Our History

Eclipse Theatre Company was founded in 1992 when a group of theatre artists came together and asked "what if?" That "what if" evolved into the collaborative event Halfway Content. Through this initial collaboration, Eclipse Theatre Company was born. In early 1993, Eclipse mounted its second show entitled An Interest in Strangers by John Schneider and Theatre X, directed by James Ostholthoff. In the summer of 1993, Eclipse co-produced Xenogenesis by Stephan Serpas with Chilany Pictures to finish our first season. This production garnered two Joseph Jefferson Awards. Our second season in 1993-94 gave us critically acclaimed productions of Machinal by Sophie Treadwell; Exit the King by Eugene Ionesco and another co-production with Chilany, Dogtown by Stephan Serpas. Dogtown won a Joseph Jefferson Award. We also began our association with The Around the Coyote Festival as well as inaugurated our off-night series with Porcelain by Chay Yew, which won an After Dark Award for Best Director.

Our third season in 1994-95 contained productions of Pains of Youth by Ferdinand Bruckner, a world premiere of another Stephan Serpas play, Green Air; and Bold Girls by Rona Munro. Eclipse also produced in 1995-96 Darkside by Ken Jones; The Napoleanade by Trevor Anthony and Thomas McCarty; and A Summer's Day by Slawomir Mrozeck.

In 1997, Eclipse underwent a rebuilding phase and developed a new mission statement to stay competitive in the vast Chicago theatre market. The new ensemble members of Eclipse modeled a mission statement after that of Signature Theatre Company in New York to focus on the works of one playwright in one single season. This new mission allowed Eclipse to carve its own niche in the Chicago theatre scene and present a unique perspective on a playwright's works.

Since the inception of our one playwright-one season mission, playwrights whose works have been featured with Eclipse include:

  • 1997-1998 - Jean Cocteau
  • 1999 - Tennessee Williams
  • 2000 - Lillian Hellman
  • 2001 - Romulus Linney
  • 2002 - John Guare
  • 2003 - Neil Simon
  • 2004 - Keith Reddin
  • 2005 - Lanford Wilson
  • 2006 - Rebecca Gilman
  • 2007 - Pearl Cleage
  • 2008 - The Celebration Season: Williams, Simon and Hellman
  • 2009 - The Celebration Season II: Gilman, Cleage, Guare, and Linney
  • 2010 - Arthur Miller
  • 2011 - Naomi Wallace
  • 2012 - Eugene O'Neill
  • 2013 - Alan Ayckbourn
  • 2014 - Lynn Nottage
  • 2015 - Terrence McNally
  • 2016 - Stephen Adly Guirgis
  • 2017 - Kia Corthron

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