Northwestern Opens Hub for MFA Theatre and Media Programs on Chicago Campus

Northwestern University’s School of Communication has expanded its footprint in Chicago with a state-of-the-arts facility designed to support a unique combination of performance, instruction and collaboration.  Named for Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz (’24), a generous patron of the arts, the new facility will allow Northwestern to expand its MFA programs and serve as a hub for collaboration between the school’s theatre, radio/TV/film programs and the Chicago arts scene.

Wirtz Center Chicago also will further the School’s DEI initiatives by allowing for synergies between the school’s Open Television project, MFA Acting program and the Black Arts Consortium. The 24,000 square foot space contains multiuse black box spaces (one equipped for film screenings), a lobby and gallery space, teaching studios, a computer lab, a design studio, a green room and administrative offices. Wirtz Chicago will provide a space for classes, performances and projects of the MFA programs in acting, stage design, directing, sound arts and industries, documentary media and writing for the screen and stage.

Dedicated and fully operational as of September 2021, the first collaboration in the space will be the Oct. 23-24 co-presentation of “Native Guard” by Alliance Theatre in Atlanta. A collaboration between the Wirtz Center, Poetry Foundation and Black Arts Consortium, the event signals the advent of future academic and professional arts partnerships to come.

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