Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Walkabout 2015 Coming this Fall

There have been many requests about this year's Walkabout: Theater on Your Feet. There currently are plans to develop a Walkabout for this Fall as part of the Something Wicked event that runs during the month of October at Side Street Studio Arts. Stay tuned for further updates.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Janus Theater Loads the Bases for the 7th Walkabout: Theater on Your Feet

Janus Theater Company will load the bases when it presents this year’s Walkabout: Theater on Your Feet. The theme for this year’s event will be about America’s national pastime. Walkabout 2014: Bases Loaded will run in downtown Elgin on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, August 8, 9, and 10. This year will continue to feature evening and matinee performances throughout the weekend. Tour guides will lead groups of people to downtown locations where they will see the plays performed.  The event is sponsored by the Janus Theater Company along with Elgin Public House, Side Studio Arts, Al’s Café and Blue Box Café partnering on the project.

What’s New this year?
“It’s the year of hot dogs, peanuts and baseball,” said Walkabout creator and Janus Theater Artistic Director Sean Hargadon. “All the plays feature the theme of baseball; its nostalgia, controversy, comedy and power to bring people together.” This year’s Walkabout will feature one new location: Blue Box Café. “Blue Box is new to the Elgin eatery scene and features a décor that is reminiscent of the television show Doctor Who,” said Hargadon. “Each location on the Walkabout will be adapted to fit the play,” added Hargadon. Another innovation that will continue from last year is the addition of evening performances on Friday and Saturday night.

Who’s participating?
The Janus Theater Company will perform all of the plays at the various spaces throughout downtown Elgin this year. “Each piece is a comedy but all have a different tone,” said Hargadon. “Some are nostalgic, controversial, and heartfelt. This selection of plays explores in a fun way how baseball is part of our everyday lives in a variety of situations,” added Hargadon.

What’s coming back this year?
Elgin Public House will be Walkabout Headquarters and act as the starting spot for all tours. Al’s Café will be the final destination of Walkabout this year, where they will once again provide complimentary mini-malts, which has become an annual Walkabout tradition. There will also be a very limited amount of free Walkabout t-shirts available to people who attend the event. Free water will be available as well.

When are the dates and times?
Evening tours run Friday and Saturday, August 8 and 9, starting at 7 p.m. (tours approximately every 15 minutes until 8:00 p.m.).  Day tours run Saturday and Sunday, August 9 and 10 at 2 p.m. (tours approximately every 15 minutes until 3:00 p.m.). 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Walkabout Presents Jumpers, Thieves, Cops & Spies

The Janus Theater Company presents the sixth Walkabout: Theater on your Feet in downtown Elgin, running Friday, Saturday and Sunday, August 2, 3, and 4.

This year, select plays will be featured, along with additional evening performances. Tour guides will lead groups of people to downtown locations where they will see the plays performed.  The event is sponsored by the Janus Theater Company along with Elgin Public House, Side Studio Arts, Al’s Café and Chooch’s Pizza partnering on the project. The event will run in conjunction with the City of Elgin’s Art & Soul festival in downtown Elgin.

What’s New this year?
“It’s the year of James Bond, copes and spies,” said Walkabout creator and Janus Theater Artistic Director Sean Hargadon. “All the plays bring a touch of fun to genres featuring double-agents, good cop and bad cop and art thieves.”

This year’s Walkabout will feature two new locations: Chooch’s Pizzeria and Side Street Studio Arts. “Both locations recently opened in downtown Elgin and are quickly becoming part of Elgin’s cultural and dining landscape,” said Hargadon. “These locations will be adapted to enhance the plays. Actors will perform in spaces designed to look like an interrogation room, art gallery, building ledge and café,” added Hargadon. Another innovation from last year will be adding evening performances on Friday and Saturday night.

Who’s participating?
The Janus Theater Company will perform all of the plays at the various spaces throughout downtown Elgin this year. “Each piece is different but they are all comedies,” said Hargadon. “After exploring the dark side of Poe last year, we decided to lighten things up a bit.”

What’s coming back this year?
Elgin Public House will be Walkabout Headquarters and act as the starting spot for all tours. Al’s Café will be the final destination of Walkabout this year, where they will once again provide complimentary malts, which is something they’ve been doing since Walkabout began. There will also be a very limited amount of free Walkabout t-shirts available to people who attend the event. Free water will be available as well.

When are the dates and times?
Evening tours run Friday and Saturday, August 2 and 3, starting at 7 p.m. (tours approximately every 15 minutes until 8:00 p.m.).  Day tours run Saturday and Sunday, August 3 and 4 at 2 p.m. (tours approximately every 15 minutes until 3:00 p.m.).  

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Elgin Theater Scene On The Street - Daily Herald story

Here's a nice piece from the Daily Herald. Will be in papers tomorrow, but here's a sneak peak.

Elgin theater scene out on the street


The Elgin Cultural Arts Commission will continue to defy standard theater conventions with its fourth annual Walkabout: Theater on Your Feet these next few weekends.

The event runs on Saturdays, July 16, 23 and 30, in downtown Elgin, where the audience will see one play take over various downtown locations and immerse Elgin in the story.

Sylvia Grady, Elgin Cultural Arts Commission liaison, said Walkabout was started years ago as an opportunity to showcase all Elgin arts had to offer.

“We were trying to do some things to bring all our arts departments together,” Grady said. “Since then, they have only grown in size, more and more people are involved, and each year they become more different and unique.”

Sean Hargadon, producer and creator of Walkabout, said to expect the unexpected with this year’s shows.

“Each year, we try to add a twist for the audience,” Hargadon said. The play has been broken into three acts with three different theater troupes advancing the story.

The show starts in the Elgin Public House Restaurant and Pub, 219 E. Chicago St.; from there, attendees visit other downtown locations, where theater is presented in nontraditional spaces.

It gives audience members a chance to discover downtown Elgin if they haven’t done so before, as well as experience an Elgin summer...

Read more at  http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20110714/news/707149902/

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Walkabout Story in the Sun Times

Here's a nice piece in the Sun Times. The only correction I have is that Nothing Special Productions will be the last act performing, coming right after the Guild Theater. Check it out.

Walkabout theater fest is back in Elgin


By Annie Alleman

For Sun-Times Media

Last Modified: Jul 7, 2011 11:28AM

Instead of three or four different plays at different venues, this year’s Walkabout: Theater on Your Feet will have the same play, performed by different actors in different venues.
The fourth annual event, presented by the Elgin Cultural Arts Commission, runs July 16, 23 and 30. The starting location is the Elgin Public House, 219 East Chicago St., Elgin.

This year’s theme is The ‘Art’ of Friendship, and will feature the Tony award-winning comedy “Art” by Yasmina Reza. Tickets cost $15 and are available by cash only at the door.

Beginning at 1 p.m. and with groups leaving about every 20 minutes until 2:20 p.m., tour guides will lead groups of people to three downtown Elgin locations: the Elgin Art Showcase, Ravenheart Café and Villa Verone. There they will see one play performed by three different theater companies: the Janus Theatre, Nothing Special Productions and Guild Theater.

The play is broken into three acts, with the first company taking the first act, until the play reaches its dramatic conclusion, said Walkabout creator Sean Hargadon. To read more, click on the lick:
http://beaconnews.suntimes.com/entertainment/6266518-421/walkabout-theater-fest-is-back-in-elgin.html

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Walkabout Gets A New Idea

Last week we had the opportunity to test out a new idea.

This year's Walkabout is different because we decided to take one play - "Art" by Yasmina Reza - break it up into three acts and then have three separate theater companies perform one act of the play at different downtown Elgin locations, like Villa Verone, Elgin Art Showcase and Ravenheart Cafe.

We'll still be starting at Elgin Public House (pictured) and finishing up at Al's Cafe for those classic malts.

But what's interesting about all of this would be that the actors would change from venue to venue, so while the characters would stay the same - Marc, Serge , Yvan - they would be played by different people. To further add interest, we decided to have the actors grow younger as the play progressed forward until its climatic comic conclusion.

If it appears like we're playing with time and space, like something out of the recent movies Start Trek or Inception, you'd be right. Honestly, that's a great part of the fun when producing an event like Walkabout - you can experiment and try out different things.

So far, the experiment seems to be working. But not like I expected. We had all three theater companies come in and perform their "acts" from the play. We conducted a rough run-through from front to back and the results were interesting and fun.
To be continued....

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The 'Art' of Friendship - Walkabout is Back

We're back. And we're a little early this year, but we want to be sure to get the word out, because this year we'll be adding something new to Walkabout.

