Founded in 1974, Victory Gardens Theater is a seminal institution within the Chicago Theater Movement of the 1970s and 1980s, dedicated by mission to serving playwrights and producing world premiere plays. Having just surpassed our 30th season as one of the country's most respected mid-sized professional theater companies, Victory Gardens Theater is the recipient of the prestigious 2001 Tony Award for Best Regional Theater and was recently heralded by The New York Times for its role in helping to position Chicago as a city "with a theater scene as vibrant as New York's" (May, 2003).
With the receipt of the 2001 Regional Theater Tony Award, the American Theater Critics Association and The Tony Committee recognized Victory Gardens for its 28 years of excellence and for its "continuous level of artistic achievement contributing to the growth of theater nationally." Victory Gardens is the first theater dedicated solely to new work and one of the few mid-sized theaters in the country to receive this significant award. The Wall Street Journal recognizes Victory Gardens as "the nation's most important incubator of new playwrights." (August 2002). Two hundred forty-three plays have been produced at Victory Gardens Theater. Of these, one hundred forty-two have been world premiere productions, and one hundred fifty-one were written by Chicago authors.
In 1996 Victory Gardens reconfirmed its commitment to the playwright by creating the Playwrights Ensemble, a company of twelve diverse playwrights who develop work for the Victory Gardens stage. The policy of producing new plays and the establishment of the Ensemble makes Victory Gardens unique both locally and nationally. Each year at least 50% of the Theater's work comes from the Ensemble with the remaining plays from playwrights who work throughout the nation and the world.
Victory Gardens Theater is partially supported by the National Endowment for the Arts; The Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; and a CityArts Program 3 grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs.