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Friends of the Mill District Partners with Guthrie Theater and YouthLink to Introduce Young People to Acting

Article by Claudia Kittock

The Friends of the Mill District, in collaboration with the Guthrie Theater and YouthLink, will begin a pilot project on August 14. It is a 2-week intensive class on acting and other aspects of the theater. The culmination of this project will occur on August 24 at 7:30pm with a performance in the Guthrie's Dowling Studio.

The young people in this program will write and perform their own work. Each actor will play a significant role in the writing, performance, and even the naming of this group of actors. We are hoping that this pilot project will become a year-round class.

Rehearsals will be held on August 14, 15, 16, 17, 21, 22, 23 and 24 from 4-6:00pm on the 8th floor of the Guthrie. Transportation and meals will be provided by the Friends of the Mill District, with contributions from members of the community.

Jessica FinneyJessica Finney, teaching artist at the Guthrie, has been hired to serve as the director. Jess was a founder and Producing Director for Emigrant Theater (City Pages Best Independent Theater 2007), where she staged a number of plays. A strong supporter of new plays, she regularly directs workshops at the Playwrights’ Center. A frequent mentor for Pillsbury House Theatre’s Chicago Avenue Project, she has also worked on Pericles and A Christmas Carol (Guthrie). She is a member of the Lincoln Center Theatre Directors Lab and has trained with Augusto Boal. She has stage managed for the Jungle, Mixed Blood, Guthrie, and Park Square, among others. Jess recently earned her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and continues to use the arts as a tool for transformation while working with children, couples, and families.

We invite anyone who is interested to help Friends of the Mill District by providing meals for the actors.  Meals will be served at 6:00pm on each of the rehearsal dates, and we hope the person/s bringing food for that night will stay and enjoy dinner with the actors.  If interested, please contact Claudia Kittock at

Please reserve August 24 at 7:30pm to attend the performance. Tickets are free and will be available at the Guthrie box office.

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