Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department alumna Tyla Abercrumbie ’98 is profiled in a feature published November 24, 2021, in the Chicago Reader, Chicago’s leading alternative publication. Headlined “Tyla Abercrumbie is About More Than The Chi,” the article recounts that Abercrumbie, who grew up in Chicago’s west-side Austin neighborhood, enrolled at Columbia College after dropping out of Roosevelt University. After launching her stage career at Chicago’s ETA Creative Arts Foundation, she began pursuing TV work, eventually landing a recurring role in The Chi, the shot-in-Chicago Showtime series created by Columbia College alum Lena Waithe ’06. Today she divides her time between TV and stage, and between acting and playwriting.
As previously reported in this blog, Abercrumbie’s play Relentless was scheduled to premiere in May 2020 at TimeLine Theatre, where Abercrumbie is a company member, until the production was postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The play will finally receive its premiere in January 2022.
“It takes place in 1919. It’s about the Black Victorian. It grapples with a family coming together to realize how history has formed them. These two sisters examine their history through their mother’s experience and in addition, they’re dealing with everything that’s going on in 1919,” Abercrumbie says in a TimeLine promotional video. That was a pivotal time in history, with World War I coming to an end, a global flu pandemic killing millions, racial unrest in Chicago and elsewhere around the U.S., and the enactment of women’s suffrage and Prohibition in America.
Chicago is Abercrumbie’s home base, professionally and personally. “I love the city. I love the groundedness of the people, especially being in the industry I’m in in particular,” Abercrumbie says in the Reader interview. “It’s something grounded about the artistic world in the midwest. That means a lot to me. This is what I do, not who I am. I’m so much more than being an artist, but I am still very much an artist.” To read the full Chicago Reader article, click here.