Purple Crayon Players

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About Purple Crayon Players

Purple Crayon Players is a nationally recognized, award-winning theatre company comprised of Northwestern University students committed to producing professionally written plays for young audiences. Established in 2005, Purple Crayon received the 2006 “Best New Student Group” award. In the summer of 2010, Purple Crayon Players won the Winnifred Ward Outstanding New Children's Theatre Company Award from the American Alliance for Theatre and Education at their national conference in San Fransisco.

In addition to our mainstage season, Purple Crayon Players showcases Northwestern undergraduates' work with a diverse array of special projects that address different perspectives on or elements of TYA, drama, and education. Past special projects have included student-created adaptations such as Calvin and Hobbes and Shelebration, an adaptation of Shel Silverstein poems; educational workshops such as "HONK! If You Love Drama" and a series of devising workshops with El Cuarto Año school in Humbolt Park; as well as various storytelling events on campus.

Purple Crayon also offers opportunities for new work development with PLAYground, our annual festival of new plays for young audiences, written by professional and emerging playwrights and directed by student directors.

Every year, Purple Crayon's Winter Mainstage goes on tour to Chicagoland schools in the Spring. We bring the show and its accompanying workshop to elementary, middle and high schools, receiving valuable feedback and responses from students and teachers alike. Past tours have included The Phantom Tollbooth, Pinballs and Salt and Pepper. This coming Spring, Purple Crayon will be touring Lisa Loomer's Bocón!, a contemporary fable about finding one's voice in a difficult world.

Purple Crayon Players seeks to create thought-provoking, smart and entertaining theatre for young audiences as well as to provide opportunities for young people to further engage with theatre and understand themselves through workshops and other events. We believe theatre for young audiences is theatre for all audiences, and invite you to join us for our season of classic plays and risk-taking new projects.

Mission Statement

Purple Crayon Players is a student-run theatre company on the Northwestern University campus committed to creating high quality productions, events, and educational materials regarding all aspects of theatre for young audiences. Purple Crayon Players believes that audiences of all ages can appreciate, be inspired by, and grow through exposure to this unique art form.

We produce a mainstage season of professionally written works for young audiences, while also sponsoring high quality outreach events, educational events, and special projects for audiences of all ages both on campus and in the outlying community. These events support the mainstage season, as well as explore other aspects of theatre, community service, and learning.

Purple Crayon Players feels that making theatre more accessible, in large part through our touring show as well as through events during our season, is a necessary aspect of producing theatre for young audiences. We strive to include diverse opinions, cultures, events, and voices in our season in order to adequately reflect the diverse world that our audiences and artists come from.

Furthermore, we understand the importance of training the future leaders of the TYA field, and strive to provide Northwestern University students with opportunities to direct, produce, design, perform, teach, and explore new ways of expanding the field both on campus and at large.

2013-2014 Season

With Two Wings

"by Anne Negri"

Produced by Nick Raef

Directed by NIkki Rosengren

"Shanley Pavillion, November 2013"

The Transition of Doodle Pequeño

by Gabriel Jason Dean

Produced by Khari Shelton

Directed by Lindsay Amer

"February 27th-March 1st in the Louis Room at Northwestern University"

"Touring Chicago Schools Spring 2014"

Spring Projects

PLAYground: the 6th Annual Festival of Fresh Works

Early Spring 2013

"Theatre Stands With Autism"

"A Devised, Highly Interactive and Multi-Sensory Theatre Experience for Children on the Autism Spectrum

Shanley Pavillion, Spring 2014

2012-2013 Season

Purple Crayon Players is ecstatic to share with you our 2012/2013 season, which includes two full productions, our annual festival of new works, and a brand new special project for the spring.

This is Not a Pipe Dream

by Barry Kornhauser

Produced by Sally Lindel

Directed by Meg Lowey

Shanley Pavilion, November 2012

Mother Hicks

by Suzan Zeder

Produced by Lucy Ahlborn

Directed by Jacobi Alvarez

McCormick Auditorium, Winter 2013

Touring Chicagoland Schools Spring 2013

Spring Projects

PLAYground: The 5th Annual Festival of Fresh Works

Early Spring 2013

Theatre Stands With Autism

A Devised, Highly Interactive and Multi-Sensory Theatre Experience for Children on the Autism Spectrum

In collaboration with Autism Speaks U.

Shanley Pavilion, Spring 2013

Who Are We?

2013-2014 Executive Board

  • Executive Director: Juanita Anderson
  • Artistic Director: Alison Mahoney
  • Production Manager: Lucy Ahlborn
  • Business Manager: Drew Guerra
  • Outreach Coordinator: Katherine Scott
  • Literary Manager: Lisa Wiznitzer
  • Marketing Director: Emily Wills
  • Education Directors: Khari Shelton, Izzy Garcia, Nikki Resengren
  • Special Events: Nick Raef, Daphna Weinstock
  • Tour Managers: Sally Lindel, Rachel Leshin
  • Technical Director: Alex Goodman
  • Freshmen Board Representatives: Delaney Burlingame, Allie Hagen



Purple Crayon accepts submissions from professional playwrights for our annual new works festival, PLAYground, during the Winter. For more information on submitting your play, or to get involved, please contact us at purplecrayonplayers@gmail.com ATTN: PLAYground

Call for Teaching Artists

Purple Crayon provides creative drama workshops and/or other educational programming in conjunction with each of our main stage productions, as well as a monthly storytime at Evanston Public Library and numerous other short-term education projects. Fall 2010 saw the launch of our first ever high school internship program.

If you're interested in becoming a teaching artist with Purple Crayon, or being involved with our education projects, contact us at purplecrayonplayers@gmail.com ATTN: Education.

Contact Us

Wanna get involved? Have a couple questions? Want to bring our Spring Tour to your elementary or middle school? Please contact us at purplecrayonplayers@gmail.com any time! You can also call us at 847-859-9-TYA (847-859-9892) or reach us via snail mail at 1999 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208.


External Links

Purple Crayon Players Website

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