What’s the latest at Steep?
with Executive Director Kate Piatt-Eckert
Do you take a break in the summer?
No way! I’m having way too much fun for that. In addition to the wildly popular run of Pomona, we’re bringing Red Rex to Theater on the Lake at the end of August and getting ready to launch our nineteenth season this fall. We’re celebrating summer and meeting new neighbors with food trucks and family fun outside the theatre every Monday night, and I’m loving meeting performers from across the city right here at The Boxcar. Whether it’s a night at the theatre or an evening of tacos and music, I’m thrilled that you’re making Steep part of your summer.
What’s this Equity thing all about, anyway?
As Steep has grown over the past several years, we’ve prioritized artist pay and production materials budgets in order to support the increasingly sophisticated work on stage, and we dreamed that one day we’d be able to join Actors Equity Association (“Equity”), the professional union for theatre actors and stage managers. Thanks to a grant from the Bayless Family Foundation, that dream will become a reality this fall!
Equity actors, such as Steep Company Members Caroline Neff, Joel Reitsma, and Michael Salinas, are only permitted to perform at Equity theatres, so being an Equity theatre will allow us to collaborate with our acting ensemble as they move through their careers while providing access to union health and pension benefits. It will also broaden the group of actors we can cast, supporting the ensemble’s commitment to creating an inclusive and diverse artistic experience.
Joining Equity will have a profound financial impact on Steep, and as our business model evolves in the coming years, we will need your help to ensure that we continue our long history of financial sustainability while embracing the artistic risk and innovation that makes Steep what it is. We are immensely grateful to the Bayless Family Foundation for making our Equity move possible, and we need your support now more than ever to inspire creativity and build the structure that will allow Steep to flourish as an Equity theatre for years to come.
What’s happening with the Red Line stop?
Edgewater is getting ready for the largest renovation project in the CTA’s history. Beginning late in 2020, the CTA will be rebuilding several Red Line stations, including ours. What does this mean for Steep? First, we’re not going anywhere! This construction project is going to be a long, dirty mess, but we love our community and we have no plans to move. Second, it means that we need your help to continue making great theatre during this dusty and disruptive time. We promise to keep you as informed as possible about station closures, parking restrictions, and anything else that might come up, and we hope that you’ll continue to find your way to Steep, help others discover our work, and enjoy the local restaurants and businesses around our theatre that will also be working to make their way through the dust.
How is The Boxcar doing?
August 26th marked The Boxcar’s one-year anniversary. Over the past year we’ve served over 11,000 drinks and more than 700 snacks to theatregoers, music lovers, artists, and neighbors. We’ve enjoyed the work of over 50 artists at our weekly performance series, and we’ve hosted numerous community events, play readings, and gatherings. Five nights a week, The Boxcar is full of art, conversation, and community, and my heart is simply overflowing!
While The Boxcar has been tremendously successful on a variety of measures, it’s still gaining traction as a source of revenue to support the work on stage. We’re seeing consistent growth in sales and attendance, but we need your help spreading the word about the exciting things happening next door to Steep. With support from the Arts Work Fund, we have free performances every Sunday and Monday evening, and there’s always a conversation to be found before and after Steep shows. Plus, we open at 5pm on Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, making The Boxcar the perfect place to meet friends for Happy Hour. Together we’ve created a really special place, and I look forward to seeing you there!