Black Ensemble Theatre to Unveil First Annual International Cultural Festival

Black Ensemble Theater Founder and CEO Jackie Taylor has announced the first annual International Cultural Festival taking place June 1-June 6 at the Black Ensemble Cultural Center in Chicago’s Uptown (4450 N. Clark Street).  The week-long cultural festival of music, theater, film and dance from around the world is produced by the Black Ensemble Theater.

By highlighting a variety of art forms with a worldwide perspective, the festival’s aim is to open up a global-scale dialogue about how we, as human beings, can help diminish the injustices of a racist world.

The event opens Monday, June 1, 2015, with Tsukasa Taiko, a multi-generational Japanese drumming ensemble performance group and expands over the ensuing days to include the award-winning play, Empanda for a Dream (June 2), written by and starring Juan Villa; two international films: The World Before Her, written and directed by Nisha Pahuja and exploring the complex and conflicting environment for young girls in India and the Romanian film, After the Fall—HIV Grows Up, looking back at the pandemic of pediatric AIDS in Romania and the health care workers on the front lines.  The Chicago Association of Black Storytellers will present ASE, a storytelling form from West Africa, on Friday, June 5, and the festival closes with Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago, which will perform selected works from its repertoire, including traditional West African and contemporary dances.

The 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 company offers dazzling original musicals that are as entertaining as they are educational and uplifting. The Black Ensemble Theater has produced more than 100 productions and employed over 5,000 artists in the Chicagoland area.

In the fall of 2011, founder Jackie Taylor and the company opened its Black Ensemble Cultural Center, accommodate larger-scale productions, bigger audiences and a wider range of educational programming. The new facility is slated to be increased by the addition of a 150-seat theater, which will serve as an experimental stage for the work of the Black Playwright Initiative (BPI), the opening for which is expected to take place in January 2016.

For more information about the upcoming International Cultural Festival or for tickets, call the Black Ensemble Theater at 773-769-4451 or visit

Tsukasa Taiko Japanese drumming ensemble will be a featured company in the upcoming Black Ensemble Theatre International Cultural Festival taking place June 1-6 at the Black Ensemble Cultural Center in Chicago's Uptown (photo courtesy of Tsukasa Taiko).