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Next Stage Society

Black Ensemble Theater proudly recognizes its numerous partners whose contributions provide major programming, capital and general support. These donors are critical to sustaining our fundamental work at the Black Ensemble Theater.

History and Background:

In 2010, Black Ensemble Theater broke ground on the New Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center.  A 57,800 square foot property located at 4440 N. Clark Street.  This new home reflects and supports the caliber of performances, the significance of its mission and the unique educational outreach programs for at risk and underserved populations. 

Now that we have successfully transitioned to the Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center, it is more vital than ever before that our supporters commit annual support for the ongoing operation of the theater.  With that in mind, the Next Stage Society was created to recognize our most generous donors and engage new donors who will help to ensure the sustainability of the theater for years to come.    

Origin of Next Stage Society Name:

Black Ensemble Theater has been a positive force in the lives of actors and young people for over three decades, catapulting them from one stage to the next.  For some that next stage has been college or Job Corps, for others it has been Broadway or Hollywood.

Jackie Taylor and Black Ensemble have been working for the last 35 years to nurture and develop actors who have gone on to have successful careers on Broadway and on the big screen.  These actors began on the Black Ensemble stage and moved on to the next stage.  Chester Gregory is just one of Black Ensemble’s success stories.  Read more about Chester.

Additionally, thousands of students and young adults from Chicago’s most impoverished communities have participated in Black Ensemble's outreach programs.  Many of the program alumni credit Jackie Taylor and Black Ensemble Theater for encouraging them to go to college and stay on the right path.  Some alumni even attribute their association with Black Ensemble Theater as saving their lives.  Read their stories.

Membership Benefits:

In addition to the pride associated with being a contributor to the arts and the feeling that comes from knowing that your support helped to transform lives, BE’s Next Stage Society members also enjoy advance notice of ticket sales, a voucher for a complimentary drink at concessions, priority seating at special events, special invitations for Black Ensemble events and performances, as well as recognition in programs and on the Black Ensemble Theater website for one year.

Invitation for Membership:

You can help support the Black Ensemble Theater as we continue to transform lives by making a contribution of $1,000 or more today.  CLICK HERE to make a gift now.  Your contribution of $1,000 or more reserves your membership in the Next Stage Society.

If you are having problems accessing the link to give, contact Shaina Farwell at