University of Pittsburgh
September 10, 1998



PITTSBURGH, Sept. 11 -- The University of Pittsburgh's internationally-known Kuntu Repertory Theatre has announced its 1998-1999 season which celebrates Pittsburgh playwrights. The four productions are:

• Sacred Ground, written by Valerie Lawrence and directed by Vernell Lillie. Performed Sept. 24 through Oct. 10, 1998, in the Stephen Foster Memorial Auditorium.

• Lifting, written by Frank Hightower and directed by Ally Woods. Performed Jan. 28 through Feb. 13, 1999, in the Stephen Foster Memorial Auditorium.

• Papa's Blues, written by Javon Johnson and directed by Vernell Lillie. Performed April 14 through May 1, 1999, in the Pitt Studio.

• Sing Black Hammer, written by William Mayfield and directed by Eileen Morris. Performed June 17 through July 3, 1999, in the Stephen Foster Memorial Auditorium.

All four playwrights boast ties to the Pittsburgh region. Each is a graduate of the Kuntu Writers Workshop founded in 1976 by Rob Penny and August Wilson. Lawrence, a Franklin Park resident, opens the season with the world premiere of "Sacred Ground," set "at the annual fish fry, (where) church members, in rousing gospel and spiritual sounds, raise their ancestors, revealing a painful history while seeking to heal the wounds of the past."

Hightower's connection to the area began in the late 1960s, when he worked with the First Black Horizon Theatre in Pittsburgh. Johnson, whose play is the 1998 winner of the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, is a master of fine arts candidate in the department of theater arts at the University of Pittsburgh. Mayfield's play is the winner of the Theodore Ward Prize.

Performances are held Thursday through Sunday. Thursday through Saturday performances start at 8:00 p.m. Sunday curtain time is

4:00 p.m. For more information, call (412) 624-7298.

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