Congo Square to Partner with Lookingglass Theatre to Remount “What’s to Send Up When it Goes Down”

Congo Square Theatre Company, one of the nation’s premier African American ensemble theater companies, and Lookingglass Theatre Company announce that single tickets are now on sale for the remount of Congo Square’s production of What to Send Up When It Goes Down in residence at Lookingglass Theatre Company’s historic Water Tower Water Works theater, 821 N Michigan Ave.

Congo Square first presented the Chicago premiere of playwright Aleshea Harris’ powerful play-pageant-healing ritual What to Send Up When It Goes Down this past spring, with performances on the West side at GRAY Chicago and on the South side at Stony Island Arts Bank.  While in residence at Lookingglass Theatre Company, Congo Square extends its citywide tour into the heart of downtown Chicago; continuing Congo Square’s commitment to community engagement, half of the tickets for each performance will again be donated to local community groups.

New this fall, throughout the run of What to Send Up When It Goes Down, Congo Square will debut The Celebration of Healing Initiative, a program that provides audiences with a curated space for individual and community healing.  Celebration of Healing events include discussions with community members and organizations in addition to workshops in other healing modalities including yoga, meditation, and restorative healing practices. The mission of The Celebration of Healing Initiative is to offer the community practical tools for their healing journey while destigmatizing the impacts of trauma on mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Celebration of Healing events are free and open to all audience members.

“We are thrilled to continue the Chicago premiere tour of What to Send Up When It Goes Down in residence at Lookingglass Theatre Company,” said Congo Square Theatre’s artistic director and What to Send Up When It Goes Down co-director Ericka Ratcliff. “And we are also excited to be debuting The Celebration of Healing Initiative in conjunction with this vital work focused on community catharsis. We look forward to centering healing from racial trauma in all of our future works through the Initiative.”

What to Send Up When it Goes Down has been such a pivotal work in our community since its Chicago premiere, and we believe that it will continue to have a compounding impact in this remount as we endeavor to bring more of our community into this healing and revelatory experience.” shared Congo Square Theatre executive director Charlique C. Rolle. “We are so grateful for our partnership with GRAY Chicago and Rebuild Foundation that supported the original run and this remount.”

“We are honored to share space at our historic venue with our friends and colleagues at Congo Square Theatre,” added Lookingglass Theatre Company artistic director Heidi Stillman. “What to Send Up When It Goes Down is truly an amazing piece of theater and more people in our city will now have the opportunity to experience it.”

Designed to help Black communities heal from American racialized violence, What to Send Up When It Goes Down is a vital theatrical work. It is a participatory, shapeshifting experience intent on creating space for collective catharsis, cleansing and healing. The performance unfolds as a series of vignettes which employ a variety of forms including parody, song, movement, and facilitated dialogue. Breaking the fourth wall, cast members enact the script differently in each performance as members of the audience are invited not only to behold the piece as spectators, but to become part of the current that holds the story together.

This intimate, interactive 90-minute work is co-directed by Congo Square artistic director Ericka Ratcliff and Ensemble member Daniel Bryant. Members from the original production cast and creative team will be joined by newcomers in this iteration of the production tour.

What to Send Up When It Goes Down will be performed September 24 – October 16, 2022, Wednesday – Saturday evenings at 7p.m., with matinees Saturday and Sunday at 2p.m. Official opening night is September 29. All tickets are $35 and can be purchased at