University of Pittsburgh
March 30, 2003

Pitt's Kuntu Repertory Theatre Program Will Explore Experience of African American Theater Artists

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh's Kuntu Repertory Theatre (KRT) will present another event in its series Rejoicing, Crying, Creating: the Experience of African American Theatre Artists from 12 to 1 p.m. April 7 in the Assembly Room of the William Pitt Union, 3959 Fifth Ave., Oakland.

The event features a panel discussion by three African American theater professionals, who will share their experiences as writers, actors, directors, and producers as they discuss such topics as the particular challenges they face: how issues of race, politics, and multiculturalism make an impact on African American theater artists and their work; whether room has been made for African American artists in contemporary theater; and the joys and challenges of working in theater.

Panelists include Irma Hall, Ernest Perry Jr., and Vernell Lillie. Hall and Perry are starring in the current production of Birdie Blue at Pittsburgh's City Theatre. Hall appeared as Big Mama in Soul Food and as Voodoo Mama in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Perry has appeared on ER and Star Trek and in Liar, Liar and The Color of Money. Lillie is the founder and creative director of KRT, a theater company started in 1974 to examine Black life from a sociopolitical-historical perspective.

This edition of Rejoicing, Crying, Creating: the Experience of African American Theatre Artists is dedicated to the memory of Rob Penny, associate professor of Africana studies at Pitt and KRT playwright-in-residence, who died March 16 of a heart attack at age 62. Late this spring, Lillie will direct KRT's production of Penny's Difficult Days Ahead in a Blaze.

The event is open to the public. Along with KRT, a part of Pitt's Department of Africana Studies, sponsors include Pittsburgh's City Theatre and Pitt Arts. A free lunch will be provided for Pitt students, faculty, and staff. For more information, call 412-624-7298.