Elgin theater scene out on the street

The Elgin Cultural Arts Commission will continue to defy standard theater conventions with its fourth annual Walkabout: Theater on Your Feet these next few weekends.

The event runs on Saturdays, July 16, 23 and 30, in downtown Elgin, where the audience will see one play take over various downtown locations and immerse Elgin in the story.

Sylvia Grady, Elgin Cultural Arts Commission liaison, said Walkabout was started years ago as an opportunity to showcase all Elgin arts had to offer.

“We were trying to do some things to bring all our arts departments together,” Grady said. “Since then, they have only grown in size, more and more people are involved, and each year they become more different and unique.”

Sean Hargadon, producer and creator of Walkabout, said to expect the unexpected with this year’s shows.

“Each year, we try to add a twist for the audience,” Hargadon said. The play has been broken into three acts with three different theater troupes advancing the story.

The show starts in the Elgin Public House Restaurant and Pub, 219 E. Chicago St.; from there, attendees visit other downtown locations, where theater is presented in nontraditional spaces.

It gives audience members a chance to discover downtown Elgin if they haven’t done so before, as well as experience an Elgin summer.

“It gives people a chance to look at Elgin in a different light and check out what you have missed when the downtown area was under construction,” Hargadon said.

This year’s theme is “The Art of Friendship.” The show will feature the Tony Award-winning play “Art” by Yasmina Reza. The play deals with the issue of friendship and art and how one would react to a friend’s art purchase.

The Janus Theatre, Nothing Special Productions and the Guild Theater will perform at various locations downtown, including the Elgin Art Showcase, Ravenheart Cafe, Villa Verone and Al’s Cafe.

It’s an event that’s always positively received, said Elgin Public House general manager Lesley LaRock, and a great experience for businesses.

“It supports local business and local acts,” LaRock said. “Everyone enjoys it and I’ve gotten nothing but high marks for it. And we always love to support local businesses and people of the area.”

The shows start at 1 p.m. at the Elgin Public House. Admission is $15. Tickets can be purchased at the door with cash only, and reservations must be made before purchase. For more information or to reserve a spot, call (847) 841-1713 or visit

The Elgin Cultural Arts Commission presents the fourth annual Walkabout: Theater on your Feet in downtown Elgin, running on Saturdays, July 16, 23 and 30. Tour guides will lead groups of people to downtown locations where they will see one play performed by three different theater companies. The characters will stay the same, but the actors will change as the play reaches its climatic conclusion. Shown is an actor from Envision Theatre at last year’s Walkabout. Courtesy of Elgin Cultural Arts Commission