- 1986 - 2009 (Creation)
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Apple Tree was a professional theatre company, one of only two in all of Lake County, serving over 30,000 patrons each year, including students in its Workshops. The Theatre won 28 Jeff Awards, with 109 nominations of various kinds, and sent many students and actors on to successful careers throughout the country, including Broadway.
Apple Tree Theatre was founded in 1983 by Executive and Artistic Director Eileen Boevers. Apple Tree Theatre was committed to producing dramas and musicals that "celebrate the tenacity of the human spirit and illuminate the human condition." In its 25th season, the theatre developed a reputation for producing high quality theatre, fortifying a relationship with its audience and artists alike. It was one of only two professional theatre companies in Lake County. It was located originally in the basement of Immaculate Conception Church in Highland Park, until 1988 when it moved to 595 Elm Place, Highland Park. 1988, Apple Tree Theatre also became an Equity Theater after 5 years of performing on special guest artist contracts with Equity.
Apple Tree Theatre produced four main stage shows and three Theatre performances, for Young Audiences productions, a year. A diverse audience of over 30,000 people all over Chicagoland attended its programs annually.
Apple Tree Theatre was honored with 109 Jeff nominations and over 28 Jeff Awards. In 1997, Apple Tree Theatre made history by becoming the only theatre ever to receive Jeff awards for both Best Play and Best Musical in the same season.
Moreover, Apple Tree was committed to providing a nurturing, creative environment for Chicago artists. Apple Tree employed over 200 artists annually as performers, directors, choreographers, musicians, designers, and teachers. Apple Tree consistently produced productions of a high caliber, albeit with modest financial capabilities, and became a home to accomplished artists, many of whom appear regularly on other well-respected stages, such as the Goodman, Chicago Shakespeare, Steppenwolf and the Marriott Lincolnshire.
In addition to its adult main stage season, Apple Tree produced a unique educational outreach program, Theatre for Young Audiences, which was committed to presenting works to an undeserved audience—the middle and junior high school age groups. Established in 1989, Theatre for Young Audiences presentations included stage adaptations of literature directly from the state mandated school curriculum, focusing on diverse themes with plays that incorporated multicultural sensitivity, the physically and mentally challenged, and other challenging themes such as the Holocaust. In 2005, The Theatre for Young Audiences was named one of the finest young people’s theatres in the state by the Illinois Theatre Association.
The Eileen Boevers Performing Arts Workshop (a third aspect of the Apple Tree Theatre) offered year-round classes in theatre performance, taught by instructors who work in theatre and were committed to building confidence, creativity, self-esteem, foundational skills, imagination, and a love for the arts. The Workshop trained thousands of young people, several of whom went on to Broadway or held other impressive theatre careers.
- Information for the biography on Apple Tree Theater was directly copied, with few alterations, from a poster in the collection that gives biographical information.
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The collection as 7 series, and 8 subseries within the collection. The series were organized by storage practice.
The first series, records and papers, contains all the printed and manuscript material. It contains, pamphlets, calendars, play bills, and mailing information. The series also has two sub-series, Objects and Photographs. Objects, contains a key-chain, while Photographs, contains photographs of various subject. The series is approximately .5 linear feet, and ranges in dates from 1986-2009.
The second series, Oversize Images (20x16"), contains mounted images that are around 20x16 inches in size. The entire series are images (both in color and in black and white) of actors performing in various plays and is broken up into 4 subseries. Photographs, Set Rendering, Wood Mounted, Metal Framed. The series is approximately 1.5 linear feet, and ranges in dates from 1993-1999.
The third series, Oversize Images (25x19"), contains foam-core posters with biographical information and a poster of performers that are around 25x19 inches in size. The series is broken into two sub-series, Mounted Posters and Posters. The series is approximately .2 linear feet, and ranges in dates from 2007-2009.
The fourth series, Semi-oversize Images (11x14"), contains mounted images that are around 11x14 inches in size. The entire series are images (both in color and in black and white) of actors performing in various plays. The series is approximately 1 linear foot, and ranges in dates from 1994-1995.
The fifth series, Donor Plaques, contains two plaques with the list of donors to the Apple Tree Theatre. Both plaques are 15x12 inches in size and are wood with metal plates. The series is approximately .1 linear foot, and ranges in dates from 1989-1997.
The sixth series, Upright Storage, contains a single framed image that is 40.5x30.5 inches in size. The series is approximately .05 linear feet, and is dated 1993.
The seventh series, Rolled Storage, contains over-sized posters that are 50x36 inches in size. The series is approximately .5 linear feet, and ranges in dates from 1998-2003.
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