Congo Square Theater Company, one of the country’s leading African-American theaters, today announced that longtime Company member Ericka Ratcliff will be its new artistic director, effective immediately. Ratcliff becomes just the fourth artistic director in more than 22 years of company history and the first woman to hold the post.
A native of Baltimore, MD, Ratcliff first performed with Congo Square in Lydia Diamond’s first production of Stickfly in 2006. Other Congo Square credits include African Company Presents Richard III, Talented Tenth, The Colored Museum, 365 Plays / 365 Days, and Bulrusher. His impressive roster of regional and local theatrical credits also includes performances with Second City, Steppenwolf Theater Company, Northlight, Victory Gardens, Chicago Shakespeare, Collaboraction, Mixed Blood, Milwaukee Rep, CENTERSTAGE, Pittsburgh Playwrights and Alliance Theater to name a few. some. In addition to his role with Congo Square, Ratcliff is also a distinguished member of the House Theater of Chicago ensemble and artistic associate with Lookingglass. She graduated from Roosevelt University.
“From the first time I met Congo Square through its production of Deep Azure by Chadwick Boseman, I was immediately captivated by the company because of the beauty of the work, the authenticity of the black culture represented on scene and celebration of black performers as a family throughout the set, ”Ratcliff said.“ I immediately knew how special the Congo was then and would continue to be so all the time. a life. Congo has played a central role in my development as an artist, and I am so fortunate to continue to help lead this organization, creating a space, a home and a family, where our ensemble and our black artists can continue. to live at home and to flourish in their work and their art. “
“I am delighted to partner with Ericka as we continue to build the legacy of Congo Square Theater! Ericka brings a wealth of experience and passion for theater. She has held various roles within the organization over the years including Community Engagement + Education Associate, Literary Manager, Casting Director, Associate Artist Director of the late Samuel G. Roberson, and many other roles, so she is well equipped to lead and support our artists and the future of our work, ”said Charlique, Executive Director. C. Rolle.
Chairman of the Board, Gertrude Wooten, also shared the board’s enthusiasm for hiring Ratcliff, saying: “As a long-time supporter of the Congo Square Theater Company and its current chairman of the board, I am delighted with the hiring of Ericka Ratcliff as artistic director. Ericka is an extremely talented actor and has been part of the Congo Square family for many years. We expect her to bring the same talent and enthusiasm to this new role and firmly believe that she is the perfect person to take the Ensemble to another level. We look forward to great things from Ericka’s leadership and we are ready to fully support her. “
In addition to the hiring of Ratcliff as artistic director, Congo Square is pleased to welcome four new members of the board of directors, including Kristopher Anderson, director of government and external affairs for the Chicago Association of Realtors; Jeffery Beckham Jr., CEO of Chicago Scholars; Kristen Evans, executive vice president of strategy and operations at RLM Media & Advertising; and Dorsey Norman III, owner / accountant of Dorsey Norman III & Associates.
The first offering of Congo Square’s 22nd season is currently underway: a new audio series presenting the old-fashioned radio drama genre to a new streaming audience; its intriguing inaugural program, THE CLINIC, is now available until October 10 only through www.congosquaretheatre.org/audio-series. Then, starting October 29, the cast and crew of Congo Square’s hit comedy Hit’em On The Blackside are upping the ante in Season 2 by bringing back memorable characters from Season 1 for a thrilling crossover story. which spans 12 new episodes. Learn more about the entire upcoming season of Congo Square, both virtual and in person, by visiting www.congosquaretheatre.org.