Recent press for [Trans]formation

[Trans]formation Review – Beauty, Bravery, and the Naked Truth by Jessie Bond in Chicago Splash Magazine

There is strength and bravery permeating every aspect of [Trans]formation. There is bravery in exposing one’s naked body onstage. There is bravery in proudly owning one’s identity in a world that would quash it. There is bravery in amplifying the voices of trans, genderqueer, nonbinary, and intersex people in a time where such amplification is needed more than ever. Go see this play. See these brave people tell their stories. Exist, for a few hours, in a world where everyone’s gender is not just respected, but celebrated. Witness a stage where there is vulnerability and safety together. In times like these, shows like [Trans]formation matter, and Nothing without a Company and Living Canvas have produced a piece of theatre that is desperately and urgently needed.

Read more reviews of [Trans]formation here!

[Trans]formation – exploring the naked truth of gender identity

Tickets are now on sale for this incredible collaborative project between The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company.


[Trans]formation is devised entirely from the works of, and performed by, transgender, genderqueer, intersex, and non-binary artists. Designed and directed in the style of The Living Canvas, nude performers embody the expressive power and diversity of the human form clothed by projections to reveal, instead of conceal, every body’s beautiful possibility. [Trans]formation utilizes text, dance, movement, music, and the textures of projections to explore the naked truth of gender identity. [Trans]formation welcomes allies and those who know little about transgender and non-binary identities but would like to gain more awareness in the context of a theatrical production.

Prior to each performance of [Trans]formation there will be a short artistic “Portrait” of a local transgender/non-binary artist. Following each performance there will be an optional discussion and opportunity for audience members to participate by “transforming” their own bodies under the projections onstage. This revolutionary and unique act of art was made possible through the collaboration of Nothing Without a Company’s vision of supporting LGBTQIA artists by providing a safe and creative space to explore their voices and talents, and The Living Canvas’s mission to celebrate and nurture the beauty and expressive power of all human bodies.

transformation5The [Trans]formation cast includes Gabriel Faith Howard, Ronen Kohn, Lily Jean, Chase Nuerge, Ben Polson, Kevin Sparrow and Charlie Baker.

The [Trans]formation design team includes Chris Owens (Projections Designer), Sarah Putts (Sound Designer), Brittany Meyer (Set Designer), Michael J. Sanow (Technical Designer), and Marisa Allison (Costume Designer).

The [Trans]formation production team includes Anna Rose Ii-Epstein (Co-Producer/Co-Artistic Director of Nothing Without a Company), Pete Guither (Co-Producer/Artistic Director of The Living Canvas), Veronica Bustoz (Stage Manager), Charlie Hano (Assistant to the Director), Hannah Ii-Epstein (Co-Artistic Director of Nothing Without a Company), Kaitlin Carver (Casting), and Rebecca Kling (Advisor).

The Vault at Collaboration Studios in The Flat Iron Arts Building
1579 N Milwaukee Ave. Chicago, IL 60622
Previews November 15th and 16th, 2016 at 8pm
Opening Thursday, November 17th, 2016
Closing Saturday, December 17th, 2016
Thanksgiving week: Performance on Monday, November 21st at 8pm instead of Thanksgiving Day.

Purchase tickets

Living Canvas joins Abbie Fest

Once again this year, the Living Canvas will be part of the annual Abbie Hoffman Died for your Sins Theatre Festival – the 28th and final Abbie Fest. The Festival takes place at the Den Theatre in Chicago August 19-21 with a variety of performances taking place all day and night. The Living Canvas will once again present Gaby Labotka’s short piece “Abbie Hoffman Died for our SKINS” which is scheduled to perform late Saturday night (August 20) at around 1:10 am.

Full schedule here and advance passes available here.

[Trans]formation auditions

Nothing Without a Company and The Living Canvas are casting performers for their upcoming collaboration [Trans]formation directed by Gaby Labotka.

We are seeking transgender, genderqueer, non-binary, and intersex performers of all ages and races who move well to be a part of a collaborative ensemble of 5-14 people.

Dance, movement, circus, and/or clowning training or experience is a plus as this is a piece of highly physical theatre in which movement sequences will be partly devised by the group.

