Chicago Cultural Center Opens Newly Renovated Claudia Cassidy Theatre and Announces Free Summer/Fall Programming

The City of Chicago and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) recently announced an abundant lineup of free film, music, and art programming, along with tours, lectures, and more taking place this summer and fall throughout the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E Washington St).

The announcement is coupled with the unveiling of the newly renovated Claudia Cassidy Theater, located on the second floor of the Cultural Center. Following a year-long construction period, the 200-seat multi-purpose theater has been transformed with all new theater seats and major technology upgrades, including a state-of-the-art movie projector, screen, and speaker system. The finishing touches include major improvements to the stage lighting, upgraded acoustic panels, and a new curtain system for the stage.

“The transformation of the Claudia Cassidy Theater is yet another reason why the Chicago Cultural Center is such an invaluable resource for Chicagoans and visitors. With these much-needed upgrades to the Cassidy Theater, we’re pleased to be able to host world-class film in what is now a world-class theater space,” shared DCASE Commissioner Erin Harkey. “DCASE is activating every level of the historic Chicago Cultural Center with free dynamic and engaging programming for all ages all year round.”

The newly renovated Claudia Cassidy Theater, located on the second floor of the Chicago Cultural Center, hosts free screenings year-round. A sample of planned events in the theater can be found below. The full schedule can be found at ChicagoCulturalCenter.org. The upcoming lineup includes a selection of international films presented in partnership with Cinema/Chicago and the Chicago Film Festival; a series of short films including Dancing with Disability (presented in partnership with ReinventAbility), celebrating the city’s “Year of Chicago Dance” and more.  

On the heels of the stunning renovation of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) Hall this past March, the historic space will be activated with the new Resilience Series 2022Offered the 2nd Monday of each month July through December, this free series aims to build resilience through artist-led sessions of various creative modalities. 

The Resilience Series is open to anyone interested in exploring art as a healing practice. With 2022 being the City’s “Year of Healing,” DCASE highlights the role of arts and healing arts practitioners and continues our work honoring the purpose of the G.A.R. rooms. All Resilience Series events have Open Captioning.

A sample of arts events taking place at the Cultural Center includes Matchbook Memorials: Reflections on Resilience with Cabinet of Curiosity and Emotional Alchemy: A Breath & Movement Workshop with Kiam Marcelo.

In addition, there will be presentations from the popular Culture Snaps series featuring creative people, places, and things from across Chicago; the Learning Lab (housed on the first floor of the Cultural Center), offering interactive programming with sights, sounds, and experiences for visitors of all ages and a wide range of abilities; visual arts presentations, concert performances and much, much more. 

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) promotes a dedication to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists, and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors. To learn more about programming and offerings, visit chicago.gov/dcase.