About Face Theatre is coming to Logan Square’s Unity Park (2636 N. Kimball Ave.) with a performance of “Power In PRIDE,” a showcase of stories from LGBTQ youth tonight. They will touch on bullying, family, acceptance, gender, mental health, identity and more through spoken word, dance and theater.
Following the performance, a discussion will be hosted by the cast to share LGBTQ resources and how allies can support their LGBTQ community.
The free event is meant to be engaging but also spread awareness about the realities facing LGBTQ youth and how the conversation can move forward, said Robert Castillo, Unity Park Advisory Council’s current Media and Publicity Committee Chair.
Castillo said the event means a lot to him personally, as does hosting it at Unity Park, which is a representation of the diverse community and voices coming together.
“It is an opportunity to provide a platform for the community to hear the voices of LGBTQ youth expressed through this particular performance,” Castillo said. “On a more personal note, my late husband John Pennycuff, played in this park as a kid when it was Playlot 293. When we lived on Drake Avenue, LGBTQ youth used to leave messages at our house asking for help finding resources so this is my way of saying “I heard you!”
He hopes that that people will walk away with an appreciation of the programming that UPAC is able to make happen at Unity Park.
He remembers when UPAC members celebrated his marriage to his late husband Pennycuff, also a UPAC member back in 2005 and helped Castillo cope with his husband’s death in 2012. He said that experience shows the council has worked to make Unity a park where everyone is welcome and be supportive of the community.
“The need for resources is still great for LGBTQ youth, especially LGBTQ youth of color, so by hosting this performance I hope we are educating allies and giving hope to LGBTQ Youth and adults who view “Power in PRIDE,” he said.
UPAC is hosting the event in partnership with the Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks and to celebrate the Chicago Year of Theatre. If you need a Friday plan, look no further. The performance is free and takes place Aug. 16 from 6:30 to 7:45 at Unity Park.
Note: In case of rain, “Power in PRIDE” will be moved to Kosciuszko Park (2732 N. Avers Ave.). Folks should check UPAC social media for updates.
Featured photo: Tom Vlodek