University of Pittsburgh Stages Opens Season With Pittsburgh Premiere of "Venus