Pegasus Players began in June 1978, growing out of original student writings performed by both faculty and students at the City Colleges. Touring began in order to fill the need of the Uptown area and to reach groups that had no access to live theatre. After becoming incorporated in 1979, the group found a home in a rented space in the Edgewater Presbyterian Church, allowing it to continue its commitment to residents of the community. In 1984, the theatre relocated to the O’Rourke Center for the Performing Arts on the Truman College campus, located in the heart of the Uptown community. In recognition of Pegasus’ commitment to the community, the City College system is making this modernly equipped facility, which previously stood largely unused, available at no charge. Pegasus is, however, an independent, autonomous theatre company.
The move from a 90-seat house to a 250-seat, $4-million modern facility led to an amazing growth for Pegasus, permitting the theatre to serve larger groups than ever before. Since the group began its residency at the O’Rourke Center, more than 310,000 people have seen Pegasus’ shows. This has created a unique partnership between a not-for-profit, community-based theatre and a public institution, each using the other’s individual resources for the betterment of the community and contributing significantly to a positive image of the Uptown area.
Recognition for artistic excellence has prevailed throughout Pegasus’ thirty-year history. The company has received seventy-seven Joseph Jefferson Citations, more than any other Chicago theatre in this category. The experience Pegasus provides for Chicago artists is invaluable. Last season, the theater employed more than 200 actors, musicians, designers, and technicians, many of them new talent.
Pegasus is committed to providing a quality arts experience for those who would normally be denied it, such as inner-city school students and low-income senior citizens. The Joseph Jefferson Committee awarded the first-ever Jeff Citation to an outreach program to Pegasus for its “extraordinary success in serving Chicago’s disenfranchised, bringing the arts to the young, the elderly, the disabled, and the disenfranchised.” The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs recognized the Young Playwrights Festival by a special cash award for “outstanding contribution to the arts and outreach efforts to expand the accessibility of high quality arts experiences.”