ETA, Creative Arts Foundation Collection

Dates: 1969-2000 (Bulk dates, 1983-1997)
Size: 1.5 linear feet
Repository: Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Library Center, Special Collections, 400 S. State Street, Chicago, IL 60605
Collection Number: SPE: Archives_CTC_ETA
Provenance: Donated to the library in 1991.
Access: No restrictions
Citation: When quoting material from this collection the preferred citation is: The E.T.A. Creative Arts Foundation, [Box #, Folder #], Special Collections, Chicago Public Library

Historical Note

The Ebony Talent Agency/Creative Arts Foundation, Chicago’s largest cultural arts complex in the African American community, was started by performers Abena Joan Brown and Okoro Harold Johnson with journalist Al Johnson and attorney Archie Weston in 1969. A licensed talent agency, with franchises from both the American Federation of Television and Radio Arts and the Screen Actors Guild, ETA branched out in 1971 to provide training and performance opportunities for adults, teens and children.

Like many theaters without a permanent space, ETA spent their earliest years performing in available auditoriums and theaters around town until 1971, when they settled at the Harris YWCA where Ms. Brown was on the executive staff. From 1971 through 1978 ETA Creative Arts held classes and workshops at the Harris and staged productions such as El Hajj Malik, Up from the Ashes and Second Coming-Last Chance among many others.

In 1978, Ms. Brown began looking for investors to help ETA renovate an old building at 76th and South Chicago. With the help of an advisory board (which became the official Board of Directors in 1984), an extensive network of community and volunteer support, and a challenge grant from the National Endowment, the renovation of the abandoned storm window factory was completed in 1988. Currently, the 16,000 square feet at 7558 South Chicago Avenue, holds a state-of the-art 200-seat theater, a library, a gallery, a student theatre, classrooms and workshop space and offices.

ETA offers a six-play subscription series and produces dramas and musicals by both local and national playwrights, such as Charles Michael Moore, Ray Aranha, and Rob Penney. ETA also features a readers theater for new playwrights called Playwrights Speak and Showfolk, a series of original plays for children such as Useni Perkins’ The Black Fairy and Runako Jahi’s Song and Dance.

ETA also provides an extensive training program in all aspects of performing arts and stagecraft. Classes are held for children as young as age 6. In addition, ETA has sponsored several summer programs such as Chicago on the Nilefor 6 to 12 year olds and Arts for Youth Empowerment, collaboration with the Muntu Dance Company and the Chicago Housing Authority.

Scope and Content

A sampling of material from the ETA Creative Arts Foundation was given to the Special Collections in 1991 to be part of the Chicago Theater Collection. While it in no way provides a picture of the Foundation in its entirety, the Collection does provide a general researcher with some idea of the scope of influence and the range of activities ETA provides. A patron wishing to do an in-depth study of a particular production or more comprehensive research on ETA is encouraged to contact the theater.

Arrangement

The material is arranged in two boxes; the first contains production programs, promotional information, and reviews. This material is arranged chronologically starting with the 1983-1984 season and is by no means complete. The second box contains a sampling of material relevant to the fundraising and development aspects of the Foundation. Again, these files do not provide a comprehensive record, however they do offer the interested patron some idea of the nature and breadth of ETA’s activities.

Photographs and videotapes are filed separately.

Container List

Productions, 1983-1984 Season

Box 1 Folder 1 Journey Through Forever by Oscar Brown, Jr., November 3, 1983 -January 4, 1984 -- Reviews

Productions, 1984-1985 Season, Mainstage

Box 1 Folder 2 General season schedule, 1984-1985
Box 1 Folder 3 If Blues Was a Dolla’ written and directed by Songodina (Carl Morrison), February 28-April 7, 1985. Score by Ernest McCarty, costumes by Lynn Ousley, with Billy Branch – Program and flyer
Box 1 Folder 4 Schedule, 1985-1986
Box 1 Folder 5 The Black Fairy by Useni Eugene Perkins, December 1985 - February 22, 1986 -- Review

Productions, 1986-1987 Season, Mainstage

Box 1 Folder 6 General season, schedule, 1986-1987
Box 1 Folder 7 A Passenger Past Midnight by Runako Jahi, September 18-October 26, 1986. Directed by Abena Joan Brown, musical direction by Eli Hoe Nai, with Runako Jahi -- Clipping
Box 1 Folder 8 Quiet as It’s Kept written and directed by Songodina, December 1986 -- Review
Box 1 Folder 9 Love’s Light in Flight written and directed by Charles Michael Moore, March 12-April 19, 1987. Costumes by Imani Carole Bailey, lighting by Craig Ford, Jr., set by Okoro Harold Johnson -- Reviews
Box 1 Folder 10 Fats: His Life and Times by Runako Jahi, May-June 21, 1987. Directed by Okoro Harold Johnson, lighting by Darryl Goodman, costumes by Yaumilton Brown -- Reviews
Box 1 Folder 11 Deadwood Dick by Useni Eugene Perkins, January 1987. Directed by Quemati Janice Porter -- Clipping

