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What is Physical Theater Festival?

Physical Theater Festival is an annual contemporary, visual, and physical theater festival that presents new forms of theater that are being performed around the world.


Physical Theater Festival began at Links Hall in the summer of 2014. The tenth annual festival happened on July 2023.


What will I see at Physical Theater Festival?


The Festival seeks to program work that uses cutting-edge, on-the-pulse theatrical forms that are responding to the contemporary moment using contemporary notions of theater.



The Festival seeks to offer work that elevates the visual aspects of its stories, theater which is occupied with the creation of visual atmospheres and images as much as verbal text.



The Festival seeks to present work that pursues storytelling through primarily physical means, whose aim is to create original stories which start and end with the body as the foundational textual source.

Our Story

In 2014, Alice da Cunha and Marc Frost launched the inaugural Physical Theater Festival through the Artistic Associate program at Links Hall. The inspiration for the Festival drew upon their combined experience in London as physical theater students at the London International School for the Performing Arts (LISPA). Moving from London to Chicago, they were inspired to start a new festival to promote a more progressive, fresh and physical approach to theater-making in Chicago.

2023 Producer's Board

The Producer’s Board supports Physical Theater Festival Chicago (PTFC) in its mission to make Chicago a home for local, national and international physical theater. Members of the Producer’s Board are tasked with raising funds through a “give or get” model to support the annual summer Festival. Board members enjoy a close relationship with the Festival’s curators.

Elise and Ira Frost

Josh and Jess Frost

Maggie Kast

Lauren Schrero and Adam Levy

Pat Yuzawa-Rubin and Jack Rubin

Laura and Michael Werner

2024 Festival Team


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Co-Artistic Directors


ALICE DA CUNHA is a Brazilian/Portuguese actress, director and producer who has worked in Portugal, the UK and the US. She is a Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of Physical Theater Festival. Her past experiences working in festivals include: Marketing Director, CASA (London's Latin American Theatre Festival); Producer/Presenter/Curator, SHORTCUTZ LONDON (weekly short film festival); Production Assistant, TODOS Festival (an interdisciplinary festival in Lisbon, Portugal); Hospitality, Chicago Latino Film Festival.

A brief list of her acting credits include: United Flight 232 (House Theater) -Jeff Award for Best Ensemble & Midsize Production-, La Ruta (Steppenwolf Theater), The Clean House (Remy Bumppo) & This Much is True (Theater 503, UK). Recent directing credits include: The Crone Chronicles (Pride Arts Chicago; PhysFest NYC) and Co-Direction of The Dream King (Teatro Vista) - Jeff Award Nomination for Best Direction. Alice is also an Artistic Consultant to Theater Unspeakable and Adjunct Professor at Loyola University. 


MARC FROST has started two theater companies and one theater festival. At Tufts University, he co-founded Bare Bodkin Theater Company to give student playwrights a platform for their work. In London, he co-created and curated "Physical" (a scratch night for new pieces of physical theater). Back in Chicago, he founded Theater Unspeakable to create devised, physical theater. 

Tech Director


NOAH ELMAN is a director, designer, and theatre maker based out of Chicago. Prior to moving to Chicago, he served as the Lead Audience Interaction Designer at the Kitchen Theatre and the General Manager for The Cherry Arts. Since arriving, he has had the opportunity to work with Boho Theatre, Music Theater Works, and Mudlark Theatre among others and currently works as a stage manager at Second City. He most recently directed Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins with Strawdog Theatre. He holds a BFA from the State University of New York at Fredonia and trained under Anne Bogart and the SITI Company.


Marketing Director

ALEX MIRANDA is a marketing specialist with several years of experience in creative advertising and digital marketing in Brazil and the US. For the past four years, Alex has volunteered for Partners of the Americas coordinating the communications of the Brazilian Film Festival in Chicago, an annual event that shows "Brazilian films with a social conscience." Currently, He is pursuing his Master's Degree in Integrated Marketing Communications at Roosevelt University Chicago.

