Corri Feuerstein ’96 of Chicago loves to make a production out of feeding people. In her free time, she loves making dinners for large groups of friends or even for just one person, but her gusto for feeding people, and theatre, led her to another outlet for quelling her appetite.
Born and raised in the Chicagoland area, Feuerstein says she can’t remember not being interested in music and theatre. She graduated from The Chicago Academy for the Arts, and chose Millikin because of its small environment. She enjoyed the atmosphere at Millikin, which offered more opportunities for self-created work than a larger school.
In 1997, Feuerstein joined fellow Millikin alum Lisa Hackman ’96 at a Chicago coffee shop to brainstorm ideas for a theatre company. “It’s a classic scenario — friends from college get a theatre company together,” Feuerstein says. “but we were determined to work hard to make sure it stayed afloat.” Will Act For Food (WAFF) was cooked up that day.
WAFF, a not-for-profit theatre company based in Chicago, has offered discounted theatre tickets to patrons who donate non-perishable food items. In addition, WAFF designates one night during each production as a Cans For Cash event, where patrons may donate food in lieu of admission price to the show and an after-show gala. WAFF annually sponsors Starving Artist Week during which local theaters and businesses serve as collection spots for food donations.
Each season, WAFF chooses one food bank or shelter to receive the donated food items. During the 2001 season, WAFF donated more than a half ton of food to Residents for Effective Shelter Transitions, and more than one ton of food to the Greater Chicago Food Depository in 2002.
All staff members volunteer their time and talent and have other paying jobs. “None are paid for their services, except our technical staff,” says Feuerstein, who serves as the artistic director. The company strives for a three-show season, not including special events, and stages productions at various theatres around the Chicago area. Its next production, “The Memory of Water,” will be held at Strawdog Theater, 3829 N. Broadway, from Sept. 18 through Oct. 18, 2003.
“It’s a wonderful group of people who work harder than I could have hoped for and are more passionate than I could have imagined,” Feuerstein says. “I’m always amazed at how many people support us and am constantly in awe of the passion and commitment I see. They are talented, dedicated and many take time from bigger theatres to work with us.”
Want to know more? Check out: www.willactforfood.org
The complete article appeared in fall 2003 issue of Millikin Quarterly magazine.