The Steppenwolf ensemble first began performing in the mid-1970s in the basement of a Highland Park, IL church, the ambitious brainchild of three high school and college friends: Jeff Perry, Terry Kinney and Gary Sinise. Fast forward 40 years and the Steppenwolf Theatre Company has become the nation’s premier ensemble theatre—redefining the landscape of acting and performance. The ensemble has grown to 49 members who represent a remarkable generation of actors, directors and playwrights. Thrilling, powerful, groundbreaking productions from Balm in Gilead and Grapes of Wrath to August: Osage County—and accolades that included the National Medal of Arts and twelve Tony® Awards—have made the theatre legendary. Steppenwolf’s artistic force remains rooted in the original vision of its founders: an artist-driven theatre, whose vitality is defined by its sharp appetite for groundbreaking, innovative work.

Steppenwolf operates as a not-for-profit organization relying on community support to produce or present up to 16 plays and nearly 700 performances, readings and other events every year on our three stages. The theatre’s artistic and educational programs draw a multi-generational audience of nearly 200,000 from the greater metropolitan Chicago area, while our impact reaches well beyond this region with productions that tour nationally and internationally.

Our Mission

Steppenwolf Theatre Company strives to create thrilling, courageous and provocative art in a thoughtful and inclusive environment.

We succeed when we disrupt your routine with experiences that spark curiosity, empathy and joy.

We invite you to join our ensemble as we navigate, together, our complex world.

Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA)

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is committed to creating an organization that deeply values and draws strength from the many and varied stories and storytellers that make up our society. We will work to create a community that at its core is rooted in inclusion, diversity, equity and access.



Steppenwolf is committed to year-round programming that engages our multi-generational audience with thought-provoking productions and helps develop new plays, new audiences and new artists for the future of American theatre.

Beginning in 2016/17, Steppenwolf expands artistic programming to include a seven-play Season; a two-play Steppenwolf for Young Adults season; Visiting Company engagements; and LookOut, a new multidisciplinary performance series.

Front Bar

Located in front of the 1700 Theater, Front Bar is a warm, creative space to grab a drink, have a bite or meet up with friends and collaborators, day or night. Open Tuesday through Saturday from 8am to midnight, and 10am to close on Sunday (based on performance schedule), Front Bar serves artisanal coffee and espresso by Passion House Coffee Roasters featuring food by The Goddess and Grocer.

Complimentary parking for Front Bar is available in the 1700 N Halsted St lot from 7am–5pm on weekdays, and 7am–12pm on weekends.

Front Bar was developed with consultation from Steppenwolf’s friends and neighbors, Boka Restaurant Group (BRG), along with interior designers Karen Herold and Kayce Carter of Studio K and the marketing and design firm Grip. 


Our one-of-a-kind special events are unique opportunities to celebrate the work seen on our stages. We endeavor to create an environment where our various communities can come together to talk about the ideas expressed in our work and to share their unique experiences.

We look forward to our annual Gala celebration this spring.

Outreach & Education

At Steppenwolf, we believe it is important "to share something personal, authentic and pragmatic" about our values and methods. By accomplishing this, we not only contribute something of value to the world but, in turn, provide nourishment for our own growth as artists and arts administrators. For more information, you can visit the Education section of our website or choose from the programs below.

Our education and Outreach programs include: