Outreach Archives

Update: 8/10/11
CIF’s Summer Theater Camp Rocks

On Thursday, August 4, CIF’s 6th annual Ridge Park Summer Theater Camp’s final show was fun and played to a full house as 47 south-side Chicago kids, age 7-14, performed a revue of original material that they created and performed themselves under the guidance of CIF Productions’ Executive Director Jonathan Pitts.

To see video of the STC 2010, click: STC 2010 Video
To see photos of the STC 2010, click: STC 2010
To see photos of the STC 2008, click: STC 2008
To see photos of the STC 2007, click: STC 2007


Update: 8/2/08
Summer Theatre Camp Show A Hit!

The 3rd annual Summer Theatre Camp ended with a bang-up 55 minute performance by 34 kids in front of a packed house of 135 family and friends, all of whom were delighted and entertained by the original comedy scenes that were written and performed by the campers. The show began with a rap song performed by the ensemble and it ended with a group stepping number that was also performed by the ensemble. In between was 24 original, funny, thoughtful, and unique comedy skits. Congrats to everyone involved!

Update: 7/30/08
Summer Theatre Camp Ready To Perform!

CIF Productions’ Summer Theatre Camp is ready to perform their original sketch-comedy show, The Fresh Prince of Ridge-Park. The children collectively wrote 165 stories and from them director Jonathan Pitts chose 24 to be produced and performed. Good luck to everyone involved!

Update: 6/23/08
Time For Summer Theatre Camp!

CIF Productions recently started up its 3rd annual Summer Theatre Camp at Chicago Park District’s Ridge Park. There are a total of 38 south-side students, ages 7-12, in the camp. Over the next 6 weeks, they will meet 5 days a week, for 5 hours a day as they learn all about theatre and how to put together and perform their own original comedy show.

According to Theatre Camp Director, and CIF Productions Executive Director Jonathan Pitts they will learn a working vocabulary of theatre terms, as well as plenty of acting exercises, costume design, improv games, movement, set design, voice training, and a variety of writing skills in a conservatory format. Most of all the children will learn how to become a working theatre ensemble.

Of the 38 children, 17 of them are returning from last year’s camp, as are two of the three CPD recreation leaders whom will assistant in the process. CIF Productions is also bringing in several guest professional theatre artists to add to the children’s training.

Pitts says, “With so many children returning, it makes me very excited to see how they have progressed and get even better over the summer. It makes me happy to see our theatre program with the CPD growing better and stronger. This is the only theatre residency we do during the year and it has becomes a very important program for us and hopefully for the kids and their community.”

Update: 6/10/08
Another Successful Year For Touring Shows!

Congratulations to the casts of CIF Productions’ two touring improv shows,Storybox for Kids, and World Tales as they finished the 2007/2008 school year having performed to a collective audience of 5,867 grammar school students in the Chicagoland area.

Storybox for Kids also received an article in a suburban newspaper.

The diverse and professional cast members performing during this last school year were Kat Barker, Ravi Batista, Marla Caceres, Brittany Davis, Tusiime Jackson, Eddie Jordan, Matt Klingler, Elise Lammers, Britt Lower, Jonathan Pitts, Jeremy Schaefer, Andrea Salloum, Jonathan Wagner, and Kelly Williams.

This was the first year that World Tales started touring, and given its success, it will return again for the 2008/2009 school year.

Update: 1/12/08
CIF Productions and ComedySportz Chicago Co-Create the 1st Annual “All-Fest Improv Team” at the 2008 Illinois High School Theatre Fest



The Illinois 2008 All-Fest Improv Team Front Row (L to R): Co-DirectorMatt Ewell, Robert Leahy, Megan Kunesh, Linze Griebenon, Mike Storm, Andrew Rosenblat, Colin Eastburn-Mallory, Co-Director Emily Dugan Back Row (L to R)Peter LaDage, Jessica Rundell, Dylan Doetch, Dylan Howser, Teddy Hughes, Marybeth Kram, Marina Mularz, Nick Gertonson

In January of 2007, CIF Productions Executive Director Jonathan Pitts was teaching for his first time at the Illinois High School Theatre Fest. As he walked around looking at the teen-aged actors, he noticed several of them in “All-State Musical” jackets, and he wondered why there wasn’t an all-state improv team, especially since Illinois is the birthplace state of modern improvisational theatre. Thus inspired, he began to make this idea a reality. He added on the talents of CIF Productions’ Teen Comedy Fest Artistic Director Emily Dugan and ComedySportz Chicago’s Artistic Director Matt Ewell to persue the project. Thus with a great team, they proposed the idea to Larry Williams, chairman of the 2008 Illinois High School Theatre Fest, and he said yes.

On Friday, January 11, a total of 14 high school theatre students from all over the state of Illinois were selected to be part of the 1st annual “All-Fest Improv Team”. The group of 14 students were chosen from 150 students who auditioned for the ensemble.

On that Friday night, the All-Fest Improv Team performed an hour-long show to an audience of 300, made up of teens and teachers from the festival. Illinois State University’s The Improv Mafia (a final four finalist team from the 2007 College comedy Championship) were the guest headliners, and after they did their set, both teams did a improv jam together.


Ridge Park Summer Theatre Camp 2007



Several Chicago Park District kids put on possible costumes in preparation for an original sketch show they wrote, designed, and performed on August 2, 2007. The show That’s So Ridge Park featured 34 children, ages 7-12, from the southside of Chicago.

Both the show and the camp was under the direction of Chicago Improv Festival Productions’ Executive Director Jonathan Pitts. The camp which ran for six weeks, five days a week, and five hours a day, taught the kids improv games, movement exercises, music skills, theatre games, theatre vocabulary, voice exercises, and writing exercises as the kids learned the process of creating their own theatre and becoming an ensemble.



Co-Teacher Jeremy Schaefer oversaw this pre-production meeting between a writer and a set designer.



The Ridge Park theatre camp kids painted 24 different sets for their August 2 performance.



The paints were easily washable, but the fun of making their own theatre production remained.



The Ridge Park campers take a bow at the end of their show on August 2, 2007.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *