In a recent and saddening press statement, Chicago’s Redmoon Theatre announced that, due to funding problems, it would be closing its doors for good. This news proved shocking for longtime patrons of the theater, which has been open for 25 years and specialized in offering “out there” art to the public. It was a special, highly unique kind of place and drew in both locals and tourists alike. Most feel that there was never another theater like Redmoon and that, quite sadly, there never will be.
The Redmoon Theater’s (now former) artistic director explained that the goal of the theater wasn’t to turn a profit but instead to provide something new and different to people in and around the Chicago area. And, indeed, the theater, in its time, did just that.
It was, for example, the producer of Chicago’s famed “Fire Festival,” which, in 2015, brought together 50,000 young people and gave them opportunities to participate in arts activities. The most recent event, held at Northerly Island, was truly spectacular and highly attended. And what’s even more spectacular is the hosting theater’s long and rich history.
The Redmoon Theatre got its start as a puppet theater and, over the years, evolved into so much more. It contracted with thousands upon thousands of varied artists to bring free art to the people of Chicago. Unfortunately, though, its efforts proved to be so over-the-top that the theatre eventually lost its non-profit status and funding.
While many are sad and mourning the loss of this city icon, its artistic director and others who have long pasts with the theater are taking the loss in stride. They are proud of how far the theater was able to come in its many years and feel that they are leaving behind a great legacy of many memories and many lives touched.
And while the theater’s doors may be permanently closed, its website, at least for now remains up, featuring a heartfelt goodbye message to all the people who supported and enjoyed its presence over the years.
Its farewell message highlights the fact that Redmoon was able to work in more than 40 Chicago neighborhoods, including many underfunded and often overlooked neighborhoods, and to serve the people of Chicago for a whole quarter of a century. The farewell message ends with several pictures of the theater’s many ventures and accomplishments over the years and does not allude to any plans to reopen in the future. It does, however, invite those with fond memories of Redmoon to share them on the former venue’s social media pages so that all can share in the joy that was once this wonderful theater.
Now, all that Chicago residents can do is sit back and wait. They can wait to see what will fill the spot once held by Redmoon, knowing all the while, that nothing can truly fill the empty spot that is left in all of their hearts and in the heart of the city itself.