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Who We Are

Mission Statement

Make-Believe Association is a community of artists and audiences who believe that telling stories together, and talking about what they mean, creates a more vibrant democracy. Our productions showcase Chicago’s finest actors, writers, and sound designers for a national audience; our public conversations draw on the insights of Chicago’s kaleidoscopic population. All our work aims to advance essential American ideals: pluralism, equality, and having a good time.

This mission guides all our work, from our preview performance (a reading of Thornton Wilder's The Long Christmas Dinner) to the audio dramas and conversations of the Make-Believe Podcast, and beyond.


founder and executive producer

Jeremy McCarter

Jeremy founded Make-Believe Association, after spending five years on the artistic staff of the Public Theater in New York, where he created and ran the Public Forum series of performances and conversations. He is the co-author of Hamilton: The Revolution, with Lin-Manuel Miranda, a #1 New York Times bestseller, and the author of Young Radicals, a nonfiction account of idealistic Americans fighting for their ideals, which The Wall Street Journal called "brilliant, even inspiring." He participated in the first Obama Foundation summit of young civic leaders, and served on the jury of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. He studied history at Harvard and lives in Chicago.

Board of Directors:

Roderick Branch

Mary Frances Budig

Emily Newhouse Dillingham

Jeremy McCarter

Andrea Wishom

Stephanie Ybarra

Our Supporters


The Chauncey and Marion Deering McCormick Family Foundation


The Poetry Foundation


Jim and Laurie Bay

Lynn Hauser and Neil Ross

Phil Lumpkin and Bill Tedford

John and Judy McCarter


Susan Ennis

Chris Hayes

Margo Lion