Theatre relevant to young people,
performed by young people.
Founded in 2015, The Yard is a professional youth driven theater company that seeks to tell stories that explore, challenge, and give voice to the issues confronting our young people today. Through artistic mentorship as well as working with a diverse variety of professional theatre companies,
The Yard creates theatrical experiences that immerse its young artists in every aspect of the Chicago storefront theatre-making process.
Joel Ewing & Mechelle Moe
RESIDENT ARTISTS & MENTORS
Kiandra KiKi Layne
Aaron James Stephenson
Andrew Burden Swanson
JOEL EWING Joel is a Co-Artistic Director of The Yard and the Lead Theatre Teacher at Senn Arts Magnet High School. He is a graduate of Missouri State University with a BFA in Theatre Performance and DePaul University where he completed his Masters in Secondary Education with an endorsement in both English and Theatre. With The Yard Joel has directed and produced The 4th Graders Present an Unnamed Love Suicide with The Hypocrites, Milk Like Sugar with Raven Theatre, I & You with Jackalope and the remount for the 2016 Theatre on the Lake program, the staged reading of Eclipsed with Steppenwolf Theatre, the staged reading of Cardboard Piano with TimeLine Theatre Company, and Snack Break and Snack Break II: Juicebox Boogaloo, a short play festival with Victory Gardens Theatre. He also co-directed Blood at the Root with Jackalope Theatre and the remount for the 2018 Theatre on the Lake Program and performed alongside the kids in The Yard in Columbinus with Steppenwolf Theatre and the LookOut Series. At Senn Arts, Joel was a recipient of the Teacher Incentive Grant from the Oppenheimer Family Foundation that underwrites the outstanding efforts of CPS teachers who enhance and enrich the educational lives of their students through project-based learning. Joel has directed numerous productions at Senn Arts including Our America: Ghetto Life 101: Remorse and Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses, and produced Brainstorm, all of which were selected for the 2014, 2015, and 2019 Illinois High School Theatre Festivals. Joel is the Senn Arts coach for Louder Than a Bomb team, the world’s largest youth slam poetry festival. Joel also serves as the Education Director of the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre in Grand Lake, Colorado. He is a proud educational partner with some of Chicago's finest theatrical institutions such as Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Lookingglass Theatre Company, The Goodman Theatre, Raven Theatre, Victory Gardens Theatre and Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Through Steppenwolf, Joel has been trained in Aesthetic Education as developed by the Lincoln Center Institute. As an actor, Joel has appeared as The Baker in Into the Woods and as Andrey in Three Sisters, both with The Hypocrites as wells as The Snare and the upcoming Life on Paper, both with Jackalope.
MECHELLE MOE is a founding member of The Hypocrites and a company member with TimeLine Theatre. She works as an actor, director, teaching artist and serves as Director of Education at Raven Theatre. Moe is a Jeff nominated actress who received a citation for actress in principal role for her performance in Sophie Treadwell’s Machinal with The Hypocrites and a nomination for actress in principal role for Ferber & Kaufman's Stage Door with Griffin Theatre. In her career, Mechelle has appeared in over 40 productions locally including TimeLine’s The Apple Family Plays (That Hopey Changey Thing and Sorry), The Children’s Hour, Not Enough Air, My Kind of Town, Paradise Lost; The Hypocrites’ The Bald Soprano, Angels in America, The Glass Menagerie, Curse of the Starving Class and Court’s What the Butler Saw. She has also worked with Griffin, Lifeline, A Red Orchid, Steppenwolf, Writers, among others. Moe has also landed on the Chicago Tribune’s Top 10 Performances of the Year list both in 2007 (What the Butler Saw) and 2010 (Stage Door).
As a lead teaching artist, Moe has worked for many organizations including Lookingglass Theatre, Court Theatre, Lifeline Theatre, TimeLine Theatre and Raven Theatre. Moe has co-directed and devised numerous works at Senn Arts including Our America: Ghetto Life 101:Remorse (which she also adapted) and Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses, both of which were selected for the 2014 and 2015 Illinois High School Theatre Festivals. Her most recent project with Senn Arts was the docudrama Broken Text, an original work by Moe based on her interviews with men recently released from incarceration and living in a transitional facility.
Mechelle graduated with honors from the University of Illinois Chicago with both a bachelors in Theater as well as Anthropology.