August 17-September 22, 2019

Theatre Y Presents An Experiment in Travel

in collaboration with  NPR/WBEZ's WORLDVIEW Jerome McDonnell, Night Out In The Parks,

The Bureau of Transient Affairs, and reuniting Theatre Y with Hungarian Choreographers Dénes Döbrei and Heni Varga




Beginning August 17th, each Saturday and Sunday, from 3-9pm, the performance will begin and end at Ipsento 606. We will be in correspondence with attendees beforehand to understand their needs and fully prepare them for their travels.

Photo Credit: Peter Kachergis

Chicago Reader Recommended!The Camino Project combines pilgrimage and theater - Theatre Y's ambulatory production stretches over six hours and five miles—and it's worth your time and effort. While there is no clear narrative, more than 20 cast members weave together various experiences along their Camino journey. There is adventure, love, even tragedy. They explore what it means to be free, as well as the thresholds and borders that we choose to cross or why we avoid them. Yet it is as much a personal, internal journey as an external one. This is a theatrical experience unlike any other. you go on a journey in order to find out why you went. Through camaraderie, introspection, and an eventful journey, this secular art pilgrimage reflects the spiritual goals of the original [Camino de Santiago].” - Josh Flanders

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"What a LIFE experience this production is!"   
-Amy Munice (Picture This Post) Highly Recommends 
Theatre Y's Camino Project

"This writer can assure you of several things—1) tour guide Eric is one heckuva engaging and charismatic actor and the entire cast does what it takes to keep you on the trail; 2) you will not be bored; 3) you will not go hungry; 4) you will never feel embarrassed or put on the spot; 5) you will likely enjoy getting to know the cast members whom you later break bread with along with fellow guests, just as you would on the Camino de Santiago and 6) you will have trouble believing you just spent six hours on this journey-- time delightfully flies by!"

"...If you can take a walk on a wilder side--in all senses-- in this writer’s view,
theater experiences don’t get better than this." 

"A dream come true."

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Chicago—Theatre Y proudly announces their first mobile performance, The Camino Project.  The Camino Project emerged from Theatre Y’s walk across Spain’s Camino de Santiago in 2017, a 500-mile pilgrimage route dating from the 9th century.  During this trek from the French border to Finisterre (Latin for “the end of the world”), we attempted to find in the ancient practices of walking and hospitality new possibilities of social life rooted in the fragility, care, and tempo of the body.  The Camino Project—a six-hour participatory experience—extends this investigation to Chicago audiences. Theatre Y has partnered with The Bureau of Transient Affairs and veteran European choreographers Dénes Döbrei and Heni Varga to create a performative travel guide that immerses attendees in a walk designed to prepare them for travels both physical and internal, real and imaginary, alone and in improvised community. 

Directed by Theatre Y Artistic Director Melissa Lorraine, Conceived by dramaturg Evan Hill, and featuring the 16-person Theatre Y Ensemble, The Camino Project combines a five-mile walk through Bucktown and Humboldt Park, a celebratory meal, and performative events that blend theater, dance, and performance art, The Camino Project is a thoroughly unique invention that challenges the confines of traditional spectatorship and asks audiences and performers alike to imagine how to be together beyond politics, beyond consumerism, and even beyond the theater itself.  

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Camino Project Opening Weekend Review:

"Dante, Cervantes, Homer, L. Frank Baum, and dramaturg Evan Hill have all contributed their talents to a 6-hour, free, peripatetic “project” by Theatre Y which starts on the iconic 606 then meanders through Humboldt Park, stops for a couple of hours at an artist collective—a pretty good facsimile of a Spanish albergue--for a memorable meal, wine, beer and good cheer, then ends where it began.


Without spoiler alert after spoiler alert: the audience—participants, let’s say—of thirty or so are expertly led by, and meet along the journey, the theater’s energy-charged young ensemble in ways that variously surprise, shock, delight and enlighten. Hill has created the piece in part to mimic the experience of the company—with its entourage of videographers, theater groupies and various hangers-on—as they completed the 500-mile, 1,000-year-old pilgrimage trail of the Camino de Santiago in 2017 with a performance each night along the route. Homer et. al. inform this five-mile walk, enriching and broadening the idea of travel on The Way—el Camino—which for some is a spiritual quest, for others a chance to indulge in a little philosophizing, and yet others a somewhat virtuous form of tourism.

Whatever, in the tradition of this enthusiastic, iconoclastic, avant-garde group, the whole thing is joyfully successful, a wonderful experience against the backdrop of Bucktown, and the pathways, ponds, lakes and surprisingly gorgeous flowerbeds of Humboldt Park. And, did I mention, it’s free?"
                                                                                                       - Robin Blench

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Choreographers Döbrei and Varga—both Serbians of Hungarian descent—founded their company, Nyári Mozi, in 1985 in order to unite multiethnic Yugoslavian artists in the Vojvodina region (now part of Serbia), and it has remained focused on bringing different cultures together. Both Mr. Debrei and Ms. Varga are adept at Lecoq style of physical theater and Butoh dance. They have trained and worked with Min Tanaka and have been long time collaborators with internationally acclaimed artist Josef Nadj.   They collaborated as choreographers with Theatre Y in 2013 on their first original work “The Binding”, and Lorraine has trained and performed with them in Europe on several occasions.

Döbrei and Varga walked a portion of the Camino with Theatre Y in 2017 and last summer the ensemble trained with them for one month to start laying down a physical vocabulary for this piece. They will return for the summer of 2019 to complete the work with experimental sound artist Kimberly Sutton (The Beautiful Days of Aranjuez), lighting designer Rachel Levy (Self-Accusation), set designer Henry Wilkinson (Self-Accusation) and costume designer Rebecca Hinsdale (Stories of the Body, Malaga, Self-Accusation) - nothing short of a dream team for what is easily Theatre Y's most ambitious project to date.


For nearly one thousand years pilgrims have walked approximately 15 miles per day for 33 days across northern Spain ending in the City of Santiago Compostela. In 2017, a group of 40 Theatre Y artists and volunteers walked the 500-mile pilgrimage to begin a theatrical investigation into the meaning of pilgrimage in today’s globalized society. After all, the origins of globalized culture lay along the medieval pilgrimage routes of Europe and the Middle East. Today, however, we are living in a time when the process of globalization is accelerated by climate change, multinational corporations, economic exploitation, and mass refugee migration.

Yet despite being so connected, our engagement with the wider world remains mediated by political ideologies and digital media.  In such a context, The Camino Project represents an attempt to return to pilgrimage as an old way to find new expressions of cohabitation. Inspired by the form of medieval mystery plays—which would take their audiences across the city en masse as an expression of civic and spiritual identity, in blend of theatrical entertainment and meditation—our ensemble will guide audiences to question on what grounds we can create a new collective identity in spite of our age of contradictions and uncertainties. 

Photo Credit: Joe Barabe

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In 2018 Theatre Y transitioned into a Free Theater to ensure that everyone is able to benefit from our programming.  This is maintained through a membership model that is similar to NPR.  Since 2018, every single Theatre Y offering has been open to the public for free to insist that Theatre isn't just another economic transaction but an opportunity to offer radical hospitality; a community experience created for meaningful face to face encounters.