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LFC’s Artist-in-Residence Program Welcomes the Lookingglass Theatre Company

Four people pose with puppet Cyclops, fish, and sailboat. To the right, a woman poses.

Beware the cyclops!

Polyphemus, a giant one-eyed monster with a soft spot for sheep, has moved into the LFC as part of the 2022-2023 Artist in Residence (AIR) Program, thanks to a partnership with artists from the Lookingglass Theatre Company and the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival.

This year’s residency, a beloved biennial LFC program, will tackle Homer’s Odyssey and, more specifically, the story of the Cyclops. The visiting artists will work with students to create a silent film, inspired by the work of French director Georges Melies, as well as a documentary about the making of the film.

In order to bring the project to life, Lookingglass ensemble members and LFC parents Phil Smith and Louise Lamson will partner with Tom Lee, puppeteer artist from Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival, and LFC parent composer and musician Ernie Adams. The film will be based on a stage adaptation created by Mary Zimmerman, a fellow Lookingglass ensemble member and nationally celebrated writer and director.

“The Odyssey’s story of the Cyclops is really just a fun, recognized and storied landscape in which to play,” said Phil Smith, who will serve as the Director of the AIR project. “There are monsters, drama, humor, the fantastic, the horrible and the adventurous.”

The aim of the project is to achieve 100% participation from all LFC students, from puppet building, props and decor to acting, filming, editing and musical composition.

“How many of you have watched the credits at the end of a movie?” Lousie Lamson asked LFC primary students at one of the kick-off assemblies. Lamson will serve as staging, movement and scene work director. “The credits roll and roll and roll, because so many people are involved in creating movies. Whether you are building props, constructing the film, creating the music…you will all be involved.”

This residency will bring to the LFC the world of the theater and the Lookingglass’ distinguishing method and flair. Creativity, community, self achievement, transformation, and inclusion will be at the heart of the project.

About LFC’s Artist-in-Residence Program

Since the school’s inception, arts and culture have been given a valued place at the LFC.  Created in 1997 by parents Nancy Lerner Frej and Mary Jane Jacob, with the support of former Lycée Arts Director Jean-Brice Wallon, the Artist-in-Residence Program (AIR) enriches each student's journey and exposes them to new artistic approaches.

Since Christian Boltanski's inaugural residency, the LFC has had the pleasure of welcoming numerous artists: Ery Camara (Senegal/language arts), Sheila Hicks (USA/sculpture), Laurent Baude (France/sculpture), Périphériques Architecture (France/architecture), Jim Vincent for the Hubbard Street Dance Company (USA/dance), Beate Gütschow (Germany/photography), Donald Fels (USA/architecture), I.C.E. – International Contemporary Ensemble (USA/music) and more recently Nicolas Henry (France/photography) and Joël Degbo (France-Benin/photography).

The selected artist is invited to develop an original and collective project in collaboration with the students, teachers and parents of the LFC. The final artwork—the result of a rich dialogue between an international artist and our community—is showcased at a public exhibition and becomes part of the LFC’s art collection.

About Lookingglass Theatre Company    

Inventive. Collaborative. Transformative. Lookingglass Theatre Company, recipient of the 2011 Regional Theatre Tony Award, was founded in 1988 by eight Northwestern University students. Now in its 35th season, Lookingglass is home to a multi-disciplined ensemble of artists who create story-centered theatrical work that is physical, aurally rich and visually metaphoric. The Company, located in Chicago’s landmark Water Tower Water Works, has staged 70 world premieres, received 161 Joseph Jefferson Award Nominations, and produced work all across the United States. In 2016, Lookingglass received the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions and in 2017, was the recipient of the League of Chicago Theatres’ Artistic Achievement Award.

Lookingglass continues to expand its artistic, financial, and institutional boundaries under the guidance of Artistic Director Heidi Stillman, Executive Director Rachel L. Fink, a 29-member artistic ensemble, 22 artistic associates, an administrative staff, and a dedicated board of directors led by Chair Diane Whatton. 

 For more information, visit 

Group of students reaching up to touch a cyclops puppet at assembly.