Who are we?

Red Theater is Dangerous and Free.

photo by Joe Mazza-Brave Lux

photo by Joe Mazza-Brave Lux

Our #FreeTheater mission allows us to ask dangerous questions theatrically.

We began in 2008 with the banishment from the University of Nebraska for performing controversial works. Our commitment to a defiant energy and diverse voices has resulted in five collectives: Lincoln, Omaha, Chicago, Tucson, and Purchase, NY.  As of 2015, all Red Collectives operate as #FreeTheater. Admission will always be FREE.

Red Theater is leading Chicago’s storefront theaters with events like our #AccessInitiative, hosting Chicago’s first unified Access Auditions for actors who are differently-abled and producing works featuring leaders of the Deaf community.



Janette Bauer and Aaron Sawyer

Janette Bauer (MD) and Aaron Sawyer (AD)

Why are we free?

Chicago has a lot of great theater, but many people are not able to see it.

How are we free?

We are able to provide #FreeTheater by enlisting the generosity of corporations, foundations, and donors like you!

Red Theater’s #FreeTheater and #AccessInitiatives are supported by our Comrade Patron Program. For every $10 monthly donation we receive, Red Theater is able to provide three #FreeTheater seats to nontraditional audiences over the course of our season. RTC_ComradeCard


Keep theater dangerous and free.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions by emailing chicago@redtheater.org


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Who are we?

It is the mission of Red Theater to honor audiences by “asking dangerous questions theatrically.” We continue this mission through our #FreeTheater Initiative and by featuring nontraditional artists and diverse voices in theatrically compelling ways.

Why are we Red?

Red Theater Lincoln began in 2008 as a means of empowering students excluded from the traditional “Go Big Red” football-centered curriculum at The University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Our message of empowerment spread to the community of Lincoln and then to Omaha. Members of each collective then moved to found collectives in Chicago, Purchase, and Tucson respectively.

Got troubles? Please don’t hesitate to contact us by emailing: info@redtheater.org



Our creation story


 Collective History:

Red Theater Lincoln [RTL] was founded in Lincoln, Nebraska after a bar fight in the summer of 2008 (okay, a heated semantic discussion) between Theron Seckington and Aaron Sawyer about the aesthetic virtues of theatre over film (and vice-versa). The Collective’s first performance was in December 2008 at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Red Theater Omaha [RTO] was built by founders Gage Wallace and Aaron Sawyer on the enthusiasm of the RTO Artistic Director, Jeremy Short, and the experience of Lincoln founding member, Sara Tangdall. RTO’s first performance was in August, 2010.

Red Theater Chicago [RTC] was built by founders Kim Chelf and Aaron Sawyer in the summer of 2012. RTC’s first season consisted of the Chicago premiere of Bertolt Brecht’s Schweyk in the Second World War and of Aaron Sawyer’s co-written script Red Hamlet.

Red Theater Purchase [RTP] was created by Omaha member Colin Ferguson and Kaitlyn Bestenheider in September of 2013.

Red Theater Tucson [RTT] was created by Marissa Boyle and Jackie Mendenhall in November of 2015.

02 Red Theater No Capacity Sign

From the original 2008 performance- posted with great urgency



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