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Congo Square Theatre Company Announces Ericka Ratcliff as New Artistic Director

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Ratcliff becomes only the fourth Artistic Director in the Company’s 22+ year history, and the first female in that role.  

Congo Square Theatre Company Announces Ericka Ratcliff as New Artistic Director

Congo Square Theatre Company, one of the nation's premier African American theatres, today announced that longtime Company member Ericka Ratcliff will serve as its new Artistic Director, effective immediately. Ratcliff becomes only the fourth Artistic Director in the Company's 22+ year history, and the first female in that role.

Hailing from Baltimore, MD, Ratcliff first performed with Congo Square in the premiere production of Lydia Diamond's Stickfly in 2006. Other Congo Square credits include African Company Presents Richard III, Talented Tenth, The Colored Museum, 365 Plays/365 Days, and Bulrusher. Her impressive list of regional and local theater credits also includes performances with Second City, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Northlight, Victory Gardens, Chicago Shakespeare, Collaboraction, Mixed Blood, Milwaukee Rep, CENTERSTAGE, Pittsburgh Playwrights and Alliance Theatre to name more than a few. In addition to her role with Congo Square, Ratcliff is also an emeritus ensemble member with The House Theatre of Chicago and an artistic associate with Lookingglass. She is a graduate of Roosevelt University.

"From the first time I encountered Congo Square through its production of Chadwick Boseman's Deep Azure, I became immediately enthralled by the company because of the beauty of the work, the authenticity of Black culture being represented on stage, and the celebration of Black artists as a family through the ensemble," said Ratcliff. "I instantly knew how special Congo was in that moment and that it would continue to be for a lifetime. Congo played a pivotal 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 Black artists can continue to call home and flourish in their work and their craft."

"I am thrilled to be partnering with Ericka as we continue to build the legacy of Congo Square Theatre! Ericka brings a wealth of experience and passion for the theatre. She has served in a variety of roles within the organization over the years, including Community Engagement + Education Associate, Literary Manager, Casting Director, Associate Artistic Director to 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," says Executive Director Charlique C. Rolle.

Board Chair Gertrude Wooten also shared the excitement of the board for Ratcliff's hiring, stating, "As a longtime supporter of Congo Square Theatre Company and its current Board Chair, I am thrilled with the hiring of Ericka Ratcliff as our Artistic Director. Ericka is an extremely talented actor and has been a part of the Congo Square family for many years. We fully expect her to bring the same talent and enthusiasm to this new position and strongly believe that she is the perfect person to lead the Ensemble to another level. We look forward to great things coming from Ericka's leadership and are standing ready to fully support her."

In addition to the hiring of Ratcliff as Artistic Director, Congo Square is pleased to welcome four new Board members including Kristopher Anderson, Director of Government & External Affairs at 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.

Currently underway is the first offering of Congo Square's 22nd season: a new Audio Series introducing the old school radio drama genre to a new, streaming audience; its intriguing inaugural program, THE CLINIC, is now available for tune-in through October 10 only via www.congosquaretheatre.org/audio-series. Then, starting October 29, the cast and crew of Congo Square's hit sketch comedy Hit'em On The Blackside ups the ante in Season 2 by bringing back memorable characters from Season 1 for an exciting crossover story that spans 12 new episodes. Learn more about all of Congo Square's upcoming season, both virtual and in-person, by visiting www.congosquaretheatre.org.


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