Our Mission

The International Voices Project champions the work of global playwrights by creating opportunities to experience new and contemporary international plays in urban settings and on stages throughout Chicago. We celebrate the mother tongue, and foster work that brings native languages to the forefront. From its inception, Chicago was conceived as the crossroads of the country. The rail lines that crossed  the city now symbolize the role that Chicago will play in the future: as the center of international dialogue and design, creating opportunities for artists and audiences alike to experience the most engaging and provocative new plays from around the world. We foster new translations, support the work of translators, and create ongoing relationships with playwrights from the five continents.  

From its earliest days, Chicago has been the North American gateway for trade and transportation. That legacy lives on today, as Chicago creates and defines its international gateways- in business, in trade, and in the arts. The City we are building celebrates international art and is eager to explore and collaborate with its global partners. It is our belief that IVP is one more bridge to that present-and-future Chicago, by creating opportunities for conversation and connection among diverse urban voices. Where might this symphony of voices lead? What opportunities for playwrights and producers might we create? That conversation might be the most exciting of all.
— Patrizia Acerra, Executive Director

Patrizia Acerra - Executive Director

Patrizia Lombardi Acerra is a Chicago-based stage director, devisor, and producer. She is the founding Artistic Director of Premiere Theatre & Performance, and creator of the International Voices Project. In 2000–2001, she resided in Rome, Italy, working with The English Theatre of Rome, and created an ensemble of actors for the then newly formed International Theatre of Chicago From  2000 to 2002, she resided in Rome, Italy, working with The English Theatre of Rome,  where she formed The International Theatre of Chicago (now Premiere Theatre & Performance).  Ms. Acerra holds Masters Degrees in Theology and Directing. Favorite projects include Iphegenia In Kingman , Immaginalo! with the English Theatre of Rome,  Right!(adapted from Pirandello’s Cosi e’ (se vi pare!)), and the original performance pieces Ocean Sea/ Oceano Mare, Einstein’s Dreams and The Quiltmaker’s Gift (in collaboration with Dawn Arnold and The Moving Dock Theatre).  Locally, she has directed for and collaborated with Silk Road Theatre Project, Clock Productions, Moving Dock Theatre Company, Rasaka Theatre and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs.  

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Maggie Carlin - Administrative Manager

Maggie Carlin is delighted to be working with the International Voices Project for her second year. She was brought on the Premiere Theatre and Performance team five years ago as an Administrative Intern and could not be more proud to have progressed with Patrizia Acerra and her company. It is here she has been able to expand her boundaries and play many roles. In the past, Maggie has served as Casting Coordinator for Caffeine Theatre for its last two years in business. She was a Casting Assistant at Provision Theatre and TimeLine Theatre. She was pleased to spend a year at Northlight Theatre working as Literary and Dramaturg Assistant. She has dramaturged for such companies as Stage Left Theatre and 16th Street Theatre. Maggie holds a B.A. in Theatre-Acting from Columbia College Chicago.

Advisory Board

Antje Oegel - AO International Talent Agency 

Walter Stearns - Mercury Theatre 

Christiane Tacke - Goethe-Institut Chicago 

Fouad Teymour - Egyptian American Society 

Margreth Truempi - Consulate General of Switzerland 

Emilio Williams - Chicago Theatre Sweatshop

Neil Blackadder - Knox College 

John Green - Columbia College Chicago 

Tess Green - Tess Green & Associates 

Teresa Hernando - Instituto Cervantes Chicago 

Aimee LaBerge - Alliance Française de Chicago 

Silvio Marchetti - Istituto Italiano di Cultura Chicago 


We would like to extend a warm thank you to each and every one of the consulate generals and cultural institutions that joined us in this journey and for this “leap of faith”


Anna C. Bahow  

Committed to the development of new work, international voices and diversity. Anna is is an Associate Artist at Premiere Theatre and Performance, The Side Project and Chicago Dramatists. She served as the 2011-2012 Michael Maggio Directing Fellow at Goodman Theatre, has received an After Dark Award for direction and her productions have received JEFF Awards for New Work and Use of Multi-Media. Upcoming Brewed with Ruckus and Tympanic Theatres in March, Comrades Mine at City Lit in April and Invasion! with Silk Road Rising this summer.

Carol J. Blanchard

Carol J. Blanchard has designed for companies such as Cleveland Symphony’s Blossom Opera, Skylight Music Theatre, Shakespeare in the Park, Chautauqua Institution, First Stage Childrens’ Theatre, Karamu Theatre, and the Champlain Shakespeare Festival.  Her Chicago credits include Victory Gardens, Drury Lane, The Mercury Theater – Chicago, Silk Road Theatre Project, Porchlight Music Theatre, The Artistic Home, Appletree Theatre, and PTAP.  She has been honored with a Joseph Jefferson Award and, for her collaboration in the Silk Road Theatre’s Golden Child, an After Dark Award.  She is a Professor Emeritus of Design at The State University of New York. You can see more of her work at cjbdesigns.org

Hank Hilbert 

Hank Hilbert received his MFA in Acting form Northern Illinois University, and hs B.A. in Dramatic Arts from UW-Parkside. He has been acting since 1996 and residing in Chicago since 2004. Hank is an Artistic Associate with Premiere Theatre & Performance and a Company Member with Urban Theatre Company.

