Announcing the 2017 Ragdale Ring

The Adrian Smith Prize for the 2017 Ragdale Ring goes to “LIVING PICTURE” by T+E+A+M

Ragdale announces the winning design of the fifth annual Ragdale Ring competition. Amidst a field of national and international submissions, T+E+A+M, a young, internationally- recognized architectural collaborative based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, was selected by jury for their proposal of LIVING PICTURE–a contemporary interpretation of the original Ragdale Ring garden theatre designed by architect Howard Van Doren Shaw in 1912.

Click here to learn more.


Contemporary Redesign of Historic Performance Space at Artists’ Retreat

Ragdale, the nationally acclaimed artists’ residency in Lake Forest, Illinois invites
architects, designers and artists to apply for the opportunity to design, build, and exhibit the
2017 Ragdale Ring, a temporary outdoor theatre to house summer concerts, performances,
and events. Ragdale seeks proposals for a full-scale project and installation that consider
contemporary, fanciful and functional interpretations of the original Ragdale Ring, designed
by architect Howard Van Doren Shaw in 1912 as a garden theatre.




TOGETHER. Let’s support Ragdale. Where history hosts creativity.

giving tues

Dear Friends,

The first night I slept at Ragdale, I woke with a start to see a pulsing blue light on the ceiling. I felt no fear, only fascination, and watched the light until I fell asleep. In the kitchen the next morning, I was told the light was the ghost that lived in my room. I don’t know if the light was, indeed, a ghost; maybe it was simply good energy, the residue of all the love, thought, and devotion of the artists who’d lived there before me. Still, whatever it was, over the next three weeks, I was able take the risks with my work that I’d been afraid to take at home. I ran across the prairie, had intense conversations with other artists, and spent joyful days in the quiet, calm, separate space that Ragdale so generously affords its artists. The space is not only physical; it is psychic, as well, and I have carried it into my life these past few years. When the work isn’t going well, the idea that Ragdale exists in the world, feeding and nurturing other artists, is a great comfort.

Please help to ensure that the spirit of Ragdale is there to bolster and inspire other artists. Join me in supporting Ragdale’s 40th anniversary campaign.

With gratitude,

Lauren Groff
Author + Ragdale Alumna


“Tears of appreciation in my eyes as I sit down to write in this treasure trove
of hope and struggle and breakthroughs. I found melodies here. I found space. Freedom. Time. I found me here. I thought I was missing but here I am.”

Anne-Marie Akin, singer-songwriter
Chicago, IL

Announcing Lake Forest Reads: Ragdale Selection, “Fates and Furies” by Lauren Groff

Lake Forest Reads: Ragdale

One Book, One Community
2016 Selection: Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

Start reading now! Join the community in reading the book selected for the fourth
annual Lake Forest Reads: Ragdale, a month-long celebration in October.

October: Book club discussions

October 27: Conversation with Lauren Groff
7PM moderated by Professor Davis Schneiderman
Lake Forest College, Lily Reid Holt Memorial Chapel
555 N. Sheridan Road

October 28: Tea and Talk with Lauren Groff
10:30AM Ragdale, 1260 N. Green Bay Road

12:30PM Book-signing with the author
Lake Forest Book Store, 662 N. Western Avenue

More information at
Questions? Call Lake Forest Library at 847.819.4610

Lake Forest Reads Ragdale Announcement

Spotlight Series: Improv and Jazz

Our final Spotlight Series performance of the season:
Piven Improvisation Ensemble and Midwest Young Artists’ Merit Jazz Combo

Piven Improvisation Ensemble
The Piven Improvisation Ensemble uses Piven training techniques to create funny & transformative improvised performances. This ensemble debuted with a win at Stage 773’s Laugh Battle in September, followed by a hit series of salon performances at the Piven Theatre. This group of expert Piven players creates spontaneous, joyful, and sometimes thought-provoking work that invites the audience to experience the exhilaration of the creative process.

Piven Theatre Workshop
Founded by Byrne and Joyce Piven in the 60’s and located in Evanston, the Piven Theatre Workshop has trained leading actors and directors, including Joan and John Cusack, Jeremy Piven, Aidan Quinn, Sarah Ruhl ,among others. Its mission is to preserve a process of creative exploration that celebrates each individulal’s unique voice through an ensemble-based, community-oriented approach to theatre training and performance.

Merit Jazz Combo
The Merit Jazz Combo is the top improvising group at Midwest Young Artists. Selected based on ability and dedication, these scholarship high school musicians are on their first step to a professional career. Directed by Chris Madsen, this group has regular coaching with some of the best jazz musicians in Chicago and the country. Past guest coaches included John Clayton, Joan Hickey, Joel Spencer, Rajiv Halim, Marlene Rosenberg, Justin Thomas, Marques Carroll and Lage Lund. In January 2015 the Merit Combo will have the opportunity to perform with Jazz Drummer Matt Wilson.

Midwest Young Artists
Midwest Young Artists is a top rated youth music ensemble program and represents some of the best young musicians in the country. The program offers exceptional training in jazz, choral, chamber and orchestral instruction. MYA currently reaches more than 1,000 students from 74 communities in the metropolitan Chicago area with eight youth orchestras, more than 65 chamber music ensembles, four choral groups, an all-inclusive jazz program, a rock program, early childhood education, and classes in music theory and history. Students have the opportunity to travel abroad and to perform in major venues throughout Chicago and around the world. MYA graduates are accepted at the most selective conservatories, universities and colleges in the country.