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Art is for everyone                                                     

Young People Talk About the Theater

Talk show discussing the art form with the generation shaping its future (the future is now)


Chloe Schneider is a Talent Agent at Paonessa Talent Agency, LLC and freelance astrologer who moonlights as a clown. She grew up in sunny San Diego, CA and fell in love with the power of performing. While attending UC Irvine, she found joy in giving voice to actors with her own projects, producing/casting staged readings, comedy masterclasses, short films, and animations. After graduation, she packed up her things and moved to Chicago where she interned with O’ Connor Casting and Remy Bummpo Theatre while freelance casting for small theatres around town. Chloe loves the weird and welcoming Chicago community and is thankful to play a part.

Do you remember the first piece of theater you ever saw? Did it leave an impression on you, and if so - what?

One of the first pieces of theatre I remember seeing was Anne of Green Gables. My brother, a professional flautist, was in the orchestra pit and I was about four. My mother and I sat in the audience, far back, and I still to this day remember the way the set looked and how I felt watching this old man rocking in a chair and singing. I was deeply inspired by the way the storytelling came alive in front of me and fell in love with performing shortly after.

What is your background and personal history as a theater artist?

I began performing in community theatre productions at a young age. It was mostly all musical theatre because that was what was available.  From there, I began privately training in voice, dance, and acting, and quickly fell in love with auditioning. I loved the theatre, but always thought of myself as a writer and acting as an outlet for characters. I would act all the time, writing stories and voicing them out-loud constantly. In high school, my seriousness as an actor shifted and I finally thought, this could be a career. This feeling carried me into college. At 19, while studying in college, I was suddenly confronted with the corrupt nature of this industry and vowed to do something about it. That’s what led me to hop on the other side of the table. I no longer consider myself a theater artist, but an ally and advocate. I am trying to do my part in making things safer for this community of artists.

Why Theater?

It is the most human and natural way for storytelling. It is within us.

Where do you see American theater in the context of current international theater?

American Theater is constantly combating its own elitism. I think we can all acknowledge that and should. Most theatre’s I see are attempting to connect to a greater extent with their community. From my experience with theatre abroad, it is more accessible. They seem to be more successful in keeping their productions relevant. We are trying here. The trend right now is remaking movies into musicals to bring in an existing following. I do not think that’s the best route, but it’s certainly lucrative and many non-theatre-goers are engaging with these attempts. Money does not translate to meaningful connections within a community, however. I think sometimes theatre’s forget that, but they have to keep the lights on somehow. There is no easy solution and its been a struggle for decades.

Where do you see Chicago in the context of current American theater?

Chicago is really pushing the envelope with diversity. We have great theaters engaging with discussions of gender, race, and disability to larger and larger extents. There is still a lot more room to grow, but I KNOW we are doing far more than regional theatre’s around the country. I can tell you that just from breakdowns. The artist’s here are vocal and willing to make things happen for themselves and the big theatre’s are forced to listen and contend.

Where do you think the art form is headed? What are the things that you hope to see in the future?

I hope to see more diversity in leadership and greater protection and pay for actors and crew. No more scandals, please.

What do you think was the most effective piece of theater you have seen in the past 5 years and why?

I cried from the beginning to the end of Hadestown. It was the most beautiful theatre I have seen in a long time and I go to see theatre once or twice a week. That show is beyond special and relevant and I think INCREDIBLY accessible to the majority of people.

Anything else you want to say/share?

Theatre is the art form for the actor. Actors get the greatest amount of say and collaboration in this form and I think some theatre’s are trying to pretend that’s not the case. Keep fighting for your voice and for the stories you believe in.