Enjoy an evening at the movies under twinkling stars and moving clouds.In an open space of 1500 seating capacity.The largest single screen in Chicagoland.A state of the art sound system featuring Dolby SR and JBL speakers.A grand neo-Pompeian lobby restored to original elegance. The Patio Theater located on the Chicago’s northwest side is the only movie palace of the bygone era still in service to the community. Lovingly restored and decorated in the grand tradition complete with all the elements that make a night at the movie a memorable experience for the whole family to enjoy. Come and see your favorite movies at popular prices ($5.00 per person) on one giant screen under a simulated blue sky, flickering stars and moving clouds. See what's showing now!
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Seanachaí is the Gaelic word for Storyteller.
The people's stories were at the very core of ancient Irish culture. It was the duty of the Seanachaí to keep these stories alive. The mission of Seanachaí Theatre Company is to return theatre to this origin - by creating compelling productions and programs that focus the energy of artists towards the common goal of exceptional storytelling. To achieve this end, Seanachaí Theatre Company strives to provide an atmosphere where all theatre artists - actors, playwrights, directors and designers - have the support and assurance to collaborate openly. That is at the heart of all ensemble companies, and Seanachaí has proven itself a major player in Chicago’s ensemble-driven theatrical community.
Located at Six Corners in the Portage Park neighborhood of Chicago Northwest Side, the Portage Theater is one of the oldest movie houses in Chicago. Designed by Mark D. Kalischer and Henry L. Newhouse, the Portage Theater opened on December 11, 1920 as the Portage Park Theatre (the former name is still visible on the building's facade). Built for the Ascher Brothers circuit with 1,938 seats, the Portage was the first theater built specifically for film (and not Vaudeville) in the area.
The Portage Theater's interior features a megaphone-shaped auditorium based on a formal Beaux-Arts opera house design. When the theater was taken over by Balaban and Katz in 1940, its marquee, entrance lobby and foyer were redecorated in a sleek, streamlined art deco style to complement other prominent art deco designs at Six Corners such as Sears department store and the Klee Brothers building.
The Portage remained a popular fixture of the neighborhood, becoming a second-run movie house in the 1960s. In the 1980s, the theater underwent a dramatic change when a wall was constructed down the middle of the existing auditorium, resulting in two oddly-shaped cinemas. The Portage was shuttered in 2001 after operating sporadically for the previous couple years. The theater was restored and renovated, and reopened after a five-year hiatus in the spring of 2006 as a single-screen, 1300-plus seat theater showing both silent and sound classic motion pictures as well as hosting other live events.
Today the historic Portage Theater is the home of the Silent Film Society of Chicago, The Northwest Chicago Film Society and hosts the Chicago Silent Film Festival as well as portions of the Chicago Polish Film Festival. In addition, the interior of the theater was utilized extensively in late May 2008 for filming of scenes for the film Public Enemies (2009 film) which is based on the life of 1930's bank robber John Dillinger The interior of the Portage was reportedly used as a stand-in for the Biograph Theater on Lincoln Avenue where Dillinger enjoyed his last movie before being fatally wounded by FBI agents upon exiting the theater. -Wikipedia
News / Events
**The Filament Theater Moves to Portage Park**
Alderman John Arena’s office proudly announces another win for the Portage Park community. Filament Theatre Ensemble signed a lease Wednesday for the ground floor space at 4041 N. Milwaukee Ave. in the Six Corners Business District.
In August, 2011, Filament worked with Ald. Arena’s office and Arts Alive 45 to find a space for its experimentally staged "Naked City Glow". After performing "Four Actors in Search of a Holiday Memory: A Living Diorama” in a vacant Six Corners storefront window in December, 2011, they began the search for a permanent space in the community.
Filament Theatre members were bowled over by the support of the local community and businesses. “It’s the first time we felt like we had come home,” said artistic director Julie Ritchie.
Ald. Arena’s initiative to showcase the landmark theaters and assets of the 45th ward to artists aims to build on the reputation of the nearby Portage Theater for films and of The Gift Theatre for plays and improv comedy. “We know we’ve got a great location. We know we have the space and the talent. Now we can demonstrate we are committed to growth.” said Ald. Arena. Filament Theatre Ensemble will take part in Arts Alive 45 events during this summer’s Jeff Fest in Jefferson Park and Six Corners BBQ Fest at Irving Park/Cicero/Milwaukee.
The Jeff nominated Filament is opening "Hank Williams: Lost Highway" on Friday, June 8th at the Anthenaeum Theater, 2936 N. Southport, its last production before coming home to its new Portage Park location.
