Perceptions Theatre

While taking a theater business course as an undergrad at Northwestern State University in Louisiana, Myesha-Tiara had an epiphany: “I realized there was a deficit for the students of color in the classroom in getting needed training.” The Baton Rouge native, who moved to Chicago six years ago, founded Perceptions in 2020 with Chicagoan Jerluane “Jae” Jenkins, the company’s executive director, as a way to bring the stage to South Shore — and to be an economic and artistic resource for artists of color, providing services like affordable headshots and agent referrals. The pandemic shut down live shows just as the company started, but its first full live production this spring, Panther Women: An Army for the Liberation, was worth the wait. The Jeff-recommended show, about the women of the Black Panther Party in the 1960s and ’70s, played to sold-out crowds in a community that has long been starved of the arts. “They tell us, ‘We never have any art, we never have anything,’ ” says Myesha-Tiara, 30, who serves as artistic director. “This has brought about a lot for the community in terms of seeing theater and experiencing people who look like them on the stage.” 1825 E. 79th St., South Shore