The Nest is the Prop’s residency program, designed as a place to incubate and new experimental works by emerging and interdisciplinary artists excited to explore personal process.

The program, designed and operated by persephone van ort, began in 2021 in the spirit of other Prop programs such as Rhinofest to create an alternative space for theater artists to embody their practices without the looming needs of an audience or production behind them.

The residency consists of a four-month-long conversation between residents and a staff member of the Prop. It includes a $1,000 stipend and production opportunities at Rhinofest.

2022 Residents

Claire Bauman (she/her) a director and choreographer who creates theatre, dance theatre, and performance art through devising practices and ensemble-based collaboration. She approaches her self-produced and devised work with an interdisciplinary and feminist lense. She has worked with Red Tape Theatre, Interrobang Theatre Project, Walkabout Theater, Metal Shop Performance Lab, Rhinofest, Broken Nose Collective, and Chicago Theatre Marathon. She is the Grants Manager and an ensemble member with Red Tape Theatre and an Institutional Giving Consultant with Artistic Fundraising Group. Claire has participated in DirectorsLabChicago, Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation Observership Program, and Hangar Theatre’s Directing Apprenticeship. She graduated from Vassar College and further trained at the Moscow Art Theater School.


Chelsea is an actor, artist, and designer based in Chicago, IL. Originally from a suburb of Boston, MA, she graduated in 2013 from Emerson College with a BA in Theatre and Writing. Since moving to Chicago in 2016, she has worked with Prop Thtr, The Story Theatre, AstonRep, and Sideshow Theatre, among others, as a performer and collaborator. Her writing has been featured in LOCUS, an exhibition and microgrant program presented by The Martin.

For the past year, she has been working as a UX/UI Designer, creating digital experiences that improve how humans interact with technology. During her residency with Prop Thtr, Chelsea hopes to study and explore how technology can benefit theatre makers and performers in creating radical theatrical experiences that are more inclusive, accessible, and innovative.


Inaugural Resident & Advisor

Our inaugural resident was Chicago playwright Ada Alozie, who developed the underpinnings of a passion project. Alozie also advises for the Nest.

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