**Meet John Mossman, Actor/Director/Friend of Seanachai Theatre**
by Sarah Wellington
Chicago actor/playwright/film maker/director John Mossman performed in Seanachai Theatre’s first play of the 2012-2013 season, In Pigeon House. Many of you saw last season’s The Shadow of A Gunman which John directed. John co-wrote and directed the film, Into the Wake, which premiered at the Gene Siskel Film Center this summer has won four “best of” industry awards at the nation’s most significant film festivals.
What is your history working with Seanachaí's Ensemble members and on
Seanachaí productions? What keeps bringing you back to the Seanachaí family?
I have known a few members of Seanachai Theatre for years, and I have collaborated with them on various theater and film projects, but the first time I worked directly with them was in directing their 2011 production The Shadow Of A Gunman. I'm currently in In Pigeon House, and this the first time I've worked with them as an actor.
It has been wonderful working with an old friend, Barbara FIggins, and new friends, Katherine Schwartz and Ira Amyx. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Ira is not only a spectacular stage actor but, like me, he also makes a living as a film actor. You will have to ask them Seanachai why they keep asking me back. Maybe it’s because we share an appreciation for good work and Guinness. I'm attracted to Seanachaí because they take on such interesting projects that are filled with emotion and humor, and because the company has a very distinctive personality that I love being around. They're a bunch of talented, hard working, functioning lunatics.
What drew you to “In Pigeon House?” How has it been working with Director Brian Shaw, the cast, the stage managers and the numerous designers/architects?
I liked the freedom in the script, and the loose story that nonetheless created what I hoped would be a fascinating, fun experience for an audience. I rarely get the opportunity to be in something like this and it has been “a frenzy”, as my character, Basher, would say. I also come from a family that has some connection to the vaudeville era.
My grandfather made his living as a musician in the 20's and 30's. He toured the Midwest circuit and occasionally would drag my dad along on the trains with the rest of the band. There are some interesting family stories about that. He once played a far away playhouse in Baraboo, Wisconsin, an ornate theater built by the Ringling family, and sent a postcard of it to my dad who saved it, thinking "I hope I get to see that place someday." Twenty years later, he had relocated to Baraboo and began working backstage for the local theater troupe, where my mom performed. Eventually I would do the same. The place was alive with the ghosts of vaudeville, Barrymore, and the players of that time, and it had a special spirit of magic that hooked me early; but that can be lost when you make it your career.
This play is something of a chance to embrace the fraying thread to that era that my mom and dad and hometown provided me. Working with Director Brian Shaw was terrific fun. I'd heard great things about him and took the job partly because he inspired confidence, partly because I wanted to see how he'd tackle something crazy like this, and partly because he assembled an excellent cast. The cast is so excellent that I wondered for weeks what the hell I was doing there.
The play is the story of performers throughout time, told by performers who are simultaneously living the experience. It incorporates elements of silent movies, vaudeville, touring theatre, TV, and the modern underground club scene. The rehearsal process itself was bizarre. We didn't have much time so we just had to get up and do it. We couldn't talk it to death or try to make too much sense of things, and primarily just depended on Brian's quick direction and our actor instincts to help discover the different styles and tenor of each scene and make it personal and truthful to us.
My wife Kathy Scambiatterra and I run a theatre called The Artistic Home, which has been around about 12 years. Like Seanachaí, we are a small equity company, mainly actor-centered, where you can see great performances of some classic works that you won't see elsewhere. We also occasionally produce works by the great Irish writers and some newer work such as Jim Lynch's "The Tallest Man", which takes place in Mayo. Seanachaí member Jeff Christian has directed for us, and Shane Kenyon is a member of both our ensembles, so there's a fair amount of DNA shared
between us and Seanachaí, whom we consider something of a cross-town cousin. Like Seanachaí, we also value the sense of home, as our name suggests, where you are encouraged to grow and explore. The artistic home has an actor training center and an annual one-acts fest, Cut To The Chase, and will be moving to a new space this winter at 1376 W. Grand.
Other theatrical experiences
I recently performed in The March at Steppenwolf, and have done a lot of work with Lakeside Shakespeare Theater, which is a summer theater up in Michigan that traditionally involves a bunch of Seanachaí actors and directors, all of whom tend to add a lot of life to the proceedings.
Into The Wake
I am a filmmaker and recently directed an action thriller Into The Wake. It has gotten some nice reviews, played the Siskel for a week, and won some awards. You can find it on Netflix, so please save it to your cue. That will help push up our release date. It's also been a treat working on this play with Ira Amyx, who also is another film/theater crossover guy (as is ensemble member Jeff Christian). It seems natural that at some point we'll be collaborating on something people can see on the big screen.
Sarah Wellington is an ensemble member of Seanachai Theatre. Although this season’s plays will be performed at The Den, 1333 N Milwaukee Avenue, Seanachai hopes to find permanent theatre space on the Northwest Side because they liked being located where people passionately support the arts.