CHICAGO: The League of Chicago Theatres has announced that the 2022 Samuel G. Roberson Jr. Resident Fellowship will go to a director in its second iteration. Since its launch in 2021, the annual grant funded by the McMullen & Kime Charitable Trust aims to fund Black theatre artists’ residencies with Chicago-area theatres.
The inaugural fellow and host theatre awarded last year were playwright Kristiana Rae Colón and Congo Square Theatre. With the directing focus this year, the selected fellow and host theatre will work together to produce a workshop or full-scale production of a new play or musical. The director will be awarded $20,000 and the host theatre will receive $7,500 to support the director’s work and residency. Host theatres that have a stated mission to produce work by Black or BIPOC artists will be prioritized. Application and eligibility requirements can be found at the League of Chicago Theatres website. Applications are due on Nov. 15, 2021.
“Samuel G. Roberson was a beloved collaborator and friend to the Chicago theatre, and the League of Chicago Theatres is honored to administer this fellowship in his name to support the work of Black theatre artists,” said Deb Clapp, the League of Chicago Theatres executive director, in a statement. “This award from the McMullen & Kime Charitable Trust, which will be given to a Chicago director this year, is a generous gift to the Chicago theatre community and a fitting tribute to Sam, a respected teacher, actor, director, artistic director, and champion of social justice theatre.”
Roberson’s legacy in Chicago theatre included his work as artistic director of the Congo Square Theatre, creating Chicago Artists Against Injustice, and founding Congo Square’s education program, Y-BOOM (Young Brothers Owning Our Mission), a literacy-based leadership program that provides a safe environment for adolescent African American men. He worked with Steppenwolf, the Goodman, Northlight, Victory Gardens, Writers Theatre, and Congo Square, among others.
According to the League of Chicago Theatres, the award is meant to encourage ongoing relationships between artists and theatres. Host theatres are expected to support the artist through the development of the work, and the end of the timeline is not expected to be the end of the relationship.
The League of Chicago Theatres is an alliance of theatres, which leverages its collective strength to support, promote and advocate for Chicago’s theatre industry.
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