A Farewell From Our Executive Director Matt Barbera

Thank You Playground Community, Comedy Community and Friends-

In November of 2003, I accepted the role as President of The Playground. For the last 16 years I have been incredibly lucky to be part of the theater’s leadership team. I am incredibly proud of The Playground and the community that has been built. The Playground continues to play a key role in the Chicago comedy community. We were one of the first independent spaces allowing performers room to grow. For many the PG was one of the first places they could get stage time or produce their own show.

After 16 years, it is time for me to step away. The Playground is already in the capable hands of The Playground Community. At our core, we are an artist-led theater and, as such, the theater will continue its great work in the hands of our artists. For me, The Playground will always be my comedic home. It has been the place where I have dedicated my artistic life. I am forever filled with happiness and laughter thinking of all the amazing people I have had the opportunity to work and create with. I am forever in The Playground’s debt for giving me their trust and for giving me the opportunity to be a part of an incredible community of people.

Thank you to all of you who have had such a profound impact on me. I will reach out to you individually to say Thank You.

As I think about this transition, I am really feeling nostalgic for all those years of work and fun. My “Playground Days” are some of the most impactful days and experiences of my life. I know there are hundreds and maybe thousands of you who have had life-changing experiences at The Playground. If you’re one of those Playground alumni who moved on and later realized how much you miss it, I have a recommendation. Please join The Playground’s new Alumni Association. Becky Eldridge, Doug Diefenbach, Kaydee Dolan and I are leading this effort. We have big plans for bringing us all together as a community.

If you have ever played on a Playground Team, produced a regular show at the theater, or simply feel the Playground has made an impact on your personal or creative life, please join the Alumni Association. Because of the creativity and dedication of those involved, The Playground continues to have tremendous opportunities to grow operationally and artistically – opportunities the theater can only achieve with the support of alumni. With alumni support, The Playground will continue its mission for future generations of improvisers – I hope to one day see my daughter perform on the Playground stage.

Please consider joining The Playground Alumni Association with a minimum donation of $15.

Join The Playground Theater Alumni Facebook page for more information on alumni happenings and to share photos and stories from your time at The PG.

It has truly been my honor.

Matt Barbera