Scott C. Neale, associate professor of scenic design, joined the Illinois Theatre faculty last year. Neale is part of an immersive theatre project in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood that guides patrons through the experiences of different immigrant families coming to this diverse community and making a home for themselves. Port of Entry was recently featured in American Theatre Magazine. The sets of the homes and apartments featured in the project are incredibly detailed as audience members are encouraged by cast members to touch objects, play games, and even dine with characters in the story. The production team actually visited the homes of ensemble cast members as inspiration for the set design.
“The bulk of our research came from one afternoon of walking tours in the kids’ apartments,” Neale shared with American Theatre Magazine. “We identified what culture they’re part of; they told their stories about how they have lived and where they live now. We took pictures and videos, and then we just had this giant archive of these worlds, which is essentially what this entire thing is about—their lives.”
Port of Entry was created in partnership with the Albany Theatre Project and Third Rail Projects. Scott, an internationally recognized and award-winning professional scenic designer, has been resident scenic designer for Albany Park Theater Project in Chicago since 2006. He continues to design theatrical sets, theme park attractions, exhibits and events, specializing in immersive theatre experiences and interactive environments around the world. In addition to Albany Park Theatre Project, Scott has designed for Third Rail Projects, Steppenwolf, Lookinglass, Repertory Theatre of Saint Louis, Saint Louis Shakespeare Festival, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Great River Shakespeare Festival, Yale Baroque Opera, amongst many others.
A Warehouse Becomes a Home in ‘Port of Entry’ is the first of two articles that American Theatre Magazine will be featuring on this project. The second will focus primarily on design and is expected to publish in their print edition next month.