A Word From Artistic Director, Tara Mallen


Our Dearest Friends,

What a scary and uncertain world we find ourselves in. Earlier this month at Rivendell we were poised to launch rehearsals for SPAY, Madison Fiedler’s beautiful, wrenching new play exploring the very real fallout from our nation’s opioid crisis.

We were gearing up for the Blue Jean Ball, crafting special programs to celebrate our 25th Anniversary. We were putting together artistic teams for our first Solo Voices workshop, planning a co-production with Chicago’s venerable Neo Futurists, and voraciously reading plays in advance of our 2021 season announcement.

That was just two weeks ago, before chaos landed on our collective doorstep.

Rivendell and our colleagues in the Chicago theatre community have been left with a fundamental question…how does a craft that’s rooted so deeply in the concept of gathering move forward at a time like this?  Yet somehow I cannot help but remain hopeful. This difficult time is helping me focus on what matters most, 
and is in many ways offering us the opportunity for an even deeper connection with one another.

After all, we are in this together.

Rivendell is officially postponing – not cancelling- both SPAY and this year’s Blue Jean Ball. We promise to provide you with updates as the situation evolves.
In the meantime, we are strategizing new ways to stay connected through innovative programming to be revealed in the coming weeks.

So for this moment, let’s stay resilient.  Before we know it, when we’re allowed to leave our homes, to congregate with others in a dark room, to tell stories and bear witness to stories being told…the theaters will re-open.

And we’ll be standing right there to welcome you back to Rivendell.

Be safe and be well,



Tara Mallen, Artistic Director
Rivendell Theatre Ensemble

P.S. Here are 25 kisses from our artistic family…celebrating 25 years of Rivendell and sending you love and solidarity from across the social distance.

Want to help artists right now? Here are a few suggestions…

1. Please don’t ask arts orgs to refund your tickets, donate them

2. Donate to any not-for-profit arts organization or purchase a “gift card” to use when their organization is back up and running

3. Donate to the Chicago Artist’s Relief Fund!




25th Anniversary Season: (EN) VISION: 2020

January 10 – February 16, 2020









A World Premiere by Meghan Brown
Directed by RTE member Devon de Mayo
Featuring RTE members Paula Ramirez and Eric Slater with Shariba Rivers, Daniella Peiera and Collin Quinn-Rice

With government leaders poisoned left and right, the Tasters have an important job—eating delicious gourmet meals and then waiting to see if they die. When rebellious Taster Elyse goes on hunger strike, she kicks off a series of events that will change the course of history while putting all of the Tasters’ lives in jeopardy.


April 24 – June 6, 2020






A World Premiere Madison Fiedler
Directed by RTE member Hallie Gordon

Featuring RTE members Rae Gray, Krystel McNeil and Artistic Director 
Tara Mallen with Sam Krey

Williamson, West Virginia has been aptly nicknamed Pilliamson as long as anyone there can remember, certainly since the Attridge family’s been around. The now-grown sisters have taken very different paths in the wake of their mother’s overdose. As Harper raises her sister’s child vowing to tread new ground, Noah opts for the old ways and finds herself in all-too-familiar territory.  This provocative world premiere by recent Northwestern grad Madison Fiedler takes an unblinking look at addiction, poverty, and the families our system has failed.  


September 24 – October 31, 2020









By Chloe Johnston, Sharon Greene, Genevra Gallo-Bayiates, Bilal Dardai and Andy Bayiates
A World Premiere in co-production with Chicago’s Neo-Futurists

45 Plays for America’s First Ladies leaps from comic to tragic as it surveys the lives of the women who have served (and avoided serving) as first lady—from Martha to Melania. A biographical, meta-theatrical, genre-bending ride through race, gender, and everything else your history teacher never taught you about the founding of America.



April 1 – 12, 2020









Curated by new RTE member Kristen Osborn, this workshop of solo voices features three one-woman performance pieces in development.
Projects will be announced soon.


Click each show below to learn more.

Rivendell Theatre Ensemble
Theatre: 5779 N. Ridge Avenue
Office: 5775 N. Ridge Avenue
Chicago, IL 60660


Copyright © 2020 Rivendell Theatre