In The Grove: A Filament Theatre Original Trail Tale

Co-created by Julie Ritchey, Eleanor Kahn, and Katie Norregaard for Filament Theatre

In the Grove
Photo Credit: Micah Mabey / Filament Theatre

About In The Grove: A Filament Theatre Original Trail Tale

Welcome to the Grove, where plants and creatures and children all grow together. Through songs, play, and story, little ones and their grown-ups will discover the forest around them and learn how we are all connected.

Inspired by the ecology of Chicago’s Southeastern Wetlands, IN THE GROVE is a Filament Theatre original Trail Tale made in partnership with Friends of the Forest Preserve.

Neighborhood: Southeast Side – Eggers Grove

Art Type: Interactive Theater for Toddlers & Their Caregivers

Grant Amount: $12,000

Media Gallery

Click on each image to enlarge and to see the photo caption.

Filament Theatre Artists
Left - Julie Ritchey; Center - Eleanor Kahn; Right - Katie Norregaard.

About the Artists

Julie Ritchey she/her (Director) is, until recently, a Chicago-based international Director focusing on theater for young and family audiences and is the Founding Artistic Director of Filament Theatre. A passionate advocate for anti-adultist frameworks in theatre and art making, she continually advocates for young people’s right to access the most innovative, challenging, relevant, creative, authentic art that can possibly be created. Critics describe Julie’s work as a director as “pinpoint” (Chicago Tribune), “captivating” (Chicago Reader) and “incredibly imaginative” (Time Out Chicago).

With Filament, Julie has also created The Van Gogh Cafe, an adaptation of Cynthia Rylant’s book of the same name (staged in Fannie’s Bakery and Cafe with an accompanying a five course meal); a Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of Portage Park (an original mystery that took the audience on foot and by bicycle throughout the neighborhood in search of clues); The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles (a play in a sandbox); and Forts: Build Your Own Adventure (an audience-driven performance installation).

Eleanor Kahn she/her (Designer) is a Chicago-based interdisciplinary artist, with a focus on scenic and installation design. Her work is centered around the idea that the where, when, and how we receive information is as important as what that information is; context is everything. She received her Bachelor of Architecture degree from Iowa State University with a second major in performing arts. She has designed over 100 shows and worked on countless others. She continues to expand her work and has branched out into experience design and installation work (including public art featured in Millennium Park) to further her passion in the design of immersive + narrative driven spaces.

Katie Norregaard she/her (Writer/Composer) is a children’s songwriter, filmmaker, and teaching artist based in Chicago. She runs a creative studio under “Miss Katie Sings”, where she produces videos for children online with an emphasis on social-emotional learning, empathy, and justice. Katie also leads virtual music exploration classes through libraries, schools, and her own studio. She recently studied at the American Montessori Society for their educator-based ABAR (Anti-Bias Anti-Racist) certificate program. Her work through “Miss Katie Sings” has been seen by tens of thousands of children across the world.

Filament Theatre (Producer): Filament Theatre’s mission is to create a more equitable society by celebrating & amplifying the perspectives & experiences of young people through the performing arts. Filament does this by creating ambitious anti-oppressive, theatrical experiences for family audiences.

Founded in 2007, Filament has produced dozens of original, innovative, and ambitious, and site-specific theatrical experiences for multigenerational audiences across Chicago. In 2013, the company established their permanent artistic home in Portage Park, where they continue to serve as an anchor small business for the Historic Six Corners Commercial District.

A national leader in anti-adultist theatre making, Filament’s current programming initiatives invite young people in as not only patrons, but essential collaborators throughout the artistic process. Intentionally engaging audiences as artistic collaborators in real time, Filament audiences experience “play” as both a verb and noun.

In 2015 the Chicago Community Trust awarded Filament with a SMART Growth Grant, in 2020 the Illinois Theatre Association awarded Filament with the Award of Excellence in Theatre for Young Audiences and in 2022 the Bayless Family Foundation awarded Filament with their competitive Stepping Stone grant.

Community Partner

Friends of the Forest Preserves: Friends of the Forest Preserves unites people to protect, promote, and care for the forest preserves in Cook County. As the only independent nonprofit organization solely focused on the forest preserves in Cook County, Illinois, they work to safeguard and improve the 70,000 acres of forest preserves for all of us and generations to come. Founded in 1998 by a small group of concerned citizens, the Friends community is now a force of thousands working together to ensure that land, water, and life will always thrive in the forest preserves.

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