2023-24 Theatre Season


More about the “Panther’s Development:

“Panther in the Sky” has had several readings at Howard Area Community Center, Insight Arts, and Malcolm X College. Excerpts of the play have also been performed at different venues, among them at visual artist Cesar Conde’s exhibit in 2016 called “The Bang Bang Project,” which was his response to the issues of police brutality and racism in the judicial and police system, and at Chicago Danztheatre’s “Art.Heals.” in May 2022. CIRCA-Pintig Executive Director Ginger Leopoldo noted, “At every reading and performance, the diverse audiences, many of whom impacted by gun violence, gave positive feedback and believed the play should be shared with a wider audience.”

Lani T. Montreal is an educator, writer, performer, and community activist who wrote this play based on news reports and stories shared by families and friends of those who have lost children and young adults to gun violence.  This documentary theater style aims to engage people in conversations about gun violence and its toll on the Chicago community.  The production will also include a curated art exhibition. Montreal started writing “Panther in the Sky” in 2009 when there were recorded numbers of 290 shootings and 34 gun-related deaths of public school students in Chicago. At the time, she lived in Albany Park, also beset by gun violence, although perhaps not as frequent as in the south side. She’s also a writing professor at Malcolm X College, where students often share experiences of loss and trauma from gun violence. “As an educator and a writer, I felt compelled to respond to the issue by writing a play about it,” Montreal stated. “My choice to portray the stories of the mothers who lost their children to gun violence was also influenced by being an adoptive mother of two children of color.” She invites community members to be part of the production as artists, activists, and/or audience members. “I have always believed in the power of the arts as a way to build and galvanize marginalized communities towards meaningful change.” Among Montreal’s plays are, Sister Outlaw (Pintig), Nanay (Freestreet and CIRCA-Pintig), Alien Citizen (CIRCA-Pintig), and Looking for Darna (CIRCA-Pintig). 

Directed by Mignon McPherson Stewart, former Michael Maggio Directing Fellow whose directing credits include, Othello (Babes with Blades); Breath, Boom (Eclipse Theatre Company); Wine in the Wilderness/Florence, The Trip (ETA); Everything is Permitted (Collaboraction); Stage Black, MiLK and Fascia (MPAACT)

Activism at performance events: For 23 years, Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble has produced and created disciplinary social-justice theater with activism at our performances and events.  At each event, there will be an art exhibition and postcard writing station for people to write pre-addressed cards to legislators and activists working to end gun violence. CIRCA-Pintig has been working in the immigrant and refugee community for over 30 years, sharing the stories of those in need. We are co-producing this event.



Ginger Leopoldo (312) 956-9489


CIRCA Pintig presents Daryo’s All-American Diner, a new play about family and friends coming together in times of crisis!


Chicago, IL – The pandemic brought the entire world to its knees and the challenges that it poses after a two-year wrath unravels the delicate fabric upon which our moral and cultural values find its true humanity. For its 32nd theater season, CIRCA Pintig, the Filipino American community arts organization, brings to the stage the story of the Daryo family in the fictional town of Lakeside, Illinois and how a tragic incident transforms their sense of humanity and community. Written by Conrad A. Panganiban, Daryo’s All American Diner is a new play about resilience seen through the lens of a Filipino family who struggles to keep a family business open at the height of the pandemic. May, the 40-year old daughter who manages the diner is torn between keeping the business afloat despite mounting expenses or sell the business altogether. As she tiptoes on navigating these choices, her mother April and her African American surrogate aunt Alberta suffer the brunt of racial hatred. May is forced to revisit her decision as family and friends redefine what binds them together as a community. The play sets the tone for how a traumatic act of violence can lead to an act of grace when Daryo family and friends find new joy in honoring the legacy of Augusto Daryo, the late father whose culinary prowess makes Daryo’s All American Diner ‘all American’.


Directed by Luis Pascasio, the play finds its strength through a multiracial assembly of characters creating a montage on which to view the ongoing anti-Asian hate from a perspective that engages cross-cultural healing and understanding. Cast includes Heather Jencks, Ginger Leopoldo, RJ Silva, Cary Shoda, Amanda Payne and KC Khan with music and sound design by Demetrio Maguigad and set design by Larry Leopoldo. In partnership with the Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble (CDE), the play is double-billed with CDE’s production of The Wasteland and will go on stage on May 5-6, 12-13 and 19-20, Friday-Saturday, 8pm at The Auditorium of Ebenezer Lutheran Church, 1650 W. Foster in Chicago.


