University of Pittsburgh
March 10, 2003

Pitt's Kuntu Repertory Theatre to Present Ashes to Africa March 20 through April 5

Contact:  412-624-4147

March 11, 2003

PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh's Kuntu Repertory Theatre (KRT) will present Ashes to Africa March 20 through April 5 in the Seventh-Floor Auditorium of Alumni Hall, 4227 Fifth Ave., Oakland.

Written by Mark Southers and directed by Vernell A. Lillie, Ashes to Africa is the story of Marta Henderson and how her efforts to fulfill the wishes of her deceased grandmother—that her cremated remains be sprinkled over Africa—ignite into an explosion of internal family struggle of love and honor.

Southers, a Pittsburgh native, has been associated with KRT since 1980 as a photographer, actor, and playwright. His play When the Water Turns Clear was performed in Chicago at the ETA Performing Arts Foundation. His film and television credits include Hoffa, Silence of the Lambs, Striking Distance, and The Young and the Restless. Southers also is an accomplished photographer whose work has appeared in numerous publications, including Jet magazine, and on the PBS program Tony Brown's Journal. Ashes to Africa has received staged readings in Cleveland and at the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Southers recently became the owner of Penn Theatre in Bloomfield and produced the holiday hit Christmas is Comin' Uptown.

Lillie, founder and artistic director of KRT, is an associate professor in the Department of Africana Studies at Pitt. Her previous directing credits for Kuntu include Sun Rising on the Hill District, Whispers Want to Holler, and the touring production of Lift Every Voice and Sing. She is a board member of City Theatre Community Media and a consultant for Black Theatre Network.

Cast members for Ashes to Africa include Kevin Brown, Art Terry, Leslie Howard, Tasha Smith, Sheba Gittens, Jeannine Foster McKelvia, M. J. Henderson, and Eileen J. Morris, KRT's managing director.

Performances are held Thursdays through Sundays. Thursday through Saturday performances start at 8 p.m. Sunday curtain time is 4 p.m. There will be a special matinee for students and seniors at 11 a.m. April 3.

For ticket and group sales information, call KRT, a part of the Department of Africana Studies at Pitt, at 412-624-7298, or visit Student and senior citizen discounts are available.