Iris Manca 

Iris Manca, was born and raised in Italy, and moved on to Beijing, China, in 1991. She returned to Europe 10 years later as a specialist in Chinese contemporary theatre.  She began her directing career China, where she co-founded the international theatre group “Testimony”. She currently resides in Cremona, Italy.She first met Patrizia Acerra while working in Rome on the Italian adaptation of “Picture This”, in 2001. At ease in between different cultures, she easily embraced the philosophy of IVP and is now writing a play on immigration.

Ronnie Malley

Ronnie Malley is a multi-instrumentalist musician, theatrical performer, producer, and educator with a background in Global Music and Performance Studies. His recent credits include author and composer of the original play Ziryab, The Songbird of Andalusia, musician in The Secret Garden, musician and consultant on Disney’s theatrical production of The Jungle Book, associate producer, composer, and actor in The Sultan's Dilemma, co-composer on Mary Zimmerman’s The White Snake, and film composition for At the Gate, Modou: The Hang Player, and Jon and Davy. Ronnie has also produced the albums Auraad Fathiya, Saazuk Safar, Tsikago, Gypsy Surf, and East Meets Middle East through his company, Intercultural Music Production, and has appeared as a guest artist on several musical works. He conducts Arabic language artist residencies for Chicago Public Schools and is a teaching artist of music and theater with Global Voices Initiative. Ronnie is also a faculty member at the Old Town School of Folk Music, as well as an artist researcher with Chicago Arts Partnership in Education. He performs with the music groups Allos Musica, Baeoa, EMME, Lamajamal, Surabhi, Turath Ensemble, and the University of Chicago Middle East Music Ensemble.

Elizabeth Carlin Metz

 Elizabeth Carlin Metz the founding Artistic Director of Chicago’s acclaimed VITALIST THEATRE, where she received After Dark Awards for her direction of MOTHER COURAGE AND HER CHILDREN and for technical achievement for A PASSAGE TO INDIA. Other productions for Vitalist include the Jeff nominated Chicago premiere of THE NIGHT SEASON (Jeff Award for best Supporting Actress), ANNA KARENINA, KING LEAR, THE THREE LIVES OF LUCIE CABROL, the world premiere of ANUNG’S FIRST AMERICAN CHRISTMAS, THE MILL ON THE FLOSS and FLOATING RHODA AND THE GLUE MAN. She was a Directing Associate with California Shakespeare Festival where she directed AS YOU LIKE IT with the interns and also served as voice and text coach for the company. Other directing credits include HAMLET, MACBETH, PERESTROIKA, THE LOVE OF THE NIGHTINGALE, PYGMALION, THE GRAPES OF WRATH, WOMAN IN MIND, and her own original adaptation of HENRY IV PTS 1 & 2 in Manchester, UK. As a voice director Liz has worked for Seattle Repertory Theatre, Tacoma Actor’s Guild, and Steppenwolf (Chicago and Off-Broadway) and four years as a Resident Voice Director at Williamstown Theatre Festival. She has served on the Illinois Arts Council, presented on acting and directing at the Association for Theatre in Higher education, and served on the faculties of the Professional Actor Training Programs at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, the University of Washington, and the University of California at Davis where she also taught in and administered the graduate directing program. She is Professor of Theatre at Knox College and holds an MFA from Temple University.

Sarah Stec 

Sarah Stec As a grad of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a degree in visual communications, Sarah has created design for such clients as Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Kraft and Absolut Vodka, when she worked onsite with some of Chicago’s finest agencies. Deciding to venture out on her own in 1998, she has built a network of clients ranging from local theatre groups to schools to restaurants under the name of Archetype. Visit www.archetypegd.com to view her portfolio.  

Mac Vaughey

Mac Vaughey is a Chicago-based lighting designer whose recent credits include work with Open Eye Productions,Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Infamous Commonwealth Theatre, Teatro Luna, 16th Street Theatre, and the Oracle Theatre. Mac is also theMaster Electrician for Pegasus Players, the Next Theatre, Timeline Theatre Company, American Theatre Company and the House Theatre of Chicago.

Scott Dray - Resident Photographer 

Scott is a photographer and theatre producer.  He has taken promotional and production photos for many local theatre companies, including Eclipse, Rasaka, City Lit, the Mercury, and the Side Project, as well as serving as Resident Photographer for IVP.  For the casting community, Scott produces the annual Actors' Scene Showcase with the Women’s Theatre Alliance of Chicago, where he serves as Secretary-Treasurer.  

Oakton Reynolds - Grant Writing Assistant

Oakton Reynolds is thrilled to be working with International Voices Project for the second time, after serving as a Research and Literary Intern back in 2014. Besides his work with the International Voices Project, Oakton is also a Post-Baccalaureate Fellow at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, where he is focusing on furthering his theatre management education. In addition to his fellowship, Oakton is also working as the Managing Producer of the Knox New Plays Festival. In his research, Oakton has focused on the growing trend of immersive theatrical experiences and how fostering audience agency affects theatrical design. On the design front, Oakton has served as a lighting designer on several productions, including The Clean House and Iphigenia 2.0. Oakton holds a B.A. in Theatre and Psychology from Knox College, and is from Wales, Wisconsin.