Chicago Flyhouse Blog

Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago Ability Lab: Part One

Posted by Flyhouse on Mar 14, 2017 9:36:05 AM

The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) is a world-renowned medical center that specializes in the treatment of patients with debilitating issues through a model of integrated research, education and care. Each year, thousands of patients seek assistance from RIC to strengthen a part of their life and become whole again.

The previous location of RIC proved challenging in the center’s drive to provide more specialized care to accelerate the recovery process of its patients.

A decision was made to build a state-of-the-art center integrating the latest advancements in technology combined with the ability to conduct research all under the same roof. The building is 480 feet tall and provides 1.2 million square feet of floor space, including 800,000 square feet dedicated to clinical/research programs – nearly three times the current research space. The overall hospital is designed around five innovation centers and five differentiated labs including:

  • Think + Speak: "Speech & Cognition"
  • Arm + Hand: "Fine Motor"
  • Legs + Walking: "Gait & Locomotion"
  • Strength + Endurance: "Total Body"

RIC exterior

Within the new building, pioneering technologies are front and center.

In the Strength and Endurance Lab, patients are regaining their ability to walk by strengthening core muscles within the body. What if a system could be created where a patient could safely move around the room and climb stairs knowing they are secure the entire time while a physical therapist controls all of it using handheld wireless controller?

Chicago Flyhouse came into this project originally as a pro-bono consultant to examine existing challenges within the proposed solution already given to RIC and provide suggestions on creating an aesthetically pleasing product. It became apparent the look and overall solution would impugn on the aesthetics of the venue.

“The amount of structure to support it [first proposed solution] on the staircase would have made it feel mechanical which was not the overall goal,” said Mark Witteveen, founder of Chicago Flyhouse. “The goal was to not make it look like a machine and they [RIC] felt it wouldn’t be true to the environment they were trying to create.”

After a few months of consulting, RIC asked Flyhouse this question: If you were to create your own solution from scratch, what would it be?

Flyhouse's solution will now become the first of its kind in any hospital setting in the United States.

 

Topics: Performer Flying, Project Recaps, Flyhouse Projects

Performer Flying Rehearsal

Posted by Flyhouse on Mar 1, 2017 4:57:04 PM

The House Theatre of Chicago wrapped up their rehearsals at Flyhouse's shop this week before moving over to the Chopin Theatre to start production. They are making performer flying look easy!

 

 

Topics: Performer Flying

Maybe You Want to Work With Us? We're Hiring!

Posted by Flyhouse on Feb 27, 2017 4:46:05 PM

Flyhouse is growing and we need some talented individuals to make it better. Our projects take us across the country and around the world. Each day is something new and the job is never the same twice. Each of us come from a different background and we are a unique group of people. Yeah, we know everyone says that but seriously, when was the last time you worked with someone that could swallow swords? Plus, Flyhouse has all the benefits of a big corporation without the big corporation attitude. So what do we have available? 

If you are interested or know someone that might be, check out our career page at www.flyhouse.com/careers.

Topics: News, Performer Flying, Flyhouse Team, Project Recaps, Flyhouse Projects

[Q + A] The House Theatre of Chicago

Posted by Flyhouse on Feb 23, 2017 7:55:00 AM

House Theatre Chicago Flyhouse Banner

The House Theatre of Chicago and Chicago Flyhouse have worked together for more than a decade with Flyhouse being the performer flying vendor of choice. For an upcoming performance of The Great and Terrible Wizard of Oz, the cast has been learning to fly in the Flyhouse rehearsal space. We had the opportunity to talk with The House's Artistic Director, Nathan Allen, to learn more about the company's past and standing out in the Chicago theater scene.

