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Chicago Loop Alliance announces 6th ACTIVATE season, 'Backstage,' celebrating Year of Chicago Theatre

Posted  4 years ago

Press contact: Jessica Cabe | PR and Communications Manager, Chicago Loop Alliance jessica@chicagoloopalliance.com | 312-782-9160


CHICAGO—Chicago Loop Alliance (CLA) announces the 2019 season of ACTIVATE: Backstage, with events to take place 5-10 p.m. on June 6, July 18, Aug. 22 and Sept. 26 in an unexpected, urban setting: alleys—including alleys behind the Loop’s greatest theaters. More details and locations for each event will be announced as the dates draw near. Guests who RSVP in advance will receive a complimentary drink ticket for beer, wine or a cocktail at the event, with additional beverages available for purchase onsite. Updates can be found at www.loopchicago.com/activate.

ACTIVATE is a popular annual series of pop-up arts programs launched in 2014 that transform alleys and other unexpected places into creative exhibition spaces. This is the sixth annual ACTIVATE season, and this year it aligns with the City of Chicago’s Year of Chicago Theatre. ACTIVATE: Backstage will celebrate the role theater has played in the Loop’s success. In addition to the kind of art installations ACTIVATE attendees have come to expect, the events will include even more pop-up performances, audience participation, stagecraft and set design.

Chicago Loop Alliance will team up with a different curator for each event to highlight a new aspect of the performing arts, covering drag, lighting and stage design, circus arts, and comedy. Curators this season are Missy Perkins and Roe Melloe, Miss Alex White, SONIDOS, and Hot Kitchen.

“Chicago Loop Alliance has supported the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events’ ‘Year of’ initiatives in the past by partnering on banner takeovers of State Street, but this is the first time we’re dedicating our ACTIVATE season to this initiative,” said Michael Edwards, President and CEO of Chicago Loop Alliance. “That is because we see every day what a huge impact theater has on making the Loop a vibrant destination for residents and visitors alike—our 2018 Arts in the Loop Economic Impact Study proves it. ACTIVATE has always been about transforming unexpected urban spaces with art. This year, we’re putting a special emphasis on the performing arts to celebrate the role they play in this city’s vitality.”

ACTIVATE sponsors include: Presenting Sponsor School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Street Saviors Lagunitas, White Claw, PNC and CH Distillery; and Pop-up Partner Topo Chico.


ACTIVATE is a series of pop-up arts programs that encourage visitors to see the Loop anew. The event series transforms alleys and other urban locations into creative exhibition spaces that bring artists and the public together for an evening of exploration, interaction and celebration of the arts. Chicago Loop Alliance launched the placemaking initiative in 2014, making the 2019 season its sixth annual. Over the past five seasons, ACTIVATE has generated $2.7 million in estimated economic impact to Loop businesses, with nearly $400,000 in 2018 alone. More than 73,000 people have attended ACTIVATE over the course of the series. Through CLA’s “Linger Longer” program, coupon books featuring exclusive offers and promotions from member businesses will be handed out to ACTIVATE attendees to drive economic development. For more information, please visit www.loopchicago.com/activate.

About Chicago Loop Alliance

Chicago Loop Alliance (CLA), the sole service provider for Special Service Area#1-2015, creates, manages and promotes high-performing urban experiences, attracting people and investment to the Loop. For more information, please visit www.loopchicago.com.

About Year of Chicago Theatre

Chicago Loop Alliance is proud to be part of the 2019 Year of Chicago Theatre, presented by the City of Chicago and the League of Chicago Theatres. To truly fall in love with Chicago, you must go to our theatres. This is where the city bares its fearless soul. Home to a community of creators, risk-takers, and big hearts, Chicago theatre is a hotbed for exciting new work and hundreds of world premieres every year. From Broadway musicals to storefront plays and improv, there’s always a seat waiting for you at one of our 200+ theatres. Book your next show today at www.chicagoplays.com.