Mission & History
Housed in what was once a small grocery store steps from the Berwyn El stop, Steep is the quintessential storefront theatre – that iconic breed of Chicago theatre that makes our cultural landscape unlike that of any other city. Steep is committed to producing new and under-produced plays that tell the stories of ordinary people in extraordinary situations – small stories that illuminate larger societal issues. As Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune wrote in his 2014 review of STRANGERS, BABIES, “Steep Theatre never shies away from plays about the dark corners of the soul, … You might say this fine little theater on Berwyn Avenue makes a specialty of such gutsy shows…” Steep creates powerful productions of plays by today's most exciting writers and features the work of Chicago's hottest theatre artists in a beautiful, intimate space. Steep Theatre is known as a home for hard-hitting, finely tuned ensemble work.
Steep Theatre Company was founded in 2000 by three actors with little more than a shoestring budget and a desire to work in an open, ensemble atmosphere. Over the years, the company has become a dedicated, close-knit group of forty-one actors, directors, designers, and writers driven by a shared commitment to the organization's mission:
To bring out the everyday truths in the stories we tell through ensemble work and to reach out to non-traditional theatregoers by seeking out stories and creating experiences relevant to them.
Steep believes theatre should stoke conversations about the issues and conditions that are part of all of our lives; conversations that take place between artists and audiences in the theatre, in the lobby, and long after everyone has gone home. Steep's goal is more than just sparking these conversations – the company's goal is to add more voices and perspectives to these conversations. Steep strives to reach the everyday person who may have abandoned theatre as a relevant art form by telling stories that touch their lives in real and palpable ways and by creating an environment that is welcoming to everyone. By bringing these voices back to the theatre, Steep hopes to reinvigorate conversations and ensure that theatre is a viable, vital, and productive art form.