Theatre is already a vibrant part of Chicago’s cultural scene. And now the city is getting a whole year dedicated to it. The Year of Chicago Theatre will officially kick off on Feb. 11 at 6 p.m. at the Chicago Cultural Center.

The event, dubbed “It’s Showtime Chicago”, will take over the historic building with an immersive and inspiring look at the city’s theatre scene, with interactive performances, live music, youth project showcases and more.

Free and open to the public, the event will include several local artists and theatre companies, including The Second City, Walkabout Theater Company, Free Street Theater, Chicago Youth TheatreFest, and the Chicago Children’s Choir.

The event is being held in conjunction with the 7th annual Chicago Theatre Week, taking place Feb. 7 – 17. Chicago Theatre Week offers discounted tickets to more than 100 productions so residents and visitors can sample the extraordinary range of Chicago’s theatre scene.

About the Year of Chicago Theatre

The Year of Chicago Theatre, the first initiative of its kind in the nation, is a citywide celebration of Chicago’s vibrant theatre community with performances, free events, and special exhibits throughout the year.

Planned events include a collaboration with the popular Millennium Park Summer Film Series, which fills Jay Pritzker Pavilion on Tuesday evenings from June through August. This year, local theatre groups will select the films; a full schedule is coming soon.

There are also two special exhibits planned at the Chicago Cultural Center. The first will showcase a legendary production with local ties. Chicago, the longest-running American musical in Broadway history, is brought to life with rare artifacts documenting the show’s evolution and the tale of the real crimes the story is based on. The exhibit is now open.

The second exhibit will pay homage to Chicago-based Goat Island, a groundbreaking performance group. In honor of the Year of Chicago Theatre, nine national and international artists and groups have been commissioned to develop and present an original piece inspired by one of Goat Island’s original performances. The full exhibit will open March 30, with some performances beginning on Feb. 1.

For more information about the Year of Chicago Theatre, visit