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Sideshow Theatre To Stream Tilikum - One Night Benefit
Jun 12, 2020

Tilikum Sideshow Theatre Company is pleased to present a one-night-only streaming revival of its 2018 hit Tilikum on Friday, June 19 at 7 pm CDT, a benefit for the #LetUsBreathe Collective in honor of Juneteenth and the Black Lives Matter movement, and in solidarity with the protests in Chicago and around the world for an end to State-sponsored violence against Black bodies. The presentation will include remarks and conversation with some of the artists who created it.

Written by Kristiana Rae Colón and directed by Lili-Anne Brown, Tilikum features Gregory Geffrard, Sigrid Sutter and Sideshow ensemble member Matt Fletcher*. Tickets are pay-what-you-can with a suggested donation of at least $10; however all are welcome and no one will be turned away for lack of funds. To donate, visit any time before the event. Patrons will be linked to YouTube Live or Facebook Live to view the production.

Founded by Colón, the #LetUsBreathe Collective is an alliance of artists and activists organizing through a creative lens to imagine a world without prisons and police. It operates the Breathing Room space, a Black-led liberation headquarters for arts, organizing and healing on Chicago's South Side. For additional information, visit

Tilikum was nominated for seven 2019 Jeff Awards and won the awards for new play, original music and projection design. Comments artistic director Jonathan L. Green, "Tilikum has been one of the most impactful productions in Sideshow's history and it challenged and changed the way so many of us think about what true liberation means - Kristiana's masterwork allows us to envision a radical and glorious future."

Playwright and co-director of the #LetUsBreathe Collective Kristiana Rae Colón adds, "Now is the time to get on the right side of history. Now is the time to imagine beyond nightsticks and cages. Now is the time for collective care and responsibility. Dismantling white supremacist ideology and carceral systems is spirit work - metaphysical work - that demands our will to love be stronger than our will to power, that our courage to resist be stronger than our fear of change. We are creators and visionaries; we can imagine beyond police and prisons, and the time is now. Global pandemic has shown us that overnight transformation of social systems is possible, so there is no more time to wait for violent systems to grow a conscience. The time is now."

Tilikum was a king, and the oceans of the world were his. Now, he is a captive in a marine amusement park, doomed to live as an opportunity for profit. Alone behind bars he forgets the feel of freedom, but when fellow prisoners ignite the fires of his memory, he starts down a path that threatens to consume everything. Ripped from the headlines, Kristiana Rae Colón's Tilikum explores captivity, violence and rebellion in a vital and visceral blend of theatre, drumming and dance. Poetic and lyrical, Tilikum calls out the power structures - both corporate and human - that ensure continued oppression, and the complicity of those willing to stand by and do nothing.

The original production team for Tilikum includes: William Boles* (scenic design), Izumi Inaba (costume design), Jared Gooding (lighting design), Victoria Deiorio (sound design), Amy Peters (properties design), Paul Deziel (projections designer), Coco Elysses (composer, music director), Melissa F. DuPrey* (composer, musician), Joyce Liza Rada Lindsey (musician), Noelle Simone (choreographer), Isaac Gomez (dramaturg), Chad Hain (technical director), Benjamin W. Dawson* and Ellen Willett* (production managers) and Savannah Clements (stage manager).

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