The American Writers Museum celebrates American writers through innovative, state-of-the-art exhibitions and compelling programming.
The influential settlement house offered job training, educational opportunities, and more to residents of Chicago's Near West Side. Hull-House's robust theatre program reflected founder Jane Addams's belief in art as a tool of empowerment. The theatre ran from 1889-2012 and now operates as a museum.
The Hull House originally ran as a settlement house, co-founded by Jane Addams and Elle Gates Starr. In 1899, Addams established an amateur theatre in the Hull House because she felt it benefitted the community to host productions and plays. Between the Greek and other European immigrants, plays of antiquity and productions of Shakespeare were put on as the theatre’s starting productions. Odysseus in Chicago launched the Hull House Theatre into prominence, as it was the first play that filled the auditorium with people of all backgrounds, neighbors, and coworkers, paying their full respects and attention to the performers and the establishment.
More than half a century later, in 1963, road tours of Broadway productions became more popular, and the Hull House Theatre was a venue for these plays, fostering the development of Chicago theatre companies to the current date. Bob Sickinger, considered the founder of Chicago’s theatre scene, nurtured this environment for young talent, which has noted roots in the Hull House Theatre, even having renowned Viola Spolin as an improvisational techniques instructor.