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With advice and instruction from an experienced actor and theater director, this pragmatic, authoritative guide imparts backstage know-how for would-be playhouse practitioners on everything from fundraising and finding a space to selecting plays and navigating legal issues. Chronicling three seasons at Chicago’s award-winning Congo Square Theatre, this journey behind the curtain reveals the nitty-gritty details—such as managing rent, parking, and safety issues; determining tax status and calculating budgets; and finding flexible day jobs—that are often overlooked amid the zeal of artistic pursuit. Inspired by Congo Square’s own unique inception, the valuable how-to also speaks directly to the many underserved audiences who want to create their own companies, including African American, Asian American, Latino, physically challenged, and GLBT communities. With lists of Equity offices, legal advisers, and important organizations, this complete resource is sure to help ambitious theater lovers establish and maintain their own successful companies.