Where did the idea of The House come from and what was the process of getting it off the ground like?
Nathan:
Most of us met at Southern Methodist University and decided we wanted to start our own thing after graduation. A few of us had also studied at The British American Drama Academy in London. For me, the collision of a traditional American actor’s training with a much more audience focused European classical and physical training inspired questions about form and purpose. We started thinking about what we wanted to make, but more importantly who we wanted to serve. When we arrived in Chicago, we were met with this overwhelming support. People were excited by us and as a bunch of hard-working kids from hard-working families, we were able to harness that excitement into a relatively sustainable institution. We have our ups and downs like any group but we’ve survived on a sense that anything is possible in our theatre and community. It’s a lot to convince someone when you’re dealing with such ancient vocabularies but we’ve taken that challenge seriously - so much so that we started to resist the mundane. It became a challenge to continue staging the unstageable, to put our audience at the center of an imagined epic experience. That artistic chip on our shoulder fueled an ambition to grow, and we’re lucky that for some of our audience it’s made us fun to support. Seventeen years in and still doing it seems as impossible as anything, but here we are.

 

"It became a challenge to continue staging the unstageable..."

 

The cast for your upcoming show is doing performer flying training at Flyhouse’s rehearsal space throughout February, why is the partnership the two groups have formed important?
Nathan: There are only a few theatre companies in Chicago working regularly in such physical spectacle and stagecraft. Having a partner that can engineer fly systems, educate designers, directors, and performers in their use, and advise throughout a safe rehearsal process makes all the difference in our ability to experiment with and eventually stage these effects.

What has changed in theatre since your company was formed?
Nathan: That's a great question. In a real way, the theatre hasn't changed in thousands of years, but that's probably dodging the question. Still- I like to think that as we see modern media technologies become more and more isolating (especially those technologies that claim to be "social"), we see a reckoning with those purer and ancient purposes of our art form. Even in the frame of the last 17 years, I think we've seen more artists and producers aiming their work at the theatre's social functions, becoming more inclusive, and building spaces tuned for community building.

Is risk taking an essential part of a theatre company?
Nathan: In many ways, it’s a difficult business to begin with. But the way we've found to thrive in it is by trying to stand out- do something different. To try new things and embrace the risk of failing as a part of what makes the work exciting. Learning requires risk. The hardest trick is building a community of support that will take those risks with you.

 
"To try new things and embrace the risk of failing..."

 

What sets The House apart from others in the region?
Nathan: Our people. Our culture, led by our incredible Company Members, and nurtured by our Staff and Board, is as kind and courageous and encouraging and entrepreneurial as any arts and culture institution could be. Culture is everything, especially in a not-for-profit, and our people curate that culture. I think that it shows in our work.


Artistic Director Nathan Allen

Nathan Allen (Artistic Director) - The House Theatre of Chicago 
Nathan founded The House Theatre of Chicago with friends in 2001 and continues to lead the company as Artistic Director. In his role, he is responsible for the development and programming of all projects. Writing and directing credits include Death and Harry Houdini, The Sparrow, Rose and the Rime, The Last Defender and The Hammer Trinity (The Iron Stag King, The Crownless King, and The Excelsior King.) He also wrote and starred in The Valentine Trilogy (San Valentino and The Melancholy Kid, Curse of the Crying Heart, and Valentine Victorious) and directed The Magnificents by Dennis Watkins, with whom he created the weekly magic show, The Magic Parlour.

Nathan's work has been seen on the stages of The House, The Steppenwolf Merle Reskin Garage Theatre, The Arsht Center of Miami, The Stoneham Theatre in Boston, Strawdog Theatre, The Neo-Futurarium, Collaboraction, and The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. Nathan has received acknowledgements from the Joseph Jefferson Awards, The Orgie Awards, and The American College Theatre Festival. He has been named an Associate Artist at The Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami and received the Emerging Leader Award from his alma mater, Southern Methodist University.

Topics: Performer Flying, Q+A, Project Recaps

Flyhouse Rigging Fact - Performer Flying

Posted by Flyhouse on Feb 6, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Topics: Performer Flying, Rigging Facts, Flyhouse Projects