Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s World’s Stage Series
Presents Timely American Premiere of

A Site-specific Performance
Revealing the Brutality of Sex Trafficking


May 11–26, 2013

CST Partners with British Council to Co-host Conversation:
Current Approaches to Ending Sex Trafficking

Chicago—April 18, 2013—Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) presents the American premiere of Roadkill, a powerful, award-winning account of the terrifying complexities of contemporary sex trafficking, conceived and directed by Cora Bissett. Based on real experiences, this explosive, multimedia story of a young woman trafficked into prostitution combines direct, chilling performances with video and animation to create a site-specific experience that is both intimate and immersive. CST’s World’s Stage Series presents this timely production in Chicago May 11–26, 2013, just as local public debate on human trafficking is growing with the recent legislation in Springfield, addressing the complex and growing problem of persons trafficked into prostitution in the State of Illinois. In conjunction with the American premiere of Roadkill, the British Council partners with CST to present a free, live-streamed dialogue between Chicago and Nairobi, Kenya, titled Current Approaches to Ending Sex Trafficking: From the Local, National, and Global Front Lines on May 2, 2013 at Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier. The discussion will feature panelists Leif Coorlim, Editorial Director of The CNN Freedom Project; Veronica Zeitlin, Counter-Trafficking and Gender Adviser for the Human Rights Team Bureau of Democracy within the US Agency for International Development’s Conflict & Humanitarian Assistance; and Rachel Durchslag, Executive Director of Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE).

The critically acclaimed Roadkill, conceived and directed by Cora Bissett with text by Stef Smith, begins on a bus where 20 audience members accompany a young girl, Mary, and her ‘Auntie’ to Mary’s new home. Having just arrived from Nigeria, Mary hopes to learn English and land a good job one day. Staged in a Chicago apartment, the production places the audience directly in the young woman’s world, witnessing in close quarters how her hopes of a new life are suddenly destroyed as she is brutally forced into captivity and the world of sex trafficking. The groundbreaking production is a deeply affecting work that takes even the most seasoned theatergoer on a revelatory journey likely beyond their comfort zone. With brave performances of “shattering intensity” (Evening Standard), Roadkill has been met with critical acclaim in Glasgow, Paris, London (2012 Olivier Award) and Edinburgh, where it was the only production in Edinburgh Festival Fringe history to win every major theater award—including the Amnesty Award for Freedom of Expression.

The cast of Roadkill includes Mercy Ojelade, Adura Onashile and John Kazek. The creative team includes Set and Costume Designer Jessica Brettle, Lighting Designer Paul Sorley, Video Artist Kim Beveridge, Assistant Director/Sound Designer Harry Wilson and Movement by Natasha Gilmore. Roadkill is produced by Pachamama Productions and Richard Jordan Productions Ltd, in association with Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh.

Roadkill comes to Chicago in the midst of a state-wide public awareness campaign aimed at shifting law enforcement's attention to sex traffickers and people who buy sex, while proposing a network of support for survivors of the sex trade. The campaign, End Demand Illinois, brings forward public dialogue on the issue of sexual exploitation and advocates that prostituted people be considered victims of human trafficking in need of services, rather than as criminal offenders. The passage of SB1872 in the Illinois Senate on Friday, April 12 moves the bill supporting the changed law forward to the Illinois House of Representatives.

Roadkill joins CST’s 2013 World’s Stage Series lineup of bold theatrical events from across the globe, inciting discussion on issues of searing social and political importance through the work of internationally acclaimed theater artists. In January, Belarus Free Theatre brought their provocative production of Minsk, 2011: A Reply to Kathy Acker to Chicago Shakespeare, exploring the nature of sex in one of Europe’s last surviving dictatorships; In February, CST partnered with The Market Theatre of Johannesburg to premiere Cadre, a new work by Omphile Molusi exploring the journey of a young South African man struggling to navigate his way through the tumultuous political landscape of apartheid; and June 25–29, 2013, Chicago Shakespeare will host Piccolo Teatro di Milano's Inner Voices, written in 1948 as a reaction to the post-war period in Italy, as part of the Year of Italian Culture in America in collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Cultural Affairs and the Italian Institute of Culture in Chicago

Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s limited two-week World’s Stage Series presentation of Roadkill runs May 11–26, 2013. A limited number of tickets are on sale now for $45. Audience Notice: The production contains adult themes, hard language, depictions of violence and sexually oriented nudity. Roadkill is not recommended for young or sensitive audiences. For more information, please call the CST Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit

The British Council and Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s dialogue on Current Approaches to Ending Sex Trafficking will take place Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 9 a.m. at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. The panel discussion is FREE and open to the public. Reservations are required. Please call the CST Box Office at 312-595-5600 or visit

Chicago Shakespeare Theater is a leading international theater company, known for vibrant productions that reflect Shakespeare’s genius for intricate storytelling, musicality of language and depth of feeling for the human condition. Recipient of the Regional Theatre Tony Award®, Chicago Shakespeare’s work has been recognized internationally with three of London’s prestigious Laurence Olivier Awards, and by the Chicago theater community with 70 Joseph Jefferson Awards for Artistic Excellence. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson, CST is dedicated to producing extraordinary classic productions, new works and family fare, unlocking Shakespeare’s work for educators and students, and serving as Chicago’s cultural ambassador through its World’s Stage Series.

Chicago Shakespeare’s collaboration with Scotland’s Cora Bissett for the American premiere of Roadkill is emblematic of the wide scope of work presented through the World’s Stage Series—a program that brings the world’s most exciting theatrical events to Chicago audiences and presents Chicago Shakespeare’s work abroad. Chicago Shakespeare has collaborated with more than 600 international artists representing 16 countries on five continents, engaging audiences in a dialogue with established and emerging theater artists from around the globe. Strengthening its reputation as a leader in cultural diplomacy, CST regularly partners with respected international affairs organizations, including the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Chicago Consular Corps, Chicago Sister Cities and World Business Chicago. For more information, visit




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