Autumn McConnico grew up in Pensacola Florida and first became interested in theater in high school when she took a drama class to fill an elective. She expected to hate it and ended up loving it. When applying for colleges, Autumn’s drama teacher mentioned that Chicago was a great city for theater — so even though she planned to major in Chemistry, she figured this would also give her the option to be involved with theater on the side. Autumn loves the University of Chicago for its flexibility and support and because its theatre organizations are student-run. The school has a great infrastructure for allowing students to do what they want to do: if a project is proposed appropriately and there is student interest, the University finds a way to make it happen. But as much as she loves the University of Chicago, it turns out she hates chemistry labs. She loves the theory — how six carbon rings bend to multiple shapes, how two molecules interact depending on relationship — but putting clear liquids together and heating them turns out to be really tedious. So after a year of Organic Chemistry, Autumn spent her second year dancing around the theatre major — and by the end of that year, she had settled on it, with primary interest in arts in education and playwriting. Autumn is working on her BA in arts in education as she enters her fourth year and she has also had several plays produced in the U of C’s annual New Work Week festival. Last year, Autumn took the “Chicago Theatre: Budgets and Buildings” class at U of C and as part of that class, took a tour of Lifeline. She was engaged by our mission, particularly the KidSeries and dedication to adaptation. Lifeline seemed to be a great place for writers and she wanted to get a glimpse at how we approach adaptation.
Autumn loves to make books and even taught a bookbinding class for fellow students at U of C. You can often find her poking thru free book bins — both in search of reading material, and also in search of interesting covers that she can use to make her own books, thru one of several stitching methods she described to me!
Autumn recently received a grant for a performance installation at U of C. This is in development now and will be executed in the Fall. It will be based on the short story “The Mnemone” by Robert Sheckley. She will be making books and artifacts to create a sense of the world of that story, assisted by regular on-site performances which offer glimpses of the living characters. The project fills her with both joy and trepidation.
Autumn plans to stay in Chicago after graduation and will look for work in theater. As a long term goal, she hopes to form a theater company centered on arts in education, likely for high school students — and maybe she’ll even find a way to work in a little Chemistry.