Participants from Goodman Theatre's Cindy Bandle Young Critics program (photo courtesy of Goodman Theatre).

Goodman Theatre recently welcomed members of 22 area high schools for the “Cindy Bandle Young Critics” (CBYC) program, a free program for 11th grade girls produced in partnership with the Association for Women Journalists (AWJ). Now in its seventh year, CBYC—named for the Goodman’s longtime press director—increases awareness of and participation in arts journalism. The 33 young critics attend bi-monthly meetings at the Goodman, where AWJ mentors help them to develop their critical voice and learn the mechanics of writing, professional journalism and issues pertinent to women and criticism. CBYC participants review and write feature stories about the productions in the Goodman’s season, as well as interview artists and staff. Alumni of CBYC have a 100% college matriculation rate, and many continue their work with theater and journalism, whether joining the Goodman’s Youth Arts Council, becoming a theater intern or majoring in theater or journalism.

   “It’s an exciting time as CBYC enters its seventh season,” said Cheryl Corley, lead mentor and past president of the AWJ-Chicago. “Our goal throughout has been to help these young women sharpen both their writing and critical thinking skills as they learn about theater and journalism. We craft workshops that cover a diverse range of topics—and it’s all done with a sense of fun!”

   Of this year’s 33 participants from Chicago and neighboring suburbs (including Oak Forest, Algonquin, Cicero, Hillside and Wilmette), 19 attend public school (eight of which are Chicago Public Schools), 13 attend private schools and one is home schooled. Participating high schools include Chicago High School for the Arts, Hinsdale Central High School, Walter Payton College Prep and Whitney M. Young Magnet High School.

   Cindy Bandle, whose tenure at the Goodman spanned two decades, served as the theater's press director until her death in 2005. During her time at the Goodman, the theater became one of the most important and respected not-for-profit resident theaters in the country. Bandle was the public face of the theater for multiple successful Goodman productions, including transfers to New York and abroad, the 1992 Tony Award for outstanding regional theater, the Goodman's 75th anniversary season, the campaign for the new Goodman and four Ebenezer Scrooges. She passed away in 2005, after a battle with breast cancer.

   The Dr. Scholl Foundation is the Foundation Supporter of the Cindy Bandle Young Critics Program.

Goodman Welcomes 33 Area High School "Young Critics" for Unique Arts Journalism Program

Participants to receive mentoring on participation in arts journalism