Barrel of Monkeys company members performing during Celebration of Authors

PlayMakers Laboratory holds Annual Auditions in January

PlayMakers Laboratory (PML) is an arts education nonprofit that teaches creative writing in Chicago elementary schools and then brings students’ stories to life on stage. PML is a community of approximately 60 passionate actor-educators who value the creative voices of young people, teaching both during school hours and in after-school settings. Performers adapt the stories written by our students into sketches, songs, and poems, which are then performed for the school community as well as for the public. PML is seeking actor-educators of all ages, ethnicities, sexual orientations, gender identities, abilities, and silhouettes who have great collaborative skills, improvisation abilities, and a passion for working with and performing for youth.

Ideal candidates have experience in sketch, musical theatre, directing and/or devising original work. They are skilled teaching artists and have experience working in schools, with young people, and performing throughout the city.

PlayMakers Laboratory is an equal opportunity employer.

PlayMakers Laboratory is especially seeking performers who reflect the cultural backgrounds of the students we serve, who are primarily Black and Latino students on the South and West sides of Chicago. We are also seeking musicians who can underscore and adapt student stories into musical numbers. Fluency in Spanish is also highly desirable.

Above all, we are looking for artists who are passionate about the work we do and the young people with whom we collaborate.

Category: Non Equity

Expectations: Artistic Associates who are cast are expected to perform in 2 to 4 school-based shows during the 2023 school year; in addition we ask that artistic associates become oriented with our in-school curriculum, so that they can participate in teaching opportunities as they arise. After an Artistic Associate fulfills these expectations for one school year, they may become candidates for Company Membership.

Pay for Performance:  $300/show (pay reflects 18hrs of rehearsal and a single final in-person performance at an elementary school to conclude a PML residency);

Pay for Teaching: on average $560/residency (pay reflects competitive hourly rates for teaching and varies depending partnership)

Audition Details
Auditions will be held virtually on Wednesday, January 18, 2023 - 7-9pm and Thursday, January 19, 2023 - 7-9pm.

Each auditioner will be assigned a 5 minute individual slot. Candidates who are only interested in performance will get a 5 minute slot. Candidates interested in performance and teaching artist work with PlayMakers will get a 10 minute slot, to include a brief interview of your teaching artist work and experience.

General Callbacks will be held on Monday, January 23, 2023 - 6-9pm in TBD location. If you are called back you will be invited to attend a 2.5-hour group callback slot. Callbacks will include some light improv and devising adaptations of student stories. Additionally musicians will do a skills assessment with our music director; and teaching artists will participate in & lead sample lessons.

Orientation for newly cast Artistic Associates will be held on February 6 from 6-9pm.

*If you are unavailable for any of these times, we may be able to schedule an alternate audition or callback slot. We are also able to accommodate video submissions upon request.

To sign up for an audition slot, please email with your full name as the subject line, and include the following:
-Your head shot or photo, attached
-Your performance/artistic resume, attached (if applicable)
-A resume or description of your history of working as a teaching artist and/or working with young people, attached (if applicable)
-Information about any and all instruments you play
-Information about Spanish language proficiency

What to prepare:
ALL Auditioners: You will have 5 minutes to present 2 solo performance pieces of your choosing. Please come prepared to demonstrate your range of talents. You can perform a monologue, tell a story, sing, dance, rap, mime, perform stand-up, spoken word, lead a short classroom activity, or incorporate any other element that shows off your skills as a teacher/artist. Be creative and show us your best work!

*Musicians: If you are a musician we would like you to prepare a short song for one of your solo performance pieces. Please prepare a short original musical performance piece adapted from a student-written PML story of your choosing. Stories can be found here on our website’s story archive. Musicians can feel free to play any instrument (only a keyboard is provided) or a prerecorded track.



“I'll miss you guys so much, you made me start to love writing. I'll keep this notebook forever.”

–Marquisha, 5th grade, Chalmers Elementary