University of Pittsburgh
January 23, 2008

Pitt's Kuntu Repertory Theatre in the Spotlight At Month-long Black History Month Exhibition

Free public reception at City-County Building Feb. 5

Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH-An extraordinary collection of treasures from Pitt's Kuntu Repertory Theatre will be on display weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 6-29 in the lobby of the City County Building, 414 Grant St., Downtown. The exhibition, titled "Telling Our Stories," is part of the Citiparks 2008 celebration of Black History Month.

Photographs, historic posters, costumes, props, and pieces of sets from past Kuntu productions will be featured throughout the lobby. Since its founding in 1974, Kuntu has produced more than 80 plays by African American writers, including the works of Rob Penny, August Wilson, and Kathleen Collins.

As part of the overall "Pittsburgh 250" celebration, the materials will represent four plays with distinct ties to Pittsburgh: "Among the Best: Pittsburgh Crawfords and the Homestead Grays," "Sweet Thunder: The Billy Strayhorn Story, Crawford Grill Presents Billie Holiday!," and "Clean Drums." A brief video, produced by Pittsburgh Filmmakers and City Channel Pittsburgh, will provide an overview of the display as well as the history of Kuntu-the oldest and largest continuing African American performing arts organization in Pittsburgh.

To kickoff the exhibition's opening, a free public reception will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Feb. 5 in the City-County Building lobby. Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Vernell A. Lillie, Kuntu's founder, producing artistic director, and Pitt associate professor emerita of Africana Studies, are scheduled to make remarks. The cast of the current Kuntu production, "Journey of the Spirits," will be on hand to perform Gospel music, and attendees will receive refreshments, a souvenir booklet, and a commemorative poster.

In addition to Kuntu, sponsors of "Telling Our Stories" include the City of Pittsburgh Housing Authority, Dwelling House Savings and Loan, The Bank of New York Mellon, Strategic Energy, and WAMO 106.7 FM. For more information, call 412-255-2493 or visit