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Court Theatre Premieres its Spotlight Podcast, Highlighting Black Writers

Literary excerpts are read by Chicago actors Sheldon Brown, Kierra Bunch, Diana Coates, LaQuis Harkins, and Aneisa Hicks.

Court Theatre Premieres its Spotlight Podcast, Highlighting Black Writers

Court Theatre has announced the online premiere of its Spotlight Podcast. A key component of Court's community engagement work, the Spotlight Series-which has in the past brought staged readings from BIPOC playwrights to local communities on Chicago's South and West sides-has been reimagined for 2021 as a series of four audio podcast episodes directed and performed by local theatre artists. The first season of the podcast focuses on Black literary figures from history not typically explored by theatres, and features readings from works by novelist and editor Pauline Hopkins; activist and journalist Ida B. Wells; poet Phillis Wheatley, and diarist Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson. Literary excerpts are read by Chicago actors Sheldon Brown, Kierra Bunch, Diana Coates, LaQuis Harkins, and Aneisa Hicks.

"With our Spotlight Reading Series, we wanted to revamp our hallmark community engagement program into a podcast," says Aaron Mays, Court's Community Programs Manager and host and creator of the podcast. "In it, we will expand our original scope to not only read plays but to feature classic literary texts, such as memoirs, speeches, poetry, and novels, by Black, indigenous and other writers of color."

"We're thrilled by the opportunity to explore new mediums of expression and reach new audiences with our first foray into podcasting," shares Angel Ysaguirre, Executive Director of Court Theatre. "Each of the literary figures explored in the Spotlight Podcast offers illuminating insights into the world we live in from a singular perspective that is thrillingly brought to life by some of Chicago's best actors."

Court commissioned artist Isaac Maysonet to create distinct episode portraits for the Spotlight Podcast. The artwork updates archival portraits of each writer in Maysonet's distinct, graphic style.

Episodes of the pilot season will be released on February 18, February 25, March 4, and March 11, 2021. The Spotlight Podcast will be available for streaming on Court's website at, as well as on listening apps like Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Apple Podcast.

The Spotlight Reading Series is made possible, in part, by a grant from The Joyce Foundation.

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