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Circle Theatre to Receive Special Award

Chicago, IL. The Jeff Awards is pleased to announce that Circle Theatre, celebrating its 25th Anniversary, will receive a Special Award at the 37th Annual Non-Equity Jeff Awards Ceremony on June 7, 2010, honoring its many contributions to Chicago theatre over the years.

In 1985, Karen Skinner, Wayne Buidens and Joseph Bass founded Circle Theatre with the mission of making exciting theatre available to the western suburbs of Chicago. They chose the name "Circle Theatre" to represent both Circle Avenue (Forest Park's main thoroughfare) and the concept of infinity. Like many new non-Equity companies, their work began in public buildings, and then settled in a church in 1987. A few years later, a fire destroyed the church and forced Circle to find its own space. Ever since, Circle's home has been at 7300 West Madison in Forest Park, just a block east of Circle Avenue.

Over the years Circle has garnered 88 non-Equity nominations and was the recipient of 39 awards. Having appeared on every major Chicago newspaper’s top ten lists numerous times, Circle was recently named Chicago’s favorite theatre on Channel 7 morning news. In addition to its main stage, Circle also boasts one of Chicagoland’s finest youth programs, The Emerging Young Artists. This staff works with over 200 young people per year, presenting productions ranging from Shakespeare to “High School Musical” and everything in between. In addition, select members of the youth ensemble are invited to become “Junior” company members and are mentored by working theatrical artists.

The current management of Circle Theatre consists of Kevin Bellie as Artistic Director, Lori Willis as newly-appointed Managing Director, and Producing Director Bob Knuth. This triumvirate, along with Circle’s strong company members and board, is propelling Circle Theatre into its next 25 years of theatrical excellence. Circle Theatre's artistic company is a formidable group of actors, directors, writers, musicians and designers ranging in age from 14 to 70. By day, its members are lawyers, teachers, fund-raisers, administrators, graphic artists, sales managers, business professionals and students—by night they come together to create art. Circle's company members are chosen for both their skills and their dedication to Circle's success. Every member takes a vital role in pursuing Circle's mission to produce exciting and innovative theatre accessible to our widely diversified suburban and city audience. Through variety-filled seasons including drama, comedy, musicals, and new works, Circle Theatre challenges, entertains, and educates audiences and artists of all ages.

SPECIAL NOTICE TO NEWS MEDIA Your complimentary ticket to the 37th Annual Non-Equity Jeff Awards Ceremony will be held at the News Media Table at the Park West only if you make a reservation in advance with Jeffrey Marks at 312.606.0400 or media@jeffawards.org. Names of award recipients will be released immediately following the presentation ceremony June 7 by e-mail and on our website. Photos from the event will be available on our website. A Media Curtain is available for your own photos. We will also have an interview area available to you, and will assist in bringing interviewees to that area. If you need a quote or interview with any Jeff Awards committee member, please call or e-mail Jeffrey Marks at 312-606-0400 or media@jeffawards.org.

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