Jackalope Theatre was founded as a non-profit in the spring of 2008 and produced their first world premiere production in a converted garage in Chicago’s West side. After producing in rental venues across the city, Jackalope began a long-term residency at Broadway Armory Park in 2012. In 2013, Time Out Chicago named Jackalope the best up-and-coming theatre company and in 2014, Jackalope received the Broadway in Chicago Emerging Theater Award. The company's productions have steadily received award nominations, critical praise and warm houses of diverse patrons, solidifying Jackalope as a premier mid-sized venue for high quality theatrical experiences.
Jackalope responded to the 2020 pandemic shutdown with a reduction of productions while prioritizing community response, labor wage equity, new work development, and long-term strategic planning. After relieving their storefront venue, The Frontier, Jackalope expanded their venue in Broadway Armory Park. Season 13 introduced both live and pre-recorded performances under the New Frontier Series play development program and a digital version their annual Living Newspaper Festival. Season 14 introduced a new outdoor touring show of local stories called “Neighborhood Narratives”. Season 15 marked the return of in-person productions with the fall 2022 hit show AMONG THE DEAD.
The company was founded by Columbia College Chicago alumni Kaiser Ahmed, Gus Menary, Andrew Burden Swanson, and AJ Ware. Artistic Direction was first helmed by Kaiser Ahmed for seasons 1 through 3, with AJ Ware leading as Artistic Director from seasons 4 though 7. For seasons 8 through 12, Jackalope was led by Gus Menary. Kaiser Ahmed returned as Artistic Director starting 2020.