In Progress: Derek McPhatter

  • The Commons
    Second Floor, East Side
    220 E Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

Featured images

Derek Lee McPhatter, SERIOUS ADVERSE EFFECTS. Workshop Production at The National Black Theatre, April 2018. Directed by Mary Hodges. Starring (left to right): Patrice Bell, Abigail Ramsey, Christopher M. Smith and Nadia Brown. Set Design: Izmir Ickbal; Projections: Lianne Arnold; Sound Design: Emily Auciello. Photo: Garlia C. Jones-Ly
Derek Lee McPhatter, BRING THE BEAT BACK. Concert presentation at JACK, directed by Christopher Burris. Featured in photo: Charles Curtis, Julius Hollingsworth and Matthew Truss. Photo: Christine Jean Chambers


The works of Chicago playwright Derek McPhatter eschew realistic narratives for more futuristic and fantastical takes on the human experience explored most often via the lenses of race, gender, sexuality, and technology. Hear new lines from a play in progress as he presents a live reading in the Commons.

In Progress is a series of public programs designed to give artists, thinkers, and curators a platform for developing new works, and to give patrons a glimpse into the creative process. In Progress is organized by Curator January Parkos Arnall and Assistant Curator Christy LeMaster with the Performance and Public Practice teams.

Featured image of the artist

Derek Lee McPhatter
Photo: Nikki B

Artist Bio


Derek Lee McPhatter is committed to new work at the intersection of race, class, gender, sexuality, and technology. He recently completed a Chicago Dramatists Tutterow Fellowship where he developed Real Talk with Auntie B, a satire on American ambition, and also completed an I Am Soul residency at the National Black Theatre in Harlem where he developed Serious Adverse Effects, a futuristic play on the technologies of healing. Bring the Beat Back, his queer, black, sci-fi, music theatre experience, features music developed in collaboration with avery r. young, Manchildblack of the Illustrious Blacks, Alexa Grae, and others. Outside of theater, McPhatter has developed several digital media projects, including HIVE, a sci-fi anthology series cocreated with Stephanie Jeter and Tim Maupin. Other organizations that have supported McPhatter’s work: OTV | Open Television, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Otherworld Theatre Company, the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, and The Drama League.