through a diversity, equity and inclusion lens,” said Theatre Department Chair Craig Rich. “We are looking at classes and productions and how can we make them more inclusive. We wanted a production focusing on BIPOC students and community members, and we invited them to the center of the creative process to devise their own theatrical experience." 

Unlike most performances that begin with a script, “I Have a Story to Tell” started out with the lived experiences of the performers. During auditions, performers were asked to perform a monologue or tell a story, and these influenced the themes explored during the rehearsal process. 

Dance Faculty Lamaiya Lancaster, who is co-directing the production with Rich, described how in traditional theatre, performers are tasked with telling someone else’s story. With a smaller number of these stories coming from a BIPOC point of view, their stories get less representation. “I Have a Story to Tell” is a chance for people from that community to have their voices heard. 

“It incorporates performers’ individual stories that connect to themes through different recollections, thoughts and feelings,” Lancaster said. “The production will be evolving through the final showing. You can see this every night and it will be different.” 

Themes the stories will revolve around include access to culture, identity, representation, authority and education. 

Working without a script has been a great learning opportunity for the performers. They’ve been able to be a vital part of the creative process. While speaking, performers will also be moving around the stage, weaving through props and scenery to add to the storytelling. They’ve been exploring the themes through movement as well as text, with Lancaster and Rich helping to shape the scenes and transitions. 

The first three performances in February will take place at the Grayslake Campus as usual, but the last three performances in March will take place at Three Brothers Theatre thanks to a new partnership with CLC. 

“We have been interested in being more involved in the arts community in Waukegan around the Lakeshore Campus for a while,” Rich said. “Currently, the Lakeshore Campus doesn't have a performance space or a space to teach theatre. We started to look around downtown Waukegan to see if there was a location, and we contacted Three Brothers Theatre.” 

CLC has been working on becoming more involved in the Waukegan arts community. Last fall, the college hosted its first set of art workshops at the Lakeshore Campus, and they are continuing into this spring. 

Though the performances haven’t happened yet, Rich hopes the theatre department, as well as other arts, continues to be involved in Waukegan. 

“It would be nice to do one or two shows at Three Brothers Theatre every year so we’re serving not just the community, faculty and students at Grayslake, but also at Lakeshore,” Rich said. “We aren’t bringing the arts to Waukegan because the arts are already there. We are being welcomed into their arts community.” 

Performances at the Grayslake Studio Theatre are Friday and Saturday, Feb. 25 and 26 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 27 at 2 p.m. Performances at Three Brothers Theatre are Friday and Saturday, March 4 and 5 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 6 at 2 p.m. 

Tickets are $10 for the general public and $8 CLC staff and students, teens and seniors. Tickets are buy one ticket, get one free for our Grayslake opening night, Friday, Feb. 25, and for the Waukegan opening night, Friday, March 4.  

About College of Lake County

College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes and is a national leader in many areas, including sustainability and conservation.