Victory Gardens Theater presents the Ignite Chicago reading of Mexodus, written by and featuring Brian Quijada and Nygel D. Robinson, and directed by David Mendizábal. Mexodus will be presented on Thursday, October 21, 2021 at 7pm at Chicago State University, Communications, Media Arts, and Theatre Department, 9501 S. King Drive, Douglas Hall, Room 116.
Mexodus is the first Ignite Chicago reading this season, presented as part of The Ignition New Play Program. Tickets are FREE but very limited and must be reserved through the box office at 773.871.3000 or online at www.victorygardens.org/event/mexodus.
A concept album that is also an intimate theatrical experience, Mexodus is inspired by the thousands of enslaved people in the United States who sought freedom in Mexico, rather than looking north. Through live looping and hip hop, Brian Quijada and Nygel D. Robinson explore an under-told chapter of the Underground Railroad and celebrate Black and brown bodies standing together against oppression.
Mexodus marks Brian Quijada’s second development opportunity with Victory Gardens Theater. His play Where Did We Sit on the Bus? was presented at Victory Gardens as part of the 2014 Ignition Festival, and later had its world premiere at The Storefront Theatre, produced by Teatro Vista in association with DCASE and Victory Gardens. Where Did We Sit on the Bus? was remounted virtually by Victory Gardens, in partnership with Geva Theatre Center, for a digital run in 2021.
Artistic Director Ken-Matt Martin comments, “Mexodus is the first in a series of Ignite Chicago readings, as we welcome back Brian Quijada to Victory Gardens and introduce Nygel D. Robinson and Director David Mendizábal to Chicago audiences. Through the new play development process, in which the public reading at Chicago State is an important element, Victory Gardens is offering additional resources and opportunities for Ignite Chicago playwrights. One important element of this program is giving playwrights the opportunity to develop their work in a community of their choice, thereby making free work accessible to audiences across the city.”
Director of CSU Theatre Kamesha Khan shares, “The Communications, Media Arts and Theatre Department and Chicago State University (CSU) Theatre are excited to begin what we believe will be a long and fruitful partnership with Victory Gardens Theater. We look forward to hosting the workshop reading of Mexodus as a part of the Ignite Chicago Reading Series. This workshop reading will provide our students the opportunity to witness and participate in the play development process. It also gives our students the chance to network with theatre professionals. It is our sincerest hope that this partnership will create new opportunities in professional theatre for our students. We are eager to explore the many possibilities that this partnership will offer the CSU community.”
Ignite Chicago is part of The Ignition New Play Program (formerly the Ignition Festival of New Plays), and is sponsored by The Pritzker Pucker Family Foundation. The Ignition New Play Program consists of two events for the 2021/22 season: the Ignite Chicago reading series, offering six free readings of new works between October 2021 and July 2022, and the 20/50 Festival in June 2022, featuring three new works by playwrights over 50, staged by VG Directors Inclusion Initiative Fellows. Ignite Chicago readings will take place not only at Victory Gardens’ home in Lincoln Park, the Biograph Theater, but at partner locations throughout the city, to bring new plays into Chicago’s many communities.
Upcoming Ignite Chicago readings include:
- October 21, 2021: Mexodus by Nygel D. Robinson & Brian Quijada
- November 2021: Tokens of Promise by Ada A.
- December 2021: The Bottoming Process by Nicholas Pilapil
- February 2022: exercise your demons: a play on the trauma of a gay male body by Gage Tarlton
- April 2022: Primary Trust by Eboni Booth
- July 2022: Nancy by Rhiana Yazzie
All readings are free to attend, but RSVPs will be required, as capacity for each reading is limited. Registration for Ignition New Play Program events will be available at www.victorygardens.org approximately one month before each event.
Victory Gardens Theater 2021/22 Mainstage Season
The Victory Gardens Theater 2021/22 Mainstage Season includes Queen of the Night by travis tate, directed by Ken-Matt Martin, January 29 - March 13, 2022; the World Premiere of In Every Generation by Ali Viterbi, directed by Devon de Mayo, April 2 - May 1, 2022; and the Regional Premiere of cullud wattah by Erika Dickerson-Despenza, directed by Lili-Anne Brown, June 11 - July 17, 2022.
Flex Passes to the 2021/22 Season are currently on sale at victorygardens.org or by phone at 773.871.3000, and offer 20% savings over single ticket prices. Single tickets will go on sale later this fall, and range from $29-$62.
For complete details on the 2021/2022 Season and artists, Flex Passes, and the Ignition New Play Program, please visit www.victorygardens.org.
Victory Gardens Theater receives major funding from Allstate Insurance, Alphawood Foundation, Crown Family Philanthropies, Exelon Corporation, Illinois Arts Council, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation, Prince Charitable Trusts, and The Shubert Foundation.
Victory Gardens also receives support from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, Coffman Law Offices, Conant Family Foundation, Golden Country Oriental Food, Goldman Sachs, a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, Mayer Brown LLP, The Charles H. and Bertha L. Boothroyd Foundation, and The Charles and M.R. Shapiro Foundation.
Victory Gardens Theater COVID-19 Attendance Policy
To protect the health of all who attend Victory Gardens productions, the following policies are in place for all in-person events for the 2021/22 Season: All audience members must be masked for the duration of their visit. Masks will be available for purchase onsite if needed. All audience members must provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within the last 72 hours prior to entry to the theater. Details on how to provide this information will be shared via email in advance of all performances. These policies follow state and local guidelines for safe operation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
About Victory Gardens Theater
Under the leadership of Artistic Director Ken-Matt Martin and Acting Managing Director Roxanna Conner, Victory Gardens is dedicated to artistic excellence while creating a vital, contemporary American Theater that is accessible and relevant to all people through productions of challenging new plays and musicals. Victory Gardens Theater is committed to the development, production and support of new plays, which has been the mission of the theater since its founding, set forth by Dennis Začek, Marcelle McVay, and the original founders of Victory Gardens Theater, and continued by former Artistic Director Chay Yew.
Victory Gardens Theater is a leader in developing and producing new theater work and cultivating an inclusive Chicago theater community. Victory Gardens’ core strengths are nurturing and producing dynamic and inspiring new plays, reflecting the diversity of our city’s and nation’s culture through engaging diverse communities, and, in partnership with Chicago Public Schools, bringing art and culture to our city’s active student population.
Since its founding in 1974, the company has produced more world premieres than any other Chicago theater, a commitment recognized nationally when Victory Gardens received the 2001 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, Victory Gardens Biograph Theater includes the Začek-McVay Theater, a state-of-the-art 259-seat mainstage, and the 109-seat studio theater on the second floor, named the Richard Christiansen Theater.
For more information about Victory Gardens, visit www.victorygardens.org. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/victorygardens, Twitter @VictoryGardens, and Instagram @victorygardenstheater.