Goodman Theatre believes that theater is more than a play or a place: it is an inspiring, expansive lens on the world that can profoundly engage communities and expand minds. Goodman programs promote literacy and learning, inspire self-confidence and empowerment — and effect positive change in society. The new Alice B. Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement at Goodman Theatre will offer nationally-renowned, arts-centered programs for Chicago teachers, students and lifelong learners. These programs will be immersive and illuminating, impacting thousands of students through in-depth teacher training, and will bring theater’s transformative powers directly to individuals. The Goodman will work in active collaboration with educators and other community partners to create a home for all.

Over the past three decades, the Goodman has been recognized for its extraordinary level of artistic excellence, cultural inclusiveness and civic engagement. The theater has extended its award-winning skills and resources beyond the footlights through its ambitious education and community engagement efforts. These programs are distinguished by their depth and continuity of experience. Currently serving nearly 8,000 Chicagoans each year, this all-important, ever-expanding education and engagement work has long been up against  limitations of space and proximity. Programs are often held in found spaces. As the Goodman’s offerings grow to meet rising demand, the theater is bursting at the seams. A new dedicated area located on the second floor of the existing Goodman Theatre complex will become the home for these critical education and engagement programs. The flexible space will allow for the classrooms, rehearsal spaces and conference and audition rooms required to accommodate further program growth.

The Center for Education and Engagement will enable Goodman Theatre to partner with a wider range of organizations and audiences in ways that are relationship-specific and stem from the content on our stages. Initiatives will include:

  • A year-round arts-based program serving ages 14–18 and modeled after the Goodman’s PlayBuild Youth Intensive, which focuses on empowerment and socio-emotional learning.
  • A year-round destination for the Goodman’s growing high school student program that allows peer-to-peer learning and the opportunity to develop self-identity, mutual respect and community.
  • Increased professional development for teachers focused on differentiated instruction and project-based learning, empowering teachers to facilitate discussions and build community within their own classrooms and schools. This will build on an established program for teachers incorporating theater into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) classroom curricula.
  • A hands-on learning environment/lab for STEM education.
  • Concentrated experiences for Chicago-area high school students, with a high ratio of teaching artists/mentors to students.
  • Year-round intergenerational programming that allows youth to work collaboratively with adults.
  • Panels and discussions based on topics drawn from plays on Goodman stages, especially those related to social justice.

To learn more about the Alice B. Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement and to read about the Goodman’s current programming, please visit