Waukegan’s Clockwise Theatre supports the North Shore town’s growing reputation as an artist community and haven for experimental expression. Up-and-coming playwrights are welcomed on founding artistic director Madelyn Sergel’s stage. The board of directors is open-minded about hosting alternative productions and as uninhibited as the open theater space itself.
The theater opened in 2011 in a 10,000-square-foot former J.C. Penney department store next to Waukegan’s restored 1927 Genesee Theatre. In contrast to its ornate movie palace neighbor, the bare-bones, cavernous Clockwise space is a simple black-box facility. Curtains divide a performance area that seats 75 patrons around a small, raised wooden plank stage, a lobby decorated with recycled 1970s-era living room furniture and backstage workrooms.
Clockwise Theatre showcases works by Midwestern playwrights, woman-centric shows and multicultural performances. Audiences also enjoy small-scale musicals, programming for teen and young adult audiences, and productions created by members of FIST (Former Inmates Striving Together). Single tickets for all shows are $20.