About Us


Adventure Stage Chicago, the participatory arts program of Northwestern Settlement, creates and tells heroic stories about and for young people. We do this to engage our community and inspire all of us to be heroes in our own lives.
Past Shows


ASC counts on the support of dedicated staff, artists, and board members who embody our mission, strengthen our efforts, and impact youth and community throughout the season.
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ASC is a proud member of many arts and community organizations. We count on and appreciate their support throughout the year.
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Tom Arvetis (Producing Artistic Director) is the founder of Adventure Stage Chicago. Playwriting credits: Walk Two Moons (Dramatic Publishing; AATE Distinguished Play of 2013), Spark: Chapter One of the Prometheus Project, Sight Unseen: Chapter Two of the Prometheus Project, and I Dream in Blues. Directing credits include: Augusta and Noble, Six Stories Tall, And a Child Shall Lead, 500 Clown: Trapped, Katrina: The Girl Who Wanted Her Name Back, The Blue House. In 2013, Tom received the Orlin Corey Award for Artistic Excellence from AATE. Tom was a member of AATE’s first Theater Leadership Institute in 2007, an Ann Shaw Fellow with TYA/USA in 2009 and twice a finalist for a Chicago Community Trust Fellowship. He has served on the AATE board of directors and is an adjunct lecturer at Northwestern University.

Mary Kate Barley–Jenkins (Executive Director) joined ASC in 2014. In that time, she launched the company’s first tours (national and international), increased earned revenue by 29%, and created the ASC Auxiliary Board, which has increased individual giving by 16%. Mary Kate previously served as the Managing Director, Programming and Production at the Chicago Humanities Festival (CHF). She conceived and was the Artistic Director of Stages, Sights and Sounds, an international performing arts festival for young audiences and recipient of a program award from the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. Previously, she was the Director of Communications for the School of Communication at Northwestern University. Mary Kate has served as President of International Performing Arts for Youth (IPAY), the premiere membership organization supporting performing arts for young audiences. She is an alumna of Northwestern, having graduated with a Masters in Theatre and Arts Administration.

Laura B. Kollar (Audience Services Manager) became the company’s first Box Office Manager in 2014, and now, as Audience Services Manager, is focused on the overall experience of Adventure Stage patrons.  Since 2006, she has proudly designed costumes for ASC productions, including: Worthy, Walk Two Moons, Augusta and Noble, The Giver, And A Child Shall Lead.  Laura has a BA in Theatre from Loyola University, and she has two young daughters/fans of ASC.

Sarah Frasco (Marketing & Communication Coordinator) started her journey at ASC as an intern in the marketing department and is thrilled to be stepping in as the Marketing & Communications Coordinator. Sarah’s love of theater started a very young age. As a student at Georgetown University, Sarah performed in many campus productions, sat on the board of Nomadic Theatre, and served as the Chair of the Performing Arts Advisory Council. Since graduating in 2015 with a degree in History and double minor in Theater and Psychology, Sarah has continued to pursue working in the arts working with Target Margin Theater in New York and has studied in Chicago at The Second City, The Annoyance Theater, and iO Chicago. When not at ASC, Sarah is performing with her multiple improv teams (Nevada, Aunt Party, Last Weekend), writing new ideas for musicals, or looking up new recipes to cook at home.

Jamie Macpherson (Interim Education Manager) is an educator and theatre maker originally from St. Paul, Minnesota. She got her start teaching as an Apprentice for SteppingStone Theatre for Youth (MN). Since then, Jamie has taught for several different theatre companies, both locally - Adventure Stage, Dream Big, Mudlark- and nationally - Childsplay Theatre Company (AZ), First Act Children's Theatre (WI). In 2017 she was an Invited Artist for the Lawrence Arts Center (KS). As a researcher, her work has appeared in HowlRound, TYA-USA and The Fight Master. Jamie is also a fight director and instructor, and a member of the SAFD. Recent credits include choreographing violence for The Agency Theater Collective and The University of Chicago. Jamie holds a  Masters of Fine Arts from Arizona State University, where she specialized in Theatre for Youth.

Carlos Murillo (Playwright-in-Residence) heads the BFA Playwriting Program at The Theatre School of DePaul University. In 2016, The Javier Plays, a collection of three interrelated plays, was released by 53rd State. Dark Play or Stories for Boys, his best-known work, premiered at the Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville; has been performed throughout the US, Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Lithuania; and appeared in the anthology New Playwrights: Best New Plays of 2007 (Smith & Kraus). His work has been commissioned by and performed at companies throughout the US and Europe. Awards include a 2015 Doris Duke Impact Award, a 2017 AATE Distinguished Play Award, the Met Life Nuestros Voces Award from Repertorio Español, the Frederick Loewe Award from New Dramatists, the Ofner Prize from the Goodman Theatre, the Otis Guernsey Award from the William Inge Theatre Festival, a Jerome Fellowship at The Playwrights' Center and two National Latino Playwriting Awards from Arizona Theatre Company. He is married to the director Lisa Portes; they live in the south side of Chicago with their two children.

Dominique Chestand (Camp Supervisor) is a multimedia artist, educator, and arts administrator from the city of Chicago. Her works explore the experiences of Black, queer, woman-identified, and otherwise marginalized bodies. The disciplines Dominique uses in her work include poetry, theater, music, video, photography and dance.

She also holds a BA from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in Theatre and Communication Arts, with a focus in Film. As a poet and actress, Chestand has performed on the stages of New York, Chicago, Mexico, the Republic of Panama, the United Kingdom, Holland, Denmark and Canada. As a curator and administrator, Dominique has worked with organizations such AMFM Gallery, Young Chicago Authors, the Chicago Park District, Collaboraction Theater, the L.A. Dance Project, Redmoon Theater, Northlight Theater, and more.

Daniel Shuffield (AmeriCorps Project YES member) is a recent theatre graduate from Northwestern University, where he concentrated in playwriting and theatre for young audiences. At Northwestern, he worked as the literary manager for Purple Crayon Players and organized the PLAYground Festival of Fresh Works, which provides new play development opportunities for students and professional playwrights.. As the AmeriCorps Project YES! Member at Adventure Stage, he is lucky enough to serve alongside teaching artists in the Neighborhood Bridges residency program with Chicago Public School students throughout the city.


Brian Bell
Dani Bryant
Brandon Campbell
Kitty Campbell
Sindy Castro
Stephanie Chavara
Phil Claudnic
Rives Collins
Mikhail Fiksel
Sarah Rose Graber
Michael Huey
Laura Kollar
Allison Latta Lashford
Simon Lashford
Andrew Marikis
Anne Mcnamee-Keels
Matthew Reeder
Emilio G. Robles
Nelson Rodriguez
Matthew Scott
Brandon Wardell
Jessica Kuehnau-Wardell


John Conneely, Chair
Mariaelena Morales, Secretary
Adia Alli
Tina Berto
Abra Chusid
Gabriela Jirasek
Lambrina Kless
Natalie Moretti
Jeanne Rattenbury
Derek Tucker