Productions, 1987-1988 Season, Mainstage

Box 1 Folder 12 General season, schedules, 1987-1988
Box 1 Folder 13 Again, Sometime Soon and Slowdance in Room 8Cwritten and directed by Runako Jahi, January 14-31, 1988. Costumes by Kemba Johnson, lighting and sets by Darryl Goodman – Review
Box 1 Folder 14 Enter Frederick Douglass by Sylvia Jarrico, February 11-28, 1988. With William Marshall – Reviews. See also: ETA-AV, Enter Frederick Douglass
Box 1 Folder 15 Sons and Fathers of Sons by Ray Aranha, March 10-April 17, 1988. Directed by Charles Michael Moore – Reviews

Productions, 1988-1989 Season, Mainstage

Box 1 Folder 16 General season schedules, 1988-1989
Box 1 Folder 17 Strange Fruit written and directed by Okoro Harold Johnson, October 20-November 27, 1988. Musical direction by Vince Wells, lighting by Craig Ford, Jr. – Program and flyer
Box 1 Folder 18 A Place to Be Me by Runako Jahi, January-February, 1989 – Review and study guide
Box 1 Folder 19 Again, Sometimes Soon and Slowdance in Room 8C, written and directed by Runako Jahi, July 6-August 13, 1989, Review

Productions, 1989-1990 Season, Mainstage

Box 1 Folder 20 General season schedules and promotional material, 1089-1990
Box 1 Folder 21 Loves Light in Flight written and directed by Charles Michael Moore, September 21-October 29, 1989. Sets by Runako Jahi, lights by Darryl Goodman – Program. See also: Chicago Theater Collection-Videotape Archive, #1.178
Box 1 Folder 22 Mood Indigo by Julian Swain, November 16-December 23, 1989. Directed and designed by Okoro Harold Johnson, musical direction Calvin Brunson, choreographed by Julian Swain, costumes by Ellis Foster, lighting by Darryl Goodman – Program. See also: ETA-AV Mood Indigo
Box 1 Folder 23 Good Black by Rob Penny, January 11-February 18, 1990. Directed by Woodie King, Jr., sets by Okoro Harold Johnson, costumes by Ellis Foster, lights by Darryl Goodman, with Runako Jahi – Reviews
Box 1 Folder 24 A House Divided by Marylene Whitehead, April 19-May 27, 1990. Directed by Okoro Harold Johnson – Flyer
Box 1 Folder 25 Dr. Watts and the Saints by Phyllis Cartwright, June 14 - July 22, 1990 – Review

Productions, 1989-1990 Season, Readers Theatre

Box 1 Folder 26 Boogie Woogie and Booker T. by Wesley Brown, November 27, 1989. Staged by Kemati Janice E. Porter – Program
Box 1 Folder 27 The Trial of Adam Clayton Powell by Billy Graham, January 29, 1990. Staged by Allen Edge – Program
Box 1 Folder 28 Sharp Blades in Tender Grass by Herman Cromwell Gilbert, March 5, 1990. Staged by Okoro Harold Johnson – Program

Productions, 1989-1990 Season, Showfolk

Box 1 Folder 29 Black Fairy by Useni Eugene Perkins, October 10-December 21, 1989. Directed by Runako Jahi, music by Tony Liorens and Jami Ayinde – Program and study guide
Box 1 Folder 30 Song and Dance by Runako Jahi, June 25-July 31, 1990 -- Flyer

Productions, 1990-1991 Season, Mainstage

Box 1 Folder 31 General season schedules, 1990-1991. See also: Chicago Theater Collection-Videotape Archive, #1.176
Box 1 Folder 32 Good Black by Rob Penny, September 30-October 28, 1990. Directed by Woodie King, Jr. sets by Okoro Harold Johnson, costumes by Ellis Foster – Program. See also: Chicago Theater Collection-Videotape Archive, #1.177
Box 1 Folder 33 If Blues Was a Dolla’II by Songadina, November 29-January 6, 1991 – Reviews
Box 1 Folder 34 Stoops by Crystal V. Rhodes, January 24-March 3, 1991. Directed by Runako Jahi, sets by Dorian Sylvain, costumes by Ellis Foster – Program and reviews. See also: Chicago Theater Collection-Videotape Archive, #1.179
Box 1 Folder 35 Rollin’ with Stevens and Stewart by Ronald Stevens and Jaye Stewart, March 14-April 21, 1991. Directed and choreographed by Ronald Stevens – Programs and reviews
Box 1 Folder 36 Survival by Themba Ntinga, Seth Sibanda, Fana Kekana, Selaelo Maredi, and Mshengu, May 2-26, 1991. Directed by Jerry Mofokeng – Reviews
Box 1 Folder 37 Among All This You Stand Like a Fine Brownstone adapted and directed by Vantile Whitfield, June 6-July 14, 1991. Set design by Dorian Sylvain – Program and reviews

