Storybox Improvisational Theatre: About
"We are story-tellers and we are here to create an original story for you."
With these simple words, the Storybox ensemble begins its journey. Storybox Theatre is a 90-minute one-act theatre production for adult audiences, created and performed by an ensemble of improvisational storytellers. Using wooden sticks, colored pieces of cloth, and a single audience suggestion, this highly talented ensemble of theatre artists creates an original story that is performed only once for each audience. Utilizing movement, scene-work, and transformations to develop the arc of the story, they develop characters, motifs, and themes into a performance featuring evocative improvised environments, imagery, music, ritual, sub-stories, and stage tableaus that bring the audience along on the main character's epic and personal journey.
Storybox is created and developed by Jonathan Pitts. He's the Co-Founder of the Chicago Improv Festival and the Executive Director of Chicago Improv Festival Productions. Storybox origins are inspired by Paul Sills' Tony award-winning Broadway show Story Theater, the poetry and ritual of Japan's Noh Theatre, as well as the movement of Anne Bogart's Viewpoints techniques, Joseph Campbell's mythic psychology, Del Close's long-form tenets, Keith Johnstone's narrative ideas, Donna Lachman's Blue Rider Theater aesthetics, Robert LePage's intuitive Re/Source process, and the vast scope of Royal Shakespeare Company's production The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickelby, to forge together a single unscripted story featuring multiple narrations and sub-stories within a larger story.
Debuting in the summer of 2003, Storybox has been in constant development, discovery, and evolution as an original theatrical production. In 2008, there are now three different versions of Storybox that perform and tour: the adult themed and often dramatic 80 to 90 minute one-act play; the 45 minute family friendly version that is being performed here today; and a 20 to 30 minute bawdy deconstruction/reconstruction of an existing fairytale. All three versions use the same performance methods and are all fully unscripted.
Under the banner of CIF Productions, Storybox has performed over 200 shows to over 25,000 people, including appearances at Acorn Theatre, Around The Coyote Arts Festival, Chicago Improv Festival, Gorilla Tango Theater, The Improv Playhouse, Live Bait Theater, Montreal Improv Festival, The Open Space, Piven Theatre, San Francisco Improv Festival, The Second City Skybox, Skald Fest, Toronto Improv Festival, and Urban Gateways, as well as at various Chicago area libraries, park districts, and schools. In the spring of 2009, Storybox Theatre will perform all three versions of Storybox at Atlanta's Spontaneous Combustion and in the summer of 2009, the adult version of Storybox will return for a month long run at the Piven Theatre.