Exhuming Johnny at Chicago Cultural Center

Exhuming Johnny combines extreme physical exertion and sci-fi speculation to ask difficult questions about the effort of living in the present and our dreams of escaping to the past. How much sweat does it take to change the course of history? This new performance remixes Goat Island with Twin Peaks on a trip back to 1991.


April 19 and 20 at 7pm, and April 21 at 2pm

Sidney R. Yates Gallery

Chicago Cultural Center

Chicago, Illinois

Duration: 90 minutes (no intermission)


Created and devised by Robert Walton and Company


For more information click here.





Exhuming Johnnyis one of nine performances commissioned by the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) as part of the exhibition goat island archive – we have discovered the performance by making it. The exhibition is on view at the Chicago Cultural Center through June 23, 2019.

As part of the exhibition, the Sidney R. Yates Gallery is transformed into a to-scale re-imagining of Goat Island’s former rehearsal space – a church gymnasium. Bryan Saner designed and oversaw the construction of the performance frame.

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. For more information, visit cityofchicago.org/dcase.

A work-in-progress of this performance was presented on February 21, 2019, at Hyde Park Arts Center as part of the IN>TIME Festival.


Robert Walton(Director, goat island archivecommissioned artist) is a conceptual, media and performance artist whose work includes theatre, installation, writing and interactive art. Robert co-founded two Scottish arts organizations, Reader Performance Group and Fish & Game, whose work has toured in the UK, Europe and Australia. Robert trained in Theatre at Dartington College of Arts (England) and as a technologist in The University of Glasgow’s Master of Science in Information Technology program. He moved to Australia in 2011 to take up a lectureship in Theatre at the Victorian College of Arts, University of Melbourne where he is currently coordinator of the Master of Dramaturgy program. More info at: robertwalton.net


Catie Rutledge(Assistant Director) is a Chicago-based artist who makes work that engages with experiences of grief, sexuality, and pop desire through practices of performance, video, writing, painting, and installation. She received a BFA with honors from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2015) and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2018). She has exhibited and performed nationally and internationally, including at Grace Exhibition Space (NYC), 65GRAND (Chicago) and Projet Pangée (Montreal). She is currently working on a body of work that draws connections between the emo music she was obsessed with as a teenager and the experience of losing her father to suicide. See her work at www.catierutledge.comor on Instagram @catierutledge


Callum Grant(Performer) is a performer, musician, actor, writer, composer, director, and multi-purpose hack. He’s performed around the globe as a Blueman in Blue Man Group since 2005. Callum’s band duo Whisky Talesrecently released their new album ‘Key’ on all platforms. Heenjoys scoring projects from indie movies to live improv collaborations with second city and iO alumni. He first worked with Robert Walton fifteen years ago as a student at the Royal Scottish Conservatoire where he earned a 1stClass Honours in Contemporary Theatre Practice. Callum is delighted to be reunited with Walton and collaborating again through the powers of the vortex.

Twitter: @callumsblether Instagram: @callumvision Music: @whiskytales


Jean Grant(Performer) is a Los Angeles based actress and filmmaker. Having graduated from The Victorian College of the Arts with a Bachelor of Dramatic Art, Jean has an extensive background in theatre-making, physical, classical and musical theatre. Her favorite theatre productions include It’s an Earthquake in my Heart, after Goat Island(VCA), Romeo and Juliet(VCA), Assassins(Watch This), and The Kioskers(St. Anne’s Warehouse). In film, Jean directed Alaina Ferris’ music video “Vesta”, part of Exquisite Corpse Company’s Surreal Summer. Now based in Los Angeles, Jean collaborates with Liv Colliander as The Void. They completed their first sci-fi short, Birth of a Pomegranate, in late 2018. Find her exploring what it means to be a human on Instagram @jeangrants


Chris Mosier(Performer) is a trailblazing hall of fame triathlete, All-American duathlete, and a 6-time member of Team USA. In 2015 he became the first known transgender man to make a men’s US National Team and was the catalyst for change for the International Olympic Committee policy on transgender athletes. In 2016, he was sponsored by Nike and featured in his own Nike commercial which debuted on prime time during the Rio Olympics. Chris was the first trans athlete featured in the ESPN Body Issue and is known as the go-to source for policy and information on transgender people in sport. He is the founder oftransathlete.comand has mentored transgender athletes around the globe and helped teams, leagues, and professional sports leagues create gender-inclusive policies. His appearance in this performance isn’t completely out of the blue; Chris has an arts degree but mostly draws inspiration through osmosis by living with his favorite performance artist, Zhen Heinemann.


Sebastian Robinson(Performer) is an Australian-American actor, poet, performance artist and national HIV advocate. He has a Bachelor in Dramatic Art from The Victorian College of the Arts, The University of Melbourne. In 2014 he played the role of Amos in the Award-winning film Downriver, written and directed by Grant Scicluna. In 2017 Sebastian took his play ALPHAto the Edinburgh Fringe after a successful Australian tour and also took the lead in Patrick White’s play The Ham Funeral. In 2018 he performed a lead role in Mary Zimmerman’s adaptation of Metamorphosis. Sebastian first worked with Robert Walton in the 2013 adaptation of Goat Island’s It’s an Earthquake in MyHeart.


Tom Benko(Rhythms and Sounds) is a drummer/percussionist for Blue Man Group Chicago and the Chicago Bulls, and serves as Director of Percussion for Maine South High School (Park Ridge, IL). As a soloist, Tom combines electrified hammered dulcimer, custom built instruments, hand held percussion, marching percussion techniques, live looping and drum kit to create an eclectic blend of sounds for his compositions.  Tom is excited to travel back to the past, and excited to have a dog named “Dante Basco” or “Rufio” in the near future.


Mark Comiskey(Video) has been producing and performing theater and creating multimedia productions in Chicago and beyond since 1989. Most recently, Mark was a resident artist at the Ragdale Foundation where he served as DP & Editor for Erica Mott Productions dance film Cowboys & Vikings Trilogy. Mark has been the Video Supervisor of Chicago’s Blue Man Group since 2005. He saw Goat Island’s original performance of Can’t Take Johnny to the Funeral in 1991 at the Wellington Gym in Chicago. See his work at: www.comiskeymedia.squarespace.com


Robert Walton and Company wish to thank the Jackman Goldwasser Artist Residency Program and all the team at Hyde Park Arts Center, The University of Melbourne, Nick Lowe, Sarah Skaggs, John Rich, Mark Jeffery, Kevin Sparrow, Ryan Galbraith, Yolanda Cesta Cursach, Lin Hixson, Erik Sateren, In>Time Performance Festival and Blue Man Group.


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