Black Horizon Theater

Black Horizon Theater

Black Horizon Theater was a community-based, Black Nationalist theater company co-founded in 1968 by August Wilson and Rob Penny in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States.

The theater began in 1965 when a group of African-American poets in the Hill organized the Centre Avenue Poets' Theater Workshop. Among the writers were Nick Flournoy, Charlie P. Williams, Penny, and then 21-year-old Wilson.

In 1967 Penny began to write plays, influenced by the example of the poet and playwright Amiri Baraka, and completed two one-acts. Wilson intended to direct them. He obtained a copy of "The Fundamentals of Play Directing" by Pittsburgh's directing guru, Carnegie Mellon University's Lawrence Carra, and studied it. In 1968 Penny and Wilson began their new venture as Black Horizon Theater, modeled on Baraka's Black Arts Repertory Theater in Harlem and Spirit House in Newark, New Jersey, and produced the two Penny plays.

Over the next four years the company also produced plays by Ed Bullins, Sonia Sanchez, Baraka, and others. Wilson served as the company director and Penny was the playwright-in-residence. Other company members included Maisha Baton, Mary Bradley, Marsha Lillie, Ron Pitts, Claude Purdy, and Sala Udin.

Black Horizon Theater dissolved by the mid-1970s. University of Pittsburgh professor Dr. Vernell A. Lillie picked up its legacy, however, when she founded Kuntu Repertory Theatre in 1975 as a way of showcasing the playwright Rob Penny, who continued to write prolifically. The next year August Wilson brought his own early effort in playwrighting, "Homecoming", to Kuntu; it was his first play to be produced by a resident company.

Wilson, Penny, and poet Maisha Baton also started the Kuntu Writers Workshop to continue the tradition of Centre Avenue Poets' Theater Workshop.


*cite book | author=Conner, Lynne | title=Pittsburgh in Stages: Two Hundred Years of Theater | location=Pittsburgh | publisher=University of Pittsburgh Press | year=2007 | id=ISBN 0-8229-4330-1

External links

* [ Kuntu Repertory Theatre Homepage]

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