Festival celebrates complete works of playwright August Wilson

April 14, 2005

University Park, Pa. -- Penn State will be host for the August Wilson Play Festival, from April 27 to April 30 on the Penn State University Park campus. It is the first time ever for an event to address all 10 epic plays of the Pittsburgh-born, African-American playwright through production, play readings or discussion.

The festival is part of an ongoing Penn State initiative, "In Pursuit of Social Justice: Recognizing Pennsylvania Black Artists," to celebrate the creative achievements of black Pennsylvanians and use their artistic contributions as a way to promote racial and cultural diversity.

"August Wilson is a natural fit within the project; he needs to be recognized by his native state and by the academic community for his consciousness raising and social activism through the written word," said Beverly Vandiver, director of Penn State's Africana Research Center, co-sponsor of the initiative along with Penn State's Institute for the Arts and Humanities. "Born into the black experience in Pittsburgh, he used his life experiences to make statements about the social ills that beset American society, and in particular, African-Americans."

The festival will include three theatrical productions, staged readings and discussions of Wilson's 10 plays -- each depicting the African-American experience in a different decade of the 20th century.

The three major Pennsylvania public universities -- Penn State, the University of Pittsburgh and Temple -- joined forces for the event, with Wilson's plays being staged and performed by the Penn State School of Theatre's professional arm, the Pennsylvania Centre Stage; by Pittsburgh's oldest African-American troupe, the University of Pittsburgh's Kuntu Repertory Theatre; and by Temple University Theatre.

"August Wilson's plays are transformative experiences that remind us all we must always try to be better human beings," said Vandiver.

Tickets for the entire festival or individual event tickets to the general public are available by calling (800) PSU-TODAY. For more information, go to http://www.outreach.psu.edu/C&I/WilsonFestival or call (814) 863-5100.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 19, 2009