Saturday, July 31st at 2 pm
*All performances are FREE. Please consider registering so we can keep you updated on news of the event (note that your registration is not a ticket).
All performances are at Nichols Park
(1355 E 53rd St, Chicago, IL 60615)
Distant music becomes louder as the ancestors begin to take the space. They walk, silently, carrying their messages of provocative change and awareness. They gather at The Welcome Table, overflowing with delicious foods, however, this is not to be a physical banquet. This is a feast for the soul. The ancestors gather, they sing, they invite testimony. “Tell us of community,” they say. “Share a bit of who you are,” they entreat. The Ancestral Procession is a call for unity and togetherness. It provides space for us to reconnect our physical awareness with our soul awareness. It seeks to empower us so that we can move forward energized and ready to take on the darkness of the world. For it is only by shining our light that we can help ourselves and each other through the darkness. The procession reminds us that we must remember…remember that we are light. We must remember that to collectively conquer the darkness we must choose to shine our best light one person at a time.
Jerrell L. Henderson is a Theatre Director, Puppeteer, and Professor of Performance Studies at Chicago State University. Recent directing credits include Mlima's Tale with Griffin Theatre (Jeff Award Nomination for Direction and Best Play) and Thurgood with Walnut Street Theatre. Other credits include The River with BoHo Theatre, Untitled with Inis Nua (Barrymore Award nomination for Outstanding Direction of a Play) and Something Like A War: A New Musical with 11th Hour Theatre (new script penned by Jerrell to be developed in May/June 2021). His latest spectacle creation, Ancestral Procession, will be featured in this years’ Physical Festival at Nichols Park on Chicago’s South Side. Recent puppet films include a short film version of his signature puppetry piece I Am The Bear with Chicago International Puppet Festival. He performed I Am The Bear live with Chicago International Puppet Festival's Living Room Tours in Fall 2020. Other Puppet Short Films include Hamlin: La Revue Sombre with Handmade Puppet Dreams and Diamond's Dream with Chicago Children's Theatre. His Juneteenth Puppet Protest: The Welcome Table was featured in the New York Times (June 2020) and his Fall 2020 puppetry celebration of the lives of John Lewis and C.T. Vivian titled Black Butterfly was later expanded into an educational performance piece with Tria Smith of Guild Row and a student collective working with Urban Growers Collective also on Chicago’s South Side. His shadow play, 3 American Myths: A Riff in Shadow & Light in 3 Rhythmic Movements was a finalist for a 2019 Jim Henson Foundation Grant. As an assistant director, Jerrell has worked with The Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, and Lookingglass Theatre. He received an MFA in Directing from Northwestern University, is a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab (2012), an Artistic Associate of Black Lives, Black Words, and a Henson Foundation sponsored participant at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center National Puppetry Conference (2020). Most recently, Jerrell serves as the creator and curator of black_theatre_vinyl_archive on Instagram. black_theatre_vinyl_archive is an extensive online archive of African/Afro-European/African American theatre and musical theatre history.