August Wilson and Black Horizon Theatre

Issue Date: 
March 16, 2015

Pittsburgh Public Theater will sponsor a March 16 panel discussion, “The Making of a Playwright: August Wilson and Black Horizon Theatre.”

Chris Rawson

Moderators will be Laurence Glasco, a Pitt associate professor of history, and Chris Rawson, a senior lecturer in Pitt’s Department of English and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette theater critic. The event will be held at 7 p.m. in the O’Reilly Theater, 621 Penn Ave., Downtown, and is free and open to the public. 

The panel discussion is being held in conjunction with the Pittsburgh Public Theater’s showing of August Wilson’s final play, How I Learned What I Learned, through April 5.

Black Horizon Theatre staged plays in the auditorium of A. Leo Weil School in the Hill District from 1968 to 1972. The theatre was cofounded by the late playwrights August Wilson and Rob Penny, a Pitt professor of Africana Studies and playwright-in-residence for many years at the Kuntu Repertory Theatre. Kuntu, which continued Black Horizon’s legacy, was founded by Pitt Professor Emeritus Vernell Lillie and was based at the University of Pittsburgh.

Laurence Glasco

Panelists include several key former Black Horizon volunteers: Pitt alumnus Curtiss Porter, an education executive who helped the theater with fundraising; Frank Hightower, who served as stage manager and director at various times; Sala Udin, an activist and former Pittsburgh City Council member who was Black Horizon’s leading actor; Sakina Abdul A’la, an actress and women’s rights advocate; Lee Kiburi, a playwright who has appeared in plays Wilson directed for Kuntu; Pitt alumnus Tony Fountain, a retired business executive who performed percussion in Black Horizon plays; and Pitt alumnus Linda Wharton Boyd, a communication professional who danced in Black Horizon plays.