16th Street Theater was created in 2007 to be a theater for people not going to the theater. The theater serves and gives voice to all in Berwyn’s community: not just for some in our community, but for all. Dedicated to artistic excellence, professionalism, diversity and affordability, 16th Street exists to encourage debate, discussion and compassion amongst the community through the medium of intimate and diverse theater with the playwright as its central focus. 16th Street is a place where audiences are invited to experience not only their own stories, but to experience their neighbors’ stories and stories of “the other.”
16th Street Theater first came to A&BC in 2011 through the Chicago Community Trust’s SMART Growth program. The organization worked with a consultant on a self-assessment to identify areas of need around organizational management. After becoming an A&BC client in 2013, 16th Street was quick to participate in our On BOARD training and matching program in 2013, 2014 and 2016. Former Board Secretary Ray Mees matched with 16th Street through On BOARD in 2014 and according to Managing Director Maeli Goren, “served as a strong ambassador and advocate for 16th Street Theater, empowered by all he had learned through the program.” The organization also matched with Bill Corbett in 2016 and cultivated a relationship with another board candidate. While this candidate joined a different board, she has volunteered to serve on a committee, became a subscriber and plans to run for board membership in the future. “We are grateful to have these arts enthusiasts and leaders as members of our community”, states Goren.
Most recently, the organization participated in a series of Board Labs funded in collaboration with the Driehaus Foundation. Goren describes their experience in this program: “Through the Board Labs series, we learned valuable strategies for board growth and development, streamlining the processes for recruiting and taking on new members, increasing contributed revenue, and adding JOY back into board meetings. We left each session with a handful of new resources and tools that inspired us to charge ahead.” This program also entailed having A&BC consultant Stuart Jamieson serve as their coach throughout the program and they developed a great relationship with him that extended past the project.