The Nerdery - Overnight Website Challenge

Chicago 2012, November 17-18

Bughouse Theater

Bughouse Theater is a place where artist of all stripes can meet, perform, give and take workshops and collaborate. It is also a place where people who appreciate art and artists of all stripes can come to see, support, and learn about the arts.

Bughouse's programs and performances include improv, stand up, solo performance, sketch, visual arts gallery events, children's improv and outreach. We take performances to schools, libraries and community organizations. We hold gatherings of playwrights, musicians, filmmakers, designers and dancers.

We are a non-profit club organization. Our "clubhouse", 2054 W. Irving Park, is a place where our members can perform, rehearse, display their work, or simply stop in and see what is going on. There are no restrictions on membership. Anyone is welcome to join. We have an expanding membership of roughly 200 artists and supporters.

What new functionality we are looking for

We would like for members to be able comment or post ideas or reviews or some sort of content to our site. We would like for members to be able to schedule performances and rehearsals on the web. If we could sign up members online, that would be great. Some of this would involve us taking payment over the web. Security and the privacy of our members is more important though, so depending on the risk involved, we could do without the e-commerce aspects.

We would like for their to be content that is derived from the live performances or showings that we do or that is designed to promote the live events. The goal is to get people out to the theater to experience what we are doing, so content that is made for the web is less important to me than content that is made at the theater and available via the web. So, sharing ideas on how to do that would be great.

How the new functionality will help

We want our website to help us grow our membership and allow those members to see what each other is up to at the theater. Anyway our website can help make connections between artists is a good thing. We want our website to be a way that the public can find out about us and be inspired to join us for events and workshops.

How our organization will use the technology

Who will use the technology

22 Messages from Supporters

2012-10-19 05:14:28 UTC
Ashley Kirby

Bughouse, in a very short amount of time, has become such an amazing venue for a variety of artists: Improvisors, playwrights, actors, musicians, painters, potters, jewelry makers, even magicians. They are truly non-disciminatory in their support of the arts, and giving people a creative voice. From children's theatre to improv, to art shows, Bughouse is a truly unique experience. So many venues in Chicago limit themselves, but Bughouse provides opportunity to anyone who has an ambition to create something and share it with people. Their willingness to support the community through things such as food drives, and even volunteer based children's programs based in the arts is genuinely commendable.

2012-10-19 13:21:32 UTC
Mark Piebenga

Bughouse is an exciting, up-and-coming space for performers of all stripes to put up their work in a supportive and accepting community of like-minded artists and audience. It has an intimacy and friendliness generated in part by it's 'clubhouse' identity that makes it completely unique in the storefront theatre and improvisation scene, and I feel lucky to be able to be part of it.

2012-10-19 17:14:12 UTC
Andrea Black

Bughouse is a much needed breath of fresh air. It's a place where people are able to navigate, show, and grow creatively in a supportive and mutually celebrated environment. It's a place where one is able to truly navigate and find their own voice. Community is the center of everything they do, and is truly reflected, not only in their mission statement, but in their warm hearted and inviting relationship with people and their spirit of servitude.

2012-10-19 18:24:04 UTC
Jeff G

the bughouse is very open minded and gives a space for artists of all kinds to share their art form and perform.

2012-10-19 19:11:36 UTC
Josh Gutstein

I just love the club like atmosphere and wide range of acts. It's the most populist exclusive (non-exclusive) club I have ever been a part of. I'll keep going back for more shows.

2012-10-23 14:50:01 UTC
Patrick Kent

For me, the value of this theater is it's openness to different sorts of entertainment. I've enjoyed story-telling, magic acts, one woman shows, stand up. I love the diversity.

2012-10-23 14:56:46 UTC

Joe and Shelby, the folks who run Bug House, are kind, generous and open to diverse forms of creativity. Their space reflects that same attitude. I've seen shows there, bought jewelry and art there and been welcomed at every turn.

2012-10-23 14:57:03 UTC
Patrick Cunningham

Bughouse is such a great resource and prime example of the sort of creativity and "get stuff done" attitude that helps Chicago's arts scene thrive! So happy to be neighbors.

2012-10-23 14:58:46 UTC
Patrick O'Shaughnessey

I love the warm and welcoming atmosphere that pervades Bughouse. The shows that I have seen there were highly entertaining, and the staff made sure that everyone, performers and audience alike had a wonderful time.

