Chicago Theatre Poster Project

The Chicago Theatre Poster Project is a visual survey of the poster art of Chicago’s Off-Loop Theatre Movement. The book will track the development of poster design in the milieu of Chicago’s non-profit theatre scene from the 1960’s to the present. The survey will include a wide range of posters: from hand-drawn lobby boards to today’s digital creations.

Simultaneously, it will guide the reader on an exciting visual journey of the explosive evolution of Chicago’s dynamic and internationally recognized theatre scene. It will show trends affecting poster design, compare/contrast multiple designs for a specific play, and highlight individual poster artists.

This site shows representative content from the book across decades, theaters and artists.

The creative team behind the book includes:

Kathryn Hearn Guinan is a graduate of Southern Illinois University with a degree in graphic design/illustration. She has worked as a graphic designer, assistant to the artistic director of Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago, as an associate casting director in film and TV in Los Angeles, and in the book business.

Francis Guinan holds a masters degree in acting/directing from Illinois State University. He has been a member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Co. acting ensemble since 1979. His acting credits include numerous stage, film and television appearances.

Jo Nast is a retired administrator in research and development and adjunct faculty member in Art History in the School of Art and Design, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

Inquiries about The Chicago Theatre Poster Project should be directed to

The progressive development of art over the last six decades is represented from single color line drawings to sophisticated digital images.

Chicago has been home to hundreds of theaters over the last sixty years. Long time companies and newer additions to the community are highlighted.

Many artists have contributed to the images used to depict theatre in Chicago. A select group of the most prolific have been featured here.