Charlique C. Rolle. (Photo by John R. Boehm)
CHICAGO: Congo Square Theatre has announced that executive director Charlique C. Rolle will leave the company effective March 1 to focus on personal artistic pursuits. The theatre’s current artistic director, Ericka Ratcliff, will lead Congo Square through the remainder of its 25th anniversary season.
“I’m incredibly proud of the groundbreaking work accomplished during my tenure at Congo Square Theatre, and am deeply appreciative for the unwavering support from Congo’s board of directors, ensemble, staff, the larger arts sector, and the many friends, colleagues, and partners throughout Chicago,” said Rolle in a statement. “Over four years, we navigated many transitions and a global pandemic, but it’s now time for me to rest and assess the next steps in my artistic and community building career. I’m eager to witness and support the continued success of Congo Square Theatre.”
An arts administrator, performing artist, and choreographer, Rolle initially joined Congo Square in August 2020. She previously served in management roles with Inaside Chicago Dance, performing arts director at Chicago Tabernacle, and at Chicago School of Leadership. Last year, Rolle became the new president of the African American Arts Alliance of Chicago, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting individuals and organizations within the Black arts community.
“Charlique’s passion and commitment have been instrumental in contributing significantly to Congo Square’s ongoing success and will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact,” said board chair Dawn Frances Reese in a statement. “As the board of directors bids farewell, we express gratitude for her leadership, confident that her contributions will continue to make a lasting imprint in the theatre community.”
Congo Square has launched a search for its next executive director. The company is also in the process of hiring two full time administrators, a director of operations and an operations and administrative assistant, as they look to bring the organization’s full-time staff to four employees for the first time in its history.
Founded in 1999, Congo Square Theatre Company is an ensemble dedicated to producing transformative theatre spawned from the African Diaspora and other world cultures. As of 2023, the company was operating with a budget of around $900,000.
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