Waltzing Mechanics

Live Documentaries Starting Public Dialogues

WALTZING MECHANICS PRODUCES DOCUMENTARY THEATRE INSPIRED BY REAL PEOPLE TELLING STORIES ABOUT THEIR LIVES. USING METHODS OF PERFORMANCE ETHNOGRAPHY, WE FACILITATE DIALOGUES AMONG OUR AUDIENCES AND WITHIN OUR COMMUNITIES.

Founders Thomas Murray, Keely Leonard, and Zack Florent.

Founders Thomas Murray, Keely Leonard, and Zack Florent.

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Waltzing Mechanics was founded in 2010 by Thomas Murray, Keely Leonard, and Zachary Florent. Graduates of Ball State University, the three shared a passion for chamber theatre, adapted texts, and performance ethnography. They built a company dedicated to creating original documentary theatre. Their first show, EL Stories, was a critical hit and became a successful late night series at the Greenhouse Theater Center, spanning 28 different editions over six years and featuring hundreds of Chicago actors and original stories. 

As Waltzing Mechanics’ collection of live documentaries continues to grow, we celebrate the unique values of documentary theatre in education, civic planning, and public dialogue. While our roots remain in Chicago, we are committed to sharing our stories regionally and with audiences poised for conversations around social change.


THE mechanics

Thomas Murray, executive director

Dee Dee Batteast

Amy Hopkins

Keely Leonard

bob prescott

Kaitlin Taylor

carinne Uslar

zack florent and kanomé jones, ensemble emeritus


board of directors

Nicolette varan, president - J.P. MORGAN CHASE Bank, N.A.

thomas murray, secretary AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

tyler core, Treasurer - tyler core shoots, PEOPLE!