This year's theme is The ‘Art’ of Friendship, and you'll be able to see one play performed by three different theater companies. The characters will stay the same, but the actors will change as the play reaches its climatic conclusion. There will be performances by the Guild Theater, Janus Theatre Company and Nothing Special Productions.

The play to be presented will be that perennial hit and Tony Award winner Art by Yasmina Reza that asks the question: What would you do if your best friend purchased a white painting for $200,000? Would you laugh? Would you cry? Or would you smack him in the mouth? Find out what happens as this comedy about friendship gets put to the test by a piece of art.

We also plan on having artwork on display at the venues by local artists Carl Brahms, Chuck Cassell, Craig Dresang, Natalie Shadel and Edward Zach.

And what kind of Walkabout would it be without those wonderful Al’s Café malts at the end of the tour.

There will be more updates as we get closer, but here is the basic information.
SHOW DATES: Saturdays, July 16, 23 and 30

STARTING AT: Elgin Public House, 219 East Chicago Street, Elgin

TIME: 1 pm with tours approximately every 20 minutes until 2:20 pm.

TICKETS: $15. Cash only at the door.

To make reservations, please call 847-841-1713.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

More Points Of View

Yesterday was another excellent day for Walkabout.

We had to add a tour to accommodate demand and the weather was perfect. We've also been receiving some interesting comments about the "Hidden Places, Found Spaces" theme with many people not realizing all the history they pass by on the tour.

On the flipside, some people find the new look a little rugged and a bit gritty. But isn't that the point? Pardon my editorial, but sometimes there's a certain rough perfection and beauty in things left to the elements and time. And that's what this year's Walkabout represents: finding lively moments in spaces that time has left behind.

On the other hand, yesterday's Walkabout success was dampened by the fact that downtown Elgin, at times, felt like an abandoned Hollywood back lot. Aside from the Walkabout tours, it was quiet. It was like we were playing on set built for a movie like "Hoffa" or "Road to Perdition". As exciting as that can be, it appears there is more work to be done to get more people downtown. On the positive side, many people participating yesterday were not from Elgin. In fact, a couple tours were made up solely of people not from Elgin. That's encouraging.

In any case, here's some more photos of more of the groups in action. Photos are by John Congram.

"The Snafu" presented by Nothing Special Productions
"One Crisp Spring Morning" presented by Janus Theatre Company


"A Play Starring No One" presented by Envision Theatre

Thursday, August 5, 2010

From A Certian Point Of View

The opening weekend of Walkabout was excellent. By far, it was the best opening we ever had with the most people in attendance for a first Saturday. I'm sure part of that was due to the wonderful Art & Soul show in DuPage Court.

It was overcast, but that was a good thing. Everything was nice and cool.

The route was smooth and fast, clocking in at less than 80 minutes. The spaces were very interesting. And the plays - from what I was told - were excellent. In fact, someone told me that this was the best overall Walkabout in terms of quality theater across the board. Gotta like that.

So here's some images from last Saturday. Take a look and see what you might be missing.
Photos are by John Congram.

"The Oracle" performed by the Great American Artistic Consortium

"One For The Books" performed by the Vex Theatre

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sights Unseen

So we sat down and decided that we wanted to change things up this year.

Previous Walkabouts had various groups playing at different venues. But this year, we thought we would take the shows outside. Adding to that, we thought it would be cool to reveal some of Elgin's past on the tour, beyond the usual historically significant old building.

Even with all the construction that has taken place downtown, there is still a lot of old Elgin waiting to be discovered. The truth is, anywhere you walk downtown, there is usually a story lying right beneath your feet. With that in mind, the theme for this year became "Hidden Places, Found Spaces".

Take a look at the picture above. Does it look familiar? It's right next to a popular place in downtown Elgin where the wine always flows. When we scouted out sites, this place jumped out at us. It's like something out of French new wave black and white movie from the 60's. I don't want to give away too much, but this small sign is attached to an enormous old building that was once used as a place to repair old railroad engines.

And that's how it started. We deliberately sought out places that seemed to fall off the radar.

We'll feature more spaces in the coming days, but the real mind trip is when you take the walk. You see lots  of things that feel like they're from another time. And our plan is to inject some new life, even if its only a brief encounter in a dusty place.