The Chicago Inclusion Project and Victory Gardens Launch Inclusive Casting Collaboration

Oct 13, 2021
The Chicago Inclusion Project

The Chicago Inclusion Project (TCIP) together with Victory Gardens Theater announced a new season-long collaboration. The two companies will partner on an inclusive casting process for Victory Garden's 2021-2022 season, giving Chicago theater artists access to roles from which they might traditionally have been excluded. The Chicago Inclusion Project will handle all casting for Queen of the Night, In Every Generation, cullud wattah, and the Ignite Chicago reading series and 20/50 Play Festival.

"When offered the chance to work with incoming Artistic Director Ken-Matt Martin, The Chicago Inclusion Project's casting team was thrilled," comments TCIP Founder Emjoy Gavino. "Victory Gardens Theater has always been a hub for innovation, accessibility and conversation, which is why we began our company's journey in their space. Years later, as both our organizations seek ways to nurture the artists of our city, this collaboration provides a clear path. We were inspired by Ken-Matt's commitment to true civic change within our community and are excited to help usher in these new stories."

"Victory Gardens' commitment to new work extends beyond the page to include theater artists both on and off stage. To nurture new and upcoming talent, an inclusive and equitable casting process is essential," notes Victory Gardens Artistic Director Ken-Matt Martin. "Our partnership with The Chicago Inclusion Project will ensure our continued forward motion as we strive to strengthen the Chicago theater community and create art that is a true reflection of the diverse audience we are proud to serve."

The Chicago Inclusion Project first collaborated with Victory Gardens during the successful launch of their organization in 2015, a staged reading of William Saroyan's The Time of your Life, directed by former VG Artistic Director Chay Yew. This collaboration provides an opportunity to expand and continue this partnership, with the goal of inspiring true civic change within our community through developing new stories for the stage.

About The Chicago Inclusion Project
The Chicago Inclusion Project is a collective of artists, committed to facilitating inclusive experiences and hiring practices throughout Chicago Theatre by bringing together artists and audiences normally separated by ethnic background, economic status, gender identity, physical ability and countless other barriers. The staff includes Stephanie Díaz (Grant Writer/Casting Associate), Elana Elyce (Business Manager), Adelina Feldman-Schultz (Facilitator, Casting associate), Emjoy Gavino (Founder, Executive Director, Casting Associate), Arti Ishak (Facilitator), Abhi Shrestha (Community Organizer / Literary Manager) and Jessica Vann (Facilitator). For more information, visit

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