The Royale

  • In February 2023, the Illinois Theatre department put on a production of The Royale by Marco Ramirez, an excellently written and moving piece, in the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts Festival Theater.  The main character, Jay, is based on Jack Johnson, the first African-American world heavyweight boxing champion. 
  • While Scenic Designer, Alyssa Thompson (MFA, 2023), and guest Director, Tyrone Phillips were doing their research to create the show, they discovered artist Nikko Washington’s work. Rather than deriving pieces from his works, they reached out to Nikko to see if he would be interested in collaborating with the production, and Nikko was excited to collaborate. 
  • When Thompson and scenic design colleague Will Sexton (MFA, 2023) completed the recreation of Washington's original painting of Jack Johnson, they were looking for a place to give it more life after being used in the production. They connected with SCD, and we collaborated to figure out a way to bring this piece, and their stories, to another stage in the SCD Gallery. 

  • Check out the gallery below for more photos from the opening reception, including displays showing more of the process, and watch Alyssa and Will provide comments in this video.