2012-10-23 15:07:45 UTC
Alan L.

Chicago-style can refer to three things that matter: Hot Dogs, Pizza, and Improvisation.

With a constantly growing community, improvisers and sketch comedians are often competing for space to play while simultaneously attempting to support each other on stage. The Bughouse is a theater that offers free playtime to groups of all skill levels and helps to encourage the sort of mindset that improvisation is about at its core--enthusiastically and selflessly trying to make other people look good. For helping to foster that mentality and asking for nothing in return, I am a big fan of Bughouse.

2012-10-23 15:37:54 UTC
Tracy Haskins

Bughouse is going beyond the traditional performance space and is welcoming the talent of many different facets of art, it is also organized in a unique way to bring performers and other artists together for others to enjoy. Basically it is creating a community for people of all backgrounds and talents to be a part of, and I am proud to be one of those people. When you come you know you will see a good show, and have a chance to be part of something whether you are an artist or just a lover of art.

2012-10-23 15:38:36 UTC
Charley Carroll

Bughouse is the kind of theater that every neighborhood dreams of having. A great resource of art and entertainment with amazing management and a great feel.

2012-10-23 16:07:29 UTC
Amanda C

What an amazing theater. Shelby and Joe have such vision, and they brought it together in such a beautiful way, using all their tremendous skills. Their children's shows in particular are a beacon, where kids can truly play along and not just watch passively as they are expected to do with most children's theater. Shelby and Joe's passion for new and exciting interactive entertainment and art lives at Bughouse.

2012-10-23 16:58:26 UTC
Holly P.

Bughouse is an awesome space run by great people who genuinely care about fostering creativity. It is a great asset to the neighborhood and the creative community!

2012-10-23 17:31:45 UTC
Carrie Barrett

Chicago needs Bughouse!!! There is no other performance/arts venue like it. It brings Chicagoans (both performers and audiences) together.

2012-10-23 18:27:25 UTC
Chris Rathjen

Bughouse is asset the city and its neighborhood, it brings a wide array of artistic performances that you would rarely see under one roof. Plus their children's show is an amazing opportunity for kids to be actively engaged in their entertainment.

2012-10-23 18:44:35 UTC
Jeff G

Chicago has a great history of store front theater and Bughouse is a welcomed addition to this community. It's a wonderful space where artists of all backgrounds can come together to create new works for everyone to enjoy.

2012-10-23 21:12:01 UTC
Neal Dandade

Shelby and Joe's work with the Bughouse Theater is vitally important to the vibrant Chicago improv community. If it wasn't for people like them, there would be no stages in this city to cultivate the talent that Chicago's improv scene is known for. They deserve a lot for their hard work. Help them help you!!!!! Support Bughouse Theater!!!!

2012-10-24 00:59:23 UTC
Leo Garcia

Having been a backer of the Bughouse Theater since its inception, albeit as someone mostly on the periphery of the community, it's been a joy to watch it grow into a space where all artists and entertainers are welcome to perform, and where anyone can feel welcome to attend.

Joe (Burton) has said that the Bughouse moniker stems from Chicago’s old Bughouse Square (itself derived from slang referring to mental health facilities), a celebrated open-air free-speech center where people could speak their minds without fear. With the Bughouse, he and Shelby have achieved just that: A place where artists can be fearless, a safe environment full of soon-to-be friends and nothing-but-supportive peers.

2012-10-25 02:27:33 UTC
Carrie Grace

The Bughouse Theater begets a sense of community and inclusivity that fosters creative expression in all of its forms. Joe and Shelby are open, supportive, and positive humans and their angle on life is exemplified in how they run the theater. I am honored to be a part of it.

2012-10-25 11:51:25 UTC
Gabe G.

Bughouse has such a unique environment, Joe and Shelby have done an amazing job creating a space for all to enjoy. The value added by the theater to the surrounding community is immense!

2012-10-26 00:39:19 UTC
Nik G.

Before I moved away from Chicago I got to witness Joe and Shelby little by little turn Bughouse Theater into a reality. Even before the theater opened its doors they were building the supportive and diverse community that now fills its walls. Bughouse is a place I feel truly excited to come home to, spend an evening with friends, and watch artists of all kinds grow.

Our Mission

Our mission is: To foster public appreciation of the arts and the artistic growth of our members To facilitate collaboration of a diverse group of artists across all media and disciplines.