Laura Wiley, Co-Founder of Albany Park Theatre Project, Dies at 41

Obituaries   Laura Wiley, Co-Founder of Albany Park Theatre Project, Dies at 41
Laura Wiley, the co-founder and co-director of Chicago's acclaimed Albany Park Theater Project, died June 28. The cause was ovarian cancer. She was 41.

In 1997, Ms. Wiley and her husband David Feiner, both graduates of the Yale School of Drama, founded The Albany Park Theater Project, a youth ensemble company made up mostly of high-school-age students. Multi-ethnic Albany Park community lies 10 miles outside downtown Chicago. More than half of the neighborhood's 50,000 residents are immigrants. Half the population is Hispanic, 19 percent Asian, four percent black and 23 percent "other."

The kids would participate in the conception and creation of the productions. Themes included everything form political persecution to teen pregnancy. The group typically presented two full-scale productions per year at the cultural center Eugene Field. The shows were critically acclaimed.

"Real teenagers, real community, real theater, real stories," was the stated motto of the enterprise. "Most importantly," Ms. Wiley told the Chicago Tribune in 2000, "this is a place where young people are valued and where they can experience supportive peer relationships."

The funeral will be held on June 20 at Shaare Tikvah B'nai Zion, 5800 N. Kimball Ave, Chicago at noon. The burial will follow immediately at Memorial Park Cemetery, 9900 Gross Point Road, Skokie.

Shiva will be at David and Laura's home on June 20, after the funeral until 9 PM; June 21 from 6:30 to 9 PM, and June 22 from 4 PM until sundown.

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