[Trans]formation is being devised from submissions we received from the transgender, gender non-conforming community exploring the naked truth of being trans through artwork, poetry, music, essay, and theatre. Our bodies are a constant field of growth, change, warfare, and identity. In our society, we tend to fixate on genitalia instead of the individual. As with its other productions, The Living Canvas as a vehicle provides transcendence of this fixation and sexualization and reveals the human form as more through the combination of nude performance and the brilliant imagery of photographs and artwork projected upon the body in motion. Because of the sensitive nature of this topic, we have the opportunity to explore in a new way what the naked body is in relationship to gender and identity. “Naked” may mean something different to certain performers because of their gender expression and we welcome that. [Trans]formation will be a platform of body revolution and revelation, by helping people see the whole person, and not just parts.

As mentioned, this production will be performed nude, but we are sensitive to gender expression needs. We will accommodate if a performer wants to be considered but requires garments to better represent their gender while nude onstage without triggering traumatic experiences. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us!

Material to Prepare: Please prepare a 1-2 minute piece that utilizes some text (may be poetry, song, monologue etc). There will also be a group movement section which will feature a small piece of choreography and an exploration/improvisation to music. Please wear clothes that allow you to move.

Audition Dates/Times: Saturday, May 21st and Sunday, May 22nd.

11:00AM, 1:00PM, 3:00PM, 5:00PM

Audition Location: The Theatre School at DePaul University – 2350 N. Racine Ave. Chicago, IL 60614

ROOM 302

Time Commitment:

Rehearsals: September 24th – November 6th

Tech: November 7th – November 13th

Previews: November 15th, 16th

Performances: November 17th – December 18th Thursdays-Saturdays at 8pm,Sundays at 7pm*** at The Vault at Collaboraction Studios in The Flat Iron Arts Building

***Thanksgiving Week performances will be November 21st, 25th, and 26th at 8pm, and November 27th at 7pm.

Please submit your headshot and resume to along with your preferred audition date and times.


Dear Transgender, Intersex, Genderqueer, and Non-Binary persons,

The Living Canvas in partnership with Nothing Without a Company (NWaC) is developing a new work of theatre created and devised by trans voices titled [Trans]formation. As such, we are reaching out to the trans community for submissions; we are looking for stories, paintings, poems, allegories, songs, or any work of art that explores the naked truth of being trans. These works may be happy, heartbreaking, funny, tragic, uplifting, or any other kind of story so long as it is honest and explores transformation.

Trans stories told by trans voices. None of that Dallas Buyers Club, About Ray, or The Danish Girl BS. We want your story, told by you, at the level of participation you feel most comfortable with. Join us as a contributor, an advisor, a performer, or any/all of the above.

The Living Canvas is an exploration of the expressive power of the human form. We make works of theatre actualized by nude performers under projections of photographs, paintings, or beautiful light. Our venture is to highlight the beauty in every body and tell stories that encourage body acceptance and love. For this particular project, we are adjusting our performance model to be better inclusive of trans/intersex/genderqueer performers: our definition of “nude” will be adjusted to prevent potential instances of gender dysphoria.

Nothing Without a Company is planting theatre around Chicago with all forms of media to empower self and community through immersive and revolutionary acts of art in site-specific and reclaimed environments.

Pieces should not exceed three (3) minutes or five (5) pages in length. If you are submitting a video or song, please do not exceed five (5) minutes in length. Attach written works as a Word Document or PDF, visual art and photography as .jpeg, and for videos please include a link to an Unlisted YouTube video link.

If your work is selected as a part of the final production, we will notify you and discuss casting preferences for your piece. We want to collaborate with you, and tell your story in an honest and respectful way.

If you would like to be considered as a performer, please attach your Headshot and Resume and include “PERFORMER” in the title of your e-mail, along with your name.
Please e-mail your submission to no later than March 31st, 2016.
Questions may be addressed to our Literary Manager, Kevin Sparrow at this address, though other members of our selection committee may review and respond to your e-mail.

Although we would love to use every submission, we are only given a limited amount of stage time to perform [Trans]formation. We hope to use every submission as a part of the larger discussion we hope this production will inspire: anything that does not end up on our stage will be included in our dramaturgy/lobby display and/or be featured in our program booklet.

Submissions will be reviewed and selected by Kevin Sparrow (NWaC Literary Manager and Company Member), Gaby Labotka (Director/Deviser, The Living Canvas Company Member, and NWaC Company Member), Ronen Kohn (Lead Deviser, The Living Canvas Company Member), and Romeo Green (Dramaturg, NWaC Company Member).

We look forward to receiving and reviewing your work; we are very excited for this mass collaboration in storytelling!

Thank you,
Gaby Labotka & Ronen Kohn
Director and Devisers for [Trans]formation

Celebrating the beauty and expressive power of the human form