Press Contact

ALEJANDRO RIERA was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico, raised all across the island's metropolitan area, in love with the movies from Day One, started writing my first film reviews and short stories and poems for my high school newspaper. Little did I know that what became an extracurricular activity at school would turn into a full time career…even though I wanted to venture into video production. An entertainment reporter for ¡Exito! and then HOY, later a Senior Editor in charge of features and arts and entertainment for all three editions of HOY (NY, LA and Chicago), I became the editor of the now sadly defunct Café Magazine in 2008, where I took my first stab at original online publishing. I wrote film reviews for CityVida, a Chicago-based entertainment site aimed at bilingual and bicultural Latinos, and am currently writing reviews for and I also freelance/have freelanced as a Media Relations/Publicist/Consultant for several arts organizations and festivals including the Chicago Latino Film Festival, the Chicago International Film Festival, the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute and Festival Cubano.


Communication Manager

KIM CAMPBELL (they/them) is also an editor, a writer and a dog trainer who has spent a career focusing on the arts, particularly literature, theater and circus. Kim is the former editor of CircusTalk News and American Circus Educators magazine, as well as a current writer for the Chicago Reader and the web publication Third Coast Review. In addition to writing about circus for many publications, they were a resident for Circus Stories, Le Cirque Vu Par with En Piste in 2015 at the Montreal Completement Cirque Festival. Kim founded the Chicago based circus company Semi-Circus and is a member of the American Theater Critics Association. In 2019, they were on the jury of FIRCO in Madrid (Circus Festival Iberoamericano), in 2021 they were on the voting committee for the International Circus Awards, and in 2022, they were on the jury of the Circus International Film Festival.

Scratch Night Curators

SCOTT MERCHANT is a performance artist and theatre maker celebrating over a decade in the Chicago theatre community. A graduate of the Theatre Conservatory at Roosevelt University, Scott has had the privilege to perform at the Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, New Leaf Theatre, Red Twist, Abraham Werewolf, Dog & Pony and is a proud company member of Collaboraction. Scott was Co-director of "TOLLBOOTH: A Clown Show" for First Floor Theatre and a former member of the cult-hit Bouffon troupe Les Enfants Terribles. Over the last several years, he has trained with Eric Davis in Bouffon, Sue Morrison in Pochinko clown in Toronto and with Steve Wasson and Corine Soum in Decroux mime. 


RAQUEL TORRE (she/her & ella) is a creator/performer from Puerto Rico with a background in physical theatre and devised performance. Since moving to Chicago in 2016, she’s collaborated with UrbanTheater Company, Filament Theatre, Shattered Globe Theatre, The Gift Theatre, Opera-Matic, Playmakers Lab, among others, as a director, movement coach, and actor. In 2013, she co-founded La Vuelta Ensemble (formerly Circo La Vuelta) with Jean Claudio, now a minority-led ensemble with a focus on high physicality and delightful absurdity. Raquel holds a BA in theatre from the Universidad de Sagrado Corazón (Puerto Rico), a certificate in Devised and Movement Theatre from Cabuia Teatro (Argentina), and an MFA in Devised Performance Practice from LISPA/Columbia College Chicago (Berlin/Chicago).


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EMILIO WILLIAMS is a bilingual (Spanish/English) award-winning writer and educator. His critically acclaimed plays have been produced in Argentina, Estonia, France, Mexico, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States, including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington DC.

His experimental prose has appeared most recently in Brevity MagazineWriting DisorderHinterland MagazineImagined Theatres, and the anthology Beyond Queer Words 2021.

Emilio has lectured around the world, and taught at several U.S. universities, including DePaul University, Columbia College Chicago, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Georgia State University. He holds a BA in Film and Video and an MFA in Writing. He is a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists where he is also a faculty member. He divides his time between Chicago and Paris.




AMRITA DHALIWAL, she/her/hers, is a Punjabi American comedian and devising artist based in Los Angeles. Her work explores the core themes of humanity, like death and love, through a lens of the current political climate. A few highlights include The Living Room, a comedy about death and grief, which won Best Comedy at the 2019 Melbourne Fringe Festival, she's an ensemble member of The Murge, which FLAUNT described as "…a comedy that is so far past stupid that it becomes nonsensically compelling", she's the creator and producer of the hit LA show, Indian Wedding, featured in LA Weekly as “Top 15 Things to do in LA”, and more. Beyond the stage, most recently Amrita co-authored and curated an essay series for HowlRound about clown and activism with Nathaniel Justiniano of Naked Empire Bouffon Company. Amrita is also a co-founder of Operation Project, a creative activist group based in the Los Angeles clown community. She is currently on the board for Clowns Without Borders, the Managing Director and an instructor for the Idiot Workshop, and a Hospital Clown.


(Bio Soon)



(Bio Soon)



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