Black Ensemble Theater and Northeastern Illinois University announce a partnership for Black Ensemble Theater’s Jackie Taylor's Anti-Racism Drama Series and Residency Program. The series will include the staging of three one-act plays produced by the nationally renowned Black Ensemble Theater that speak to different aspects of racism. All performances will take place at Northeastern Illinois University locations, January 2019 – March 2019.
The Jackie Taylor Anti-Racism Drama Series consists of three dramatic plays written by members of Black Ensemble Theater’s Black Playwrights Initiative (BPI), an educational incubator for aspiring Black playwrights. The series features works that are relevant to current events and speak to the demise of recent racial equity issues. The plays aim to help audiences understand the devastating effects of racism and to spark conversation about what we can do as a community to recognize and denounce racism. All performances will be followed by a discussion with the audience.
Black Ensemble uses theater as a learning facilitator that purposely helps audiences respect and accept our differences while embracing our sameness as human beings. The three plays were written to motivate audiences toward having healthy, hearty and safe conversations about racism in our society. Post-show conversations will address how audiences can recognize racism on a systematic level while helping us to be active participants in denouncing and negating this ever-present issue.
Plays and performances for The Jackie Taylor's Anti-Racism Drama Series are:
January 17-19, 2019
by Ervin Gardner
directed by Jackie Taylor
Thursday, January 17 at 7:30pm; Friday, January 18 at 7:30pm; and Saturday, January 19 at 5pm
NEIU Auditorium (Main Campus), 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.
This dramatic one-act play speaks to the controversy surrounding professional athletes and their right to peacefully protest. A star college athlete and pro prospect must decide whether or not to make a political stand in light of the possible consequences to his professional career.
February 7-9, 2019
In The Shadow of Justice
by L. Maceo Ferris
directed by Rueben D. Echoles
Thursday, February 7 at 7:30pm; Friday, February 8 at 7:30pm; and Saturday, February 9 at 7:30pm
Donn F. Bailey Legacy Hall at the Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies, 700 E. Oakwood Blvd.
This intense drama depicts how two young Black police detectives—one woman and one man--
are forced to face corruption, brutality and murder in a South Side Chicago police precinct where they have been assigned. Will they accept business as usual or care enough to try and change a racist status quo?
March 14-16, 2019
by Reginald Williams
directed by Daryl D. Brooks
Thursday, March 14 at 7:30pm; Friday, March 15 at 7:30pm; and Saturday, March 16 at 7:30pm
NEIU Stage Center Theatre (Main Campus), 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.
The Plea addresses the violence epidemic that has engulfed so many Chicago communities resulting in senseless murders and the hopelessness and traumatic mental anguish that has consumed our neighborhoods. In particular, the play depicts how due process is withheld from so many in our criminal justice system which encourages plea-bargaining as opposed to trials that provide people with an opportunity to defend themselves.
Tickets for individual productions are $20 and can be purchased online at http://www.neiu.edu/tickets. Packages for the full series are $45 and are available by calling the Welcome Desk at (773) 442-4636. Tickets are free for Northeastern students, employees and alumni by calling the Welcome Desk or picking up tickets at the box office the night of the show.
As part of the partnership, Black Ensemble Theater will offer a Residency Program, which will allow Northeastern Illinois University students in a technical theater practicum to participate with the company in the technical aspects of producing each play. The program will give the students six (two for each play) master classes in theater areas of interest as defined by the students. All classes will be taught by the Black Ensemble play directors: Jackie Taylor, Founder and Executive Director, Daryl D. Brooks, Managing Producing Director, and Rueben Echoles, Associate Director.
About Northeastern Illinois University
Founded in 1867, Northeastern Illinois University has a rich tradition of educational innovation and prides itself on preparing teachers and administrators who make a difference in Chicago. That tradition continues to this day and has expanded to include an array of academic disciplines, allowing the University to embrace fully the community in which it resides. Northeastern is regarded as the most diverse public comprehensive university in the Midwest and is designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution. Diversity is an important factor in the character of Northeastern and in the social fabric of its student body. The University has an enrollment of more than 8,000 students; African American, Hispanic, Asian and Native American students represent roughly 60 percent of the student body.
With the Main Campus located on 67 acres in an attractive residential area on the Northwest Side of Chicago, the University offers more than 40 undergraduate degree and certificate programs and more than 50 graduate degree, certificate, licensure and endorsement programs. The University has additional locations in the metropolitan area: Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies, El Centro, Center for College Access & Success, and the University Center of Lake County.
Read more about Northeastern at neiu.edu.
The Black Ensemble Theater
The mission of the Black Ensemble Theater Company is to eradicate racism and its devastating effects upon society through the theater arts.
Founded in 1976, by the phenomenal producer, playwright and actress Jackie Taylor, Black Ensemble Theater is the only African American theater located in the culturally, racially and ethnically diverse north side Uptown community. Through its Five Play Season of Excellence, The Black Ensemble Theater dazzles audiences locally, nationally and internationally with outstanding original musicals that are entertaining, educational and uplifting. The Black Ensemble Theater has produced more than 100 productions and employed over 5,000 artists.
Educational outreach programs rooted in the performing arts were developed to mitigate the destructive consequences of racism and to empower youth, teenagers, the mentally and physically challenged and other disenfranchised communities to realize that despite the challenges they face, they too have greatness that must be recognized and utilized. More than 15,000 individuals are served annually through Black Ensemble Theater’s educational outreach programs.
For more information on the Black Ensemble Theater Company, visit www.BlackEnsembleTheater.org or call 773-769-4451.