Productions, 1991-1992 Season, Mainstage

Box 1 Folder 38 General season schedules, 1991-1992
Box 1 Folder 39 Stoops by Crystal V. Rhodes, September 19-October 27, 1991. Directed by Runako Jahi, sets by Dorian Sylvain, costumes by Ellis Foster, lighting by Darryl Goodman – Program and reviews. See also: Chicago Theater Collection-Videotape Archive, #1.85u
Box 1 Folder 40 Dirt by David L. Crowder, November 21-December 29, 1991. Directed by Kemati Janice Porter, sets by Dorian Sylvain, costumes by Marguerite Scott – Program and reviews. See also: ETA-AV Dirt
Box 1 Folder 41 The Last Season by Christopher Moore, January 23-March 1, 1992. Directed by Chuck Smith, sets by Dorian Sylvain, costumes by Rosemary Reeves – Program and reviews
Box 1 Folder 42 Tatum Family Blues written and directed by Charles Michael Moore, March 26-May 3, 1992. Sets by Dorian Sylvain, costumes by Jijinota Oyayemi – Programs and reviews
Box 1 Folder 43 Rita Warford, Now and the Muntu Dance Theatre, May 28-June 7, 1992 – Press kit
Box 1 Folder 44 Rita Warford, Now and the Muntu Dance Theatre, May 28-June 7, 1992 – Program. See also: ETA-AV Muntu Dance Theatre
Box 1 Folder 45 Harvest the Frost by Nubia Kai, June 18-July 26, 1992. Directed by Woodie King, Jr., sets by Dorian Sylvain, costumes by Ellis Foster – Program and reviews. See also: ETA-AV Harvest the Frost

Productions, 1991-1992 Season, Readers Theatre

Box 1 Folder 46 Shine by Syl Jones, October 28, 1991. Staged by Kemati J. Porter – Program

Productions, 1991-1992 Season, Showfolk

Box 1 Folder 47 The Positive Evolution of Bongo Baker written and directed by Runako Jahi, December 1992-July 1992. Score by Wanda Bishop, choreography by Bobby Andrews – Review
Box 1 Folder 48 The Positive Evolution of Bongo Baker – Program and study guide

Productions, 1992-1993 Season, Mainstage

Box 1a Folder 1 General season schedules, 1992-1993
Tatum Family Blues by Charles Michael Moore, September 17-October 25, 1992. See: Chicago Theater Collection-Videotape Archive, #1.175
Box 1a Folder 2 The Brother and the BAP by Michael Myer, November 19-December 27, 1992. Directed by Kemati Janice Porter, sets by Dorian Sylvain, costumes by Marguerite Scott – Program and reviews. See also: ETA-AV The Brother and the BAP
Box 1a Folder 3  Shango Diaspora by Angela Jackson, Janueary 21-February 28, 1993 -- Review
Box 1a Folder 4  Dee Alexander, Muntu and Rita Warford, March 26-April 18, 1993 -- Review
Box 1a Folder 5 The American Boys by Stephen Mack Jones, April 29-June 6, 1993. Directed by Chuck Smith – Review. See also: Chicago Theater Collection-Videotape Archive, #1.179
Box 1a Folder 6 God’s Trombones by James Weldon Johnson, July 1-August 8, 1993. Directed by Woodie King – Review

Productions, 1993-1994 Season

Box 1a Folder 7 General season brochure
Box 1a Folder 7a Elvira and the Lost Prince, December 1993 – Review
Box 1a Folder 8 Food for the Gods by Songodina Ifatunji, February 1994 – Review
Box 1a Folder 9 Sound of Sad Young Men by Carl Hancock-Rux, March-April, 1994 – Review
Box 1a Folder 10 Ring-S Around Rosie by Frances D. Harrison, June 1994 – Review
Box 1a Folder 11 Stepper’s Ball by Phyllis Curtwright, July 1994 – Review
Box 1a Folder 12 Goin’ to the Club by Darlette McAlpin, December 1994 – Review

