We are excited about our eclectic mix of 5 mainstage productions that represents the diversity of this great institution. The season opens with BLUES IN THE NIGHT: A hot and torchy evening of raunchily forthright and good-humored classic blues tunes; RASHEEDA SPEAKING: A contemporary work place thriller that examines the realities of so-called post racial America; SISTER ACT: Lounge singer Dolores Van Cartier goes undercover as a nun and all hell breaks loose in the convent; REPAIRING A NATION” Explores the issue of reparations in the 21st century for the 1921 Tulsa Oklahoma Race Riots; and we close the season with YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU: This 1930’s American classic is a romantic comedy that brings the eccentric Sycamore family and the affluent and conservative Kirby family together at a dinner party on the wrong night.
In January 2016 we launched our Strategic Plan 2016-2018 which we call “Karamu 2.0.” Our plan is ambitious in intention but realistic in scope. We’re certain that an investment to raise production values, re-imagined arts education programming, and a re-commitment to core values like integrity, financial stability, and joy will lead to success for our organization and our community.
New, bolder mission and vision statements acknowledge Karamu’s 100-year legacy and assert its relevance for the future. Two central activities will be given our attention and elbow grease: producing socially- relevant, professional-quality entertainment, and delivering innovative, culturally- responsive arts education
programs and services for lifelong learners. To continue Karamu’s proud tradition of serving the entire community, year-round programming will include holiday gatherings that celebrate African American traditions and culture, such as Kwanzaa, Martin Luther King Day, and Black History Month; discussion forums to dialogue with local leaders and artists about social justice themes; film presentations, and live music productions.
Finally, in January 2017 we will begin major renovations to the Jelliffe and Arena Theatres which is funded by a $1.8 million grant from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC). This is the first of many steps to upgrade, adapt and re-purpose this prominent mid-20th-century structure to align to the new Karamu. The final production of the season will be presented at a venue in the community. We invite you to join with us at our “place of joyful gathering” as we embark on this exciting journey towards Karamu’s future. Until then.
Tony F. Sias
President + CEO