Our mission is to use classical theater to engage and inspire communities. It is our vision that individuals from diverse backgrounds will share a common creative experience and develop a greater sense of empathy in their everyday lives.
Jeffrey Chips: Artistic Director A Pittsburgh native, Jeffrey earned both a Master's of Literature and an MFA in Shakespeare and Performance at Mary Baldwin College while training at the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, Virginia. He founded the Steel City Shakespeare Center in order to reach as many people as possible in a profound way, including those in under-served communities or anyone who has given up on Shakespeare or the theater.
"It is required you do awake your faith." The Winter's Tale 5.3 Steel City Shakespeare Center employs a style of performance known as "Extreme Casting," which utilizes a small cast or even a single performer to convey the story of a much larger cast of characters, even in a single moment. The style is rooted in other theatrical styles, such as puppetry, stand-up comedy, pantomime, poor theater, and certain aspects of Elizabethan theater. Our performances do not rely on elaborate theatrical effects, such as large sets, sampled sound effects, period costumes, or a conventional lighting design. By stripping away all aspects of theatrical technology, we enable ourselves to rediscover some of the elements with which these plays were written and strengthen the bond between performers and audience. The performers, without the aid of enhanced production elements or a large company, are responsible for conveying the story through broad physical and vocal choices, while inviting the audience to, "Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts," and, "Into a thousand parts divide one man." With these elements firmly in place, extreme casting can serve to reclaim the theater as popular entertainment for the masses, rather than solely a fixture for the cultural elite, through imaginative, fast-paced, and interactive storytelling.