Despite Chicago’s bustling, multiracial theater scene, an unbalanced amount of representation and opportunity has been noticed by many. A 2017 Chicago Tribune study done on the Actors’ Equity Association, specifically on acting jobs in the city, found that contracts were mostly given to men compared to women. These men were largely white men, and women of color were paid lower salaries as well. Perceptions Theatre has formed on the Southeast side of the city, to join forces with their community and help change this narrative.
“The lack of diversity in the theatrical arts and those underserved communities that can’t be exposed to those arts in a city that is full of diversity, is truly baffling,” states Myesha-Tiara, the founder and Artistic Director of the company. “[Perceptions Theatre] provides the community with everything they need to jump start their career in the arts— whether it be on the stage or behind the scenes; from headshots, to actor training, staged productions and much more in the future.”
The company started its fundraising campaign on the Indiegogo platform in early December, and has already achieved 8% of their intended goal of $7,500. Donating participants you can choose “perks” ranging from recognition in their Playbills, company T-shirts and mugs, to tickets to productions or their first annual Gala held in April 2020.
With the funds that Perceptions raises, they intend to begin production of their 2020 season— including two staged readings and one full stage play. To reach their goal would mean hiring these minority actor and technical staff that are often missed in Chicago’s popular theater companies. Also included in the goal is purchasing quality theater equipment, renting spaces for performances, and even an educational department for young actors to begin their careers.
As said by Angelique Power of the Field Foundation, donors are able to help relieve the problem of overwhelmingly white theaters by “funding the living daylights” out of African American, Asian, Latino, and Arab theatre companies. She notes that temporary funding is appreciated, of course, but to begin making a big shift in this globally recognized city, long-term support is needed. With their donors’ help, Perceptions Theatre will give that long-term support back to its community, and other minority-based areas of Chicago.
our most recent top picks
Blue Man Group ★★★