Productions, 1995-1996 Season

Box 1a Folder 13 Stoops by Crystal Rhodes, January-February 1995 – Review
Box 1a Folder 14 Twenty Year Friends by James E. Gaines, Summer 1995 -- Review
Box 1a Folder 15 The Trial of… by Marcia L. Leslie, December 1995 – Review
Box 1a Folder 16 Urban Transition: Loose Blossoms by Ron Milner, February 1996 – Review
Box 1a Folder 17 Loves Light in Flight by Charles Michael Moore, July 1996 – Reviews

Productions, 1996-1997 Season

Box 1a Folder 18 Sasha Sings Dinah, December 1996 – Review
Box 1a Folder 19 Boppin’ with the Ancestors by Rob Penny, January-February 16, 1997 – Review
Box 1a Folder 20 This Far by Faith by Marylee Whitehead, March-April, 1997 – Review
Box 1a Folder 21 Five on the Black Hand Side by Charlie Russell, May-June 16, 1997 – Review
Box 1a Folder 21a Comfort Stew by Angela Jackson, July 1997 -- Reivew

Productions, 1997-1998 Season

Box 1a Folder 22 Winners/Losers by Kathryn Webster, January-February 15, 1998 – Review
Box 1a Folder 23 Avery Brooks in Paul Robeson by Phillip Hayes Dean, April 18, 1998 – Review

Productions, 1998-1999 Season

Box 1a Folder 24 Anchorman (A Blues Operetta) by Paul Carter Harrison, June 1999 – Reviews
Box 1a Folder 25 Sing, Sister, Sing by David Sheppard, August 1999 – Reviews

Productions, 1999-2000 Season

Box 1a Folder 26 Get Ready by Joe Plummer, Debi Stewart and Jaye Stewart, November-December, 1999 – Review
Box 1a Folder 27 Dream of Ophelia, February-March 5, 2000 – Review
Box 1a Folder 28 Checkmates by Ron Milner, March-April, 2000 – Review
Box 1a Folder 29 Riffs by Bill Harris, September-November 5, 2000 -- Review

Administration, General

Box 2 Folder 1 Clippings - 1983+
Box 2 Folder 2 Mission statement and History (1991)
Box 2 Folder 3 Newsletter Magic Notes, 1989-1991
Box 2 Folder 4 Magic Story Book
Box 2 Folder 5 Stationery
Box 2 Folder 5a General fundraising
See also: ETA-AV Staff

Administration, Development and Fundraising – Promotional Materials and Programs

Box 2 Folder 6 Celebration ‘88 We Have Arrived
Box 2 Folder 7 Celebration ‘90 Color Us Magic
Box 2 Folder 8 Gala ‘91 Celebrating the Divas of the 20th Century. See also: ETA-AV Celebrating the Divas
Box 2 Folder 9 Gala ‘92 Exulting in our Epic Men of the 20th Century. See also: ETA-AV Exulting in Our Epic Men
Box 2 Folder 9a Gala '93 Celebrating Our Oneness. See also: ETA-AV Annual Spring Benefit and Magic Award Winner Cecil D. Troy, 1992
Box 2 Folder 10 First Annual Golf Outing, August 9, 1990
Box 2 Folder 11 Second Annual Celebrity Golf and Tennis Outing, August 7, 1991
Box 2 Folder 12 Third Annual Celebrity Golf and Tennis Outing. August 19, 1992. See also: ETA-AV Golf Outings, undated
Box 2 Folder 13 Salute to Major Contributors, December 13, 1989
Box 2 Folder 14 Salute to Major Contributors, December 11, 1990
Box 2 Folder 15 Salute to Major Contributors, December 13, 1991
Box 2 Folder 16 Salute to Major Contributors, December 10, 1992
Box 2 Folder 17 ETA Magic Calendar 1990
Box 2 Folder 18 ETA Magic Calendar 1991
Box 2 Folder 19 ETA Magic Calendar 1992
Box 2 Folder 20 ETA Magic Calendar 1993

Administration, Outreach and Programs

Box 2 Folder 21 Class information
Box 2 Folder 22 African American Women in the Arts, August 9-11, 1991. See also: ETA-AV African-American Women in the Arts
Box 2 Folder 23 African American Women in the Arts, August 14-16, 1992
Box 2 Folder 23a African American Women in the Arts, August 27-28, 1993
Box 2 Folder 24 Chicago on the Nile Program, June 29-August 14, 1992
Box 2 Folder 25 Gallery Exhibits - 1991
Box 2 Folder 26 Gallery Exhibits - 1992
Box 2 Folder 27 Arts for Youth Empowerment, 1992
Box 2 Folder 28 Arts in Education programs, 1992
Box 2 Folder 29 Play Discovery/Development Initiative, 1992
Box 2 Folder 30 Volunteer Handbook, 1991
Print