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Congo Square Theatre Reschedules FESTIVAL ON THE SQUARE and Vision Benefit

Congo Square's popular Festival on the Square is a lively, family-friendly, and free afternoon program inspired by the original Congo Square located in New Orleans. 

Congo Square Theatre Reschedules FESTIVAL ON THE SQUARE and Vision Benefit

Congo Square Theatre Company has rescheduled two of its signature programs, the Festival on the Square and Vision Benefit, to now take place on Sunday, June 19, 2022, commemorating the Juneteenth holiday. Both events were originally scheduled for February 5, 2022.

"We are constantly considering how to best keep our audiences and community safe in returning to space with Congo Square." says the company's Artistic Director Ericka Ratcliff, "The bright side of moving our Festival on the Square and Vision Benefit to Juneteenth is that it fulfills a long-time goal for the company to celebrate this meaningful holiday through our artistry. Now we will have that."

Congo Square's popular Festival on the Square is a lively, family-friendly, and free afternoon program inspired by the original Congo Square located in New Orleans. A complete Festival talent lineup will be announced soon. In the evening, the company's 2022 Vision Benefit will help support Congo Square's important mission, and celebrate the company's work, its return to live theater, and its future. The 2022 Vision Benefit will honor three individuals for their contributions to the company and the Chicago theatre community, an annual Congo Square tradition: Luther Goins will receive its Lifetime Achievement Award; Jacqueline Williams will receive its Artistic Excellence Award; and Rueben Echoles will receive its Emerging Artist Award. Tickets purchased for the Vision Benefit will be honored for the June 19 date.

Both programs, which are "Homecoming" themed, will take place Sunday, June 19, 2022, at the Zhou B Art Center, 1029 W. 35th Street in the Bridgeport neighborhood.

Declared a federal holiday in 2021, Juneteenth National Independence Day, also known as Jubilee Day, commemorates June 19, 1865, when the Emancipation Proclamation freeing America's enslaved population was finally announced in Texas, over two years after the proclamation was made.

After two years of producing exclusively virtual content, Congo Square will make its triumphant return to live theater with the Chicago premiere of What to Send Up When It Goes Down, the critically acclaimed powerful play-pageant-ritual by New York playwright Aleshea Harris. Created in response to the deaths of Black people as a result of racialized violence, What to Send Up When It Goes Down will be staged in a pair of limited engagements in two community locations on the South and West sides from March 31 - May 1, 2022.

For more information on all Congo Square Theatre Company programming, visit

About Congo Square Theatre Company

One of the nation's premier African American theatres, Congo Square Theatre Company, under Executive Director Charlique C. Rolle and Artistic Director Ericka Ratcliff, is an ensemble dedicated to producing transformative work rooted in the African Diaspora. We are a haven for artists of color to challenge and redefine the theatrical canon by amplifying and creating stories that reflect the reach and complexities of Black Culture. Congo Square is one of only two African American Actors' Equity theatre companies in Chicago. Founded in 1999, Congo Square aimed to provide a platform for black artists to perform and present classic and new work that exemplified the majesty, diversity, and intersectionality of stories from the African Diaspora.

Congo Square has risen to become one of the most well-respected African American theatres in the nation. Previously mentored by two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson, Congo Square would go on to cultivate talents such as playwright Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther), who penned the 2006 Jeff nominated play Deep Azure, and playwright Lydia Diamond, who penned the massively successful Stick Fly, a critically acclaimed play that explores race, class, and familial friction. Stick Fly ultimately ran on Broadway and is currently being developed into a full-length series for HBO with Alicia Keys serving as a producer. Congo Square also produced the widely praised Seven Guitars, which would eventually go on to win top honors for best ensemble, best direction, and best production at the 2005 Joseph Jefferson Awards. This would earn the theatre company the distinction of being the first African American theatre company to receive such an honor.

Congo Square's Educational Programs bring the impact of theater to young audiences. Its outreach programs, CORE (Curriculum Objectives Residency Enrichment), and CAST (Congo After School Theatre), present and teach theater arts by providing classroom and after-school residencies that provide Teaching Artists to build upon already established Chicago Public Schools literature and art curriculums. CORE and CAST impact students and schools located on the South and West sides of the city.

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