Community Created Performances

Photos by Todd Rosenberg and Jaclyn Simpson

Meet the Winners!

Congratulations to the 2017 Chicago Voices Community Created Performances winners. Get to know more about this year's finalists and follow along here as they create and develop their original music theater work for the stage!

You can get an in-depth, behind the scenes look at the creative process as the Community Created Performance stories unfold on our blog!

Stay in tune: Join the Mailing List

Play Video - CCP2017_BluRhythm

Blu Rhythm Collective

Blu Rhythm Collective

Blu Rhythm Collective is a group of Chicago urban artists pushing the boundaries of original live theater using a mix of artforms to focus on some of the city’s hardest-hitting topics. Its members are a direct reflection of Chicago and its various neighborhoods. Blu Rhythm looks to illuminate one of Chicago’s biggest issues by providing insight into the lives of young Chicagoans from these marginalized communities and their struggle to overcome the challenges of violence in order to succeed.

Play Video - CCP2017_KumbaLynx

Kuumba Lynx

Kuumba Lynx

Kuumba Lynx is a youth development art making organization that utilizes urban arts to cultivate strong communities built on a foundation of love. Members come from different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. The group strives to use Hip Hop as a means to mentor, motivate, and inspire artists to produce, share, and publish meaningful works of art. The group members see the making of an original music theater work as an opportunity to shift the perceptions of Chicago youth and their communities by telling their own stories rather than have them told by someone else.

Play Video - CCP2017_YOLOBoomers

YOLO Boomers

YOLO Boomers

YOLO Boomers is a group of Northcenter Chicago seniors actively engaged in different forms of creative expression including writing and improvisational acting. The group hopes to use the collective, personal stories of its members spanning decades to bust negative stereotypes associated with age. This group intends to demonstrate what it truly means to be an active senior in Chicago.

Community Created Performances

Hear the stories that define Chicago through Community Created Performances. Community groups across Chicago create original music theater works about then untold stories of their communities. Get an in-depth, behind the scenes look at the creative process as the Community Created Performance stories unfold on our blog!



Community groups across the city had the opportunity to submit applications telling the untold stories of their community.

Semifinalists Selected

Early February 2017: After all applications were received they were then reviewed by an independent panel of Chicago Public Library employees who selected eight groups to advance to the semifinal round.

Public Voting

March 2017: Video profiles for each semifinalist group was posted on the Chicago Voices website. The public then had the opportunity to view all of the semifinalists' profiles and vote for the stories that they want to see presented on the stage.

Finalists Selected

April 2017: The three semifinalist groups who received the highest number of votes advance to the final round. These finalist groups will be assigned an animateur (facilitator) who works closely with them to develop their concept into an original music theater work.

Creative Development

June thru September, 2017: The three groups selected as finalists will undertake a 16 week creative process. Supported by their animateur and a team of professional artists, they will develop an original script and songs in a musical style of their choice into a fully-staged production of their story. The process culminates in a performance of all three finalists works. You can follow along with the development process and watch as these stories unfold through our online blog.

Read Again

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Community Created Performances?

Community Created Performances are original music theater works created and performed by community groups using the core elements of opera: storytelling through song.

Chicagoans, regardless of background or experience, were invited to submit unique, untold stories from and of their communities. Applications are reviewed by an independent, community-based panel and up to 10 applicant groups are selected to be featured in individual video profiles on the Chicago Voices website. The public then views the videos and votes for the stories found to be most compelling. 

The top three groups with the most votes create and develop their original work, driven by the participants and supported by Lyric Opera professional artists and staff. Working closely with these professionals, the groups each create and develop original scripts, songs, and production elements for the performances, and take part in the culminating final performance of these works.

How do I see a performance?

All performances will be free and open to the public. Sign up for our mailing list or visit our website frequently to hear about the different performances.

How can I vote?

Voting for the 2017 winners is closed. Follow their journey as they develop their stories for the stage at

Community Created Performances Partner