This production of CIRCA Pintig is supported in part by Asian Giving Circle, Crossroads Fund, DCASE City Arts Grant, Illinois Arts Council, an agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, Asian Improv aRts Midwest, and Resist. For tickets and more inquiries, visit www.cricapintig.org or email GingerLeopoldo, Executive Director at ginger@circapintig.org.

TICKETS: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-wasteland-and-daryos-all-american-diner-tickets-579219750867




Ginger Leopoldo, ginger@ circapintig, CIRCA-Pintig, (312) 956-9489 Rooshey Hasnain, roosheyh@uic.edu, UIC, (312) 413-0416


UIC’s WAANT Project to Hold Free Creative Arts, Storytelling, and Information Sharing Event on April 25 at UIC. 

Chicago, IL –  Since 2014, community arts organization CIRCA-Pintig has worked closely with Professor Rooshey Hasnain at UIC  to promote innovative coursework, story-collecting workshops, and community dialogues. The goals of these collaborations have been to promote greater understanding of the challenges faced by Asian immigrant students, families, and communities–especially those living with disabilities and mental health challenges—and to celebrate their successes.

Thanks to a UIC Chancellor’s Award for Creative Activity Program, as of Summer 2023, CIRCA-Pintig, Digit al Tapestries, disabled artist-scholar, Chunshan (Sandie) Yi,  Podcaster Randy Kim, Professor Hasnain, and a student-led advisory board have collaborated on a new initiative called WAANT ( Wellness through Asian American Narratives and Theater).  

On Tuesday, April 25, a culminating exhibit, resource tables, and performances/presentations will be held at the UIC Richard Daley Library (Café Room & Room 1-470). The event will kick off at 10 am andconclude with a reception in the evening.

UIC students who have been workshopping all semester will be sharing individually adapted stories of Asian and Asian American experiences with mental health and disability. In addition to these multimedia, creative works, interactive stations and art displays will be on site along with on- and off-campus resource tables.

The event is free and attendees are welcome to drop in anytime. Organizers are requesting RSVP and registration  at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/uic-waant-production-rsvp-tickets-596374761967

A special thanks to the UIC Chancellor’s Award for Creative Activity Grant for funding the WAANT program under grant #.

This production is supported by a UIC Chancellor’s Award, by Asian Giving Circle, Crossroads Fund, DCASE City Arts Grant, Illinois Arts Council, an agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, Asian Improv aRts Midwest, Resist, the Arts and Culture Project at Access Living, and Shirley Ryan Abilities Lab.  

For more information, visit www.cricapintig.org or send email  to Ginger Leopoldo (ginger@circapintig.org) or Professor Rooshey Hasnain, roosheyh@uic.edu

Event website and registration: https://waant-program.ahs.uic.edu/



Contact: Angela Mascarenas (718) 300-8954


‘TAO PO’: Personal Narratives and Community Healing


Chicago, IL – CIRCA-PINTIG, a 32-year-old community theater and popular education organization based in Chicago leads the film tour of Tao Po: Love for Humanity World Tour in the United States. Tao Po, a film produced and directed by performer-activist Mae Paner aka Juana Change is a masterpiece that delves into the reality of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines. In a time of great division and extreme polarization, we often forget the very thing that unites us – our humanity. Tao Po which literally means “I am human” explores the visceral emotions, innermost thoughts, and personal journey of those caught in the crossfire of the bloody drug war in the Philippines.


Our primary goal, says CIRCA-PINTIG founder Angela Mascarenas, is to use the film as a tool of conversation and collective reflection about the human cost of the war on drugs. At the same time, we hope to find a creative way to link this with human rights issues anywhere in the world. And with post-screening discussions, Talkbacks, scheduled in different cities, we hope to engage all who have viewed the film in safe and honest conversations and exchanges of views however different they may be. In doing so, it is also our hope that all who participate may be enriched and that the future that we all aspire to may be sparked by our own conversations.

The partial list of Film Screenings and Talkbacks includes Chicago (4/15), New York (4/22), Washington, DC (4/23), Los Angeles (4/29), SoCal (4/30), Las Vegas (5/6) and Phoenix (5/7).

A film’s trailer is available to view on CIRCA-PINTIG’s Youtube Channel at 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00SAa24pEfc (Mae Paner’s reflection)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljLcifHdwoE. For more information, contact angela@circapintig.org or call (718) 300-8954.

SUPPORT HERE: https://circapintig.networkforgood.com/projects/190475-tao-po-2023-us-tour#_=_