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Black Ensemble Theater to screen Legacy Leaders of Color Video Project
From a press release
2017-02-13

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CHICAGO, IL — Black Ensemble Theater proudly announces a special, one-night-only event to screen Legacy Leaders of Color Video Project( LLCVP ), which features interviews with BE Founder and CEO Jackie Taylor. The event will be held at the Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center, 4450 N. Clark Street in Chicago, on Monday, February 27, 2017, with a reception at 6pm and film screening and panel discussion at 7pm. The event is free and open to the public.

Following the screening, Tyronne Stoudemire, Vice President of Global Diversity & Inclusion for Hyatt Hotels Corporation and board chair of Black Ensemble Theater, will moderate a panel discussion with Angelique Power, President of the Field Foundation and co-founder of Project Enrich, Elena Chang, Associate Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion for Theatre Communications Group ( TCG ), Gus Schulenburg, Director of Communications and Community Engagement of TCG, and Teresa Eyring, Executive Director of TCG. Additional panelists to be announced. The distinguished panel will address the importance of the arts as it relates to healing the racial divide and dismantling racism.

Theatre Communications Group ( TCG ), the national organization for theatre, created the Legacy Leaders of Color Video Project ( LLCVP ) over a two-year period. Working with video production company MOPED, and with support from Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, TCG filmed a series of interviews chronicling the stories of founding leaders of theatres of color, including Black Ensemble Theater's Jackie Taylor. Screening events will be held in the leaders' communities to further celebrate their legacies and galvanize support for their enduring impact.

The interviews in the film reveal how these leaders were inspired to create opportunities lacking for artists of color; to challenge appropriation and misrepresentation through staging the full richness and complexity of racial, ethnic and cultural identities; to gain political power and creative autonomy; and to contribute their unique aesthetic and social perspectives to our culture. The LLCVP will serve as a roadmap for future theatre leaders and raise broader cultural awareness of the impact of theatres of color.

In addition to Jackie Taylor, other leaders featured in the video project include: Lou Bellamy, Penumbra Theatre, St Paul, MN; Tisa Chang, Pan Asian Repertory Theatre, New York, NY; Frank Chin, Asian American Theater Company, San Francisco, CA; Miriam ColÃ"n, Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, New York, NY; Woodie King, Jr., New Federal Theatre, New York, NY; Muriel Miguel, Spiderwoman Theater, New York, NY; Luis Valdez, El Teatro Campesino, San Juan Baptista, CA; and Douglas Turner Ward, Negro Ensemble Company, New York, NY.

The screening series will be led by Elena Chang, TCG's associate director of equity, diversity & inclusion, and August Schulenburg, TCG's director of communications & community engagement, and will roll-out over an 18-month period in the leaders' communities.

"It is an honor to debut the Legacy Leaders of Color Video Project," said Chang. "There's a diversity of talent and perspectives that are showcased, but at the heart is the unrelenting passion of these legacy leaders to drive meaningful change and bring to light voices from communities of color as an integral part of the American theatre narrative. We look forward to sharing this project highlighting these leaders' influential contributions with the larger community and can't wait to see the conversations they ignite."

"Our theatre field and broader culture owe an enormous debt to the artistry and activism of these extraordinary leaders," said Teresa Eyring, executive director, TCG. "We hope these videos and screening events not only honor these nine leaders, but raise awareness more broadly of the essential role played by theatres of color in our field. As more and more theatres make equity, diversity, and inclusion central to their work, we must remember the theatres that have been working with artists and communities of color for generations."

The filming process of the LLCVP was produced by former TCG director of communications & conferences Dafina McMillan over a two-year period in collaboration with producer and director Anna Sang Park of MOPED Productions; and with the support of TCG staff, including associate producers Ty Defoe, former equity, diversity & inclusion fellow, and Emilya Cachapero, director of artistic & international programs.

The Legacy Leaders of Color Video Project is one of the key elements of TCG's Equity, Diversity and Inclusion ( EDI ) Initiative's "Establishing a Baseline" programming, which also includes REPRESENT, a demographic survey that thinks outside the checkbox, and The Well, a hub of EDI-related resources. "Establishing a Baseline" was initially supported by a National Projects grant from Doris Duke Charitable Foundation ( DDCF ), and this next phase has received Phase II funding from DDCF's 2016 Fund for National Projects.

Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Program Director for the Arts Maurine Knighton said, "Each of the nine leaders whom TCG has interviewed has made tremendous contributions to the American theatrical canon. We are confident that by capturing their firsthand accounts and addressing the under-documentation of their work, this project can greatly encourage current and future theater-makers creating pioneering work that expands the community of theater."

About the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation ( DDCF ) is to improve the quality of people's lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and child well-being, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke's properties.

The Arts Program of DDCF focuses its support on contemporary dance, jazz and theater artists, and the

organizations that nurture, present and produce them. For more information, please visit www.ddcf.org .

About MOPED

MOPED is a full-service digital media and video production company that intersects stories that matter with technology — to catalyze conversation, mobilize audiences and drive impact both on and offline. We help you achieve heightened visibility, audience understanding and greater success, by developing your story as a vehicle, and then leveraging the platforms you'll use to share it with the world. http://mopedproductions.tv/

About Theatre Communications Group

For over 50 years, Theatre Communications Group ( TCG ), the national organization for theatre, has existed to strengthen, nurture, and promote the professional not-for-profit theatre. TCG's constituency has grown from a handful of groundbreaking theatres to nearly 700 member theatres and affiliate organizations and more than 11,000 individuals nationwide. TCG offers its members networking and knowledge-building opportunities through conferences, events, research and communications; awards grants, approximately $2 million per year, to theatre companies and individual artists; advocates on the federal level; and serves as the U.S. Center of the International Theatre Institute, connecting its constituents to the global theatre community. TCG is North America's largest independent publisher of dramatic literature, with 14 Pulitzer Prizes for Best Play on the TCG booklist. It also publishes the award-winning American Theatre magazine and ARTSEARCH®, the essential source for a career in the arts. In all of its endeavors, TCG seeks to increase the organizational efficiency of its member theatres, cultivate and celebrate the artistic talent and achievements of the field and promote a larger public understanding of, and appreciation for, the theatre. www.tcg.org .

About The Black Ensemble Theater

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.

On November 18, 2011, The Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center opened and is able to accommodate larger-scale productions, bigger audiences and a wider range of educational programming. The new facility includes amenities such as a 299-seat main stage theater ( double the capacity of the original venue ); 14 offices, classroom space, rehearsal hall, dance studio, scene shop, costume shop, and wardrobe rooms; seven dressing rooms; rehearsal room for musicians; front lobby space with concession areas; and an indoor parking garage. The completion of a 150-seat theater, which will serve as an experimental stage for the work of the Black Playwright Initiative ( BPI ), with construction by General Contractor Norcon Inc., is expected in 2017.

The mission of the Black Ensemble Theater Company is to eradicate racism and its devastating effects upon society through the theater arts. For more information on the Black Ensemble Theater Company, please visit www.BlackEnsembleTheater.org or call 773-769-4451 .


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