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Press Release - reopening

For Immediate Release                                                                                        Contact: Kenya Thomas  -  312. 216.7886


eta Creative Arts Foundation Reopens its Doors After State Lifts Pandemic Restrictions


After surviving a year and three months of sustaining a shuttered house, eta’s Executive Director, Kai EL’ Zabar says, “Finally, a breath of life--the opportunity to greet, touch each other and create art together. We are excited to open our doors with the launch of our community outreach programs like open Mic Mondays, managed by our artist-in-Residence, The Room for hueMans and our Summer Arts Camp—Chicago on the Nile.”


Both programs ceased to operate during COVID-19, but we’re back and ready to bust out with all the greatness of our creative self-expression harnessed, developed and honed over the days, night, and months that we were forced to be creatively expressed in ways we had never imagined. eta produced its first virtual season, presented to its magical audience, but with summer upon us, the lake front open again and the city open for business, we are excited to open our doors and share our home with you.


Poets, Spoken Word Artists, Dramatists, and Word masters if you can rhythm and rip, make it make sense and razzle dazzle the audience with your own special brand then come out and share your talent with the world. Managing director Andre Fredricks says, “It’s dat tyme, to dance your words and sweep folks off their feet with the sweetness of words, rhythm and mind.” The open mic program will open the season on Thursday evening, June 24th at eta. Doors open at 8pm. Tickets/entry fee is $5.


Mothers looking for that special program that will nurture the kids and impact their lives in a big, big way, check out our SAC/summer arts camp—Chicago on the Nile, which opens June 28 through August 19 with a culminating performance Sunday August 22 and operates Monday through Thursday 8:30 am to 4 pm. Breakfast is served 8:15 to 8:45 am. Students ages 7-16 are welcomed. Cost for the 8 weeks summer camp is $450. Early bird registration is $400.00. And parents have the opportunity to win a free tuition for one child.


This year’s camp is an abbreviated version of the eta traditional ‘All Things Theatre,’ summer arts camp. Instruction in three disciplines drama, music and dance will be provided to students who will learn the fundamentals of each in preparation for an end of camp performance. We are proud to announce that Master Director, playwright and actor Runako Jahi will teach the drama classes, and eta’s long time Artistic Director.


All of our classes are taught from an African centered frame of reference. For example, the Katherine Dunham Dance technique designed specifically for the African American body. As a dancer choreographer and anthropologist Ms. Dunham studied dance and its impact on the body discovering that the subtle differences in the bodies of African American called for differences in distribution of body weight, muscle tone, bone density and created exercises specific to the Black body. She has been called the "matriarch and queen mother of Black dance. Her dance technique is the foundation of the dance instruction while other forms of dance are also taught. The act of ‘call and response’ occurrence is the ‘heart’ of African Centered performance arts. In music, a call and response is a succession of two distinct phrases usually written in different parts of the music, where the second phrase is heard as a direct commentary on or in response to the first. It corresponds to the call-and-response pattern in human communication and is found as a basic element of musical form. In the African American culture artists dance, sing, and act while the audience demonstrates their satisfaction or receipt of the art— (for instance) vocally or by applause.


*eta Creative Arts Foundation reserves the right to tell our stories in the first voice complete with our idiosyncrasies, nuances and ‘isms,’ capturing the African American experience in the world unapologetically. We believe that no one can tell our stories better than us, so we present plays written by black playwrights. Our theatre welcomes all people to our stage where we share our stories.


For more information go to, email

7558 S. South Chicago Avenue , Chicago IL 60619   773.752.3955    Monday - Friday 9 am - 4 pm

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