Past Event

Sub-Prime Youth: Written and Performed by Free Street Theater Youth Ensemble

2008 saw foreclosures in the Chicago area rise nearly 40%. And as of yet, none of the bailout money has been directly marked for homeowners.

Join us for a special presentation of the play Sub-Prime Youth, an ensemble created performance piece developed and performed by teens in the Free Street Theater ensemble. This creative reaction to the current economic crisis and rise in foreclosures is about a group of first generation Mexican-American youth who find protection from the collapsing American Dream by inventing a cynical reality.  The play weaves the brutal realism of one Mexican-American family facing foreclosure with the emotional surreal music of the Muses of Destruction.

After the play, there will be a discussion with ensemble cast members and panelists Ruben D. Feliciano, Latino Policy Forum’s Housing Policy Analyst, Ron Bieganski, Free Street Theater Artistic Director, and Anita Evans, Free Street Theater Creative Director. They will explore Free Street’s creative process of engagement and, more generally, the impact of foreclosures on the immigrant community in Chicago.

This event is free and open to the public. Space is limited, reservations are required and will be taken on a first come, first serve basis. Reservations can be made online, by email at, or by calling 312.422.5580.

Sub-Prime Youth was written by teens in the Free Street Theater ensemble.
Director: Ron Bieganski.
Assistant Director: Anita Evans               
Ensemble: Dina Ahmetspahic, Cheryl Doyle, Ashley Echevarria, Giovanni Gonzalez, Karina Gonzalez, Ashley Johnson, Abraham Mendoza, Chiagoziem Nwakanma, Celina Rivera, and Petra Samardzija.

More about our panelists

Ron Bieganski, Artistic Director of Free Street Theater, has been developing original theater productions and new practices of teaching artistic talent with teens at Free Street since 1985. His work has led the ensemble to be co-produced at Steppenwolf Theatre Company and at 45 European theater festivals.

Anita Evans, Creative Director of Free Street Theater, has been affiliated with Free Street Theater since 1995. She works in rehearsals with Ron Bieganski, assisting in teaching the practice, mentoring teens, and contributing to script development. She designs Free Street’s print materials, website, multi-media projections, photography, and video.

Ruben Feliciano, Housing Policy Analyst at Latino Policy Forum holds a Master’s in Urban Planning and Policy with a concentration in Community Development.  He recently co-authored a report on the foreclosure crisis in the Latino community and helped organize a housing summit that looked at the issue of foreclosures and its impact on the Latino community. In attendance were over a hundred and sixty advocates, community members, and policy makers, including local elected officials and the media.

More about the play

This program is co-sponsored by The Public Square and Free Street Theater.

This special performance of Sub-Prime Youth is part of The Public Square’s Looking for Democracy series, made possible in part by the Woods Fund of Chicago.

For more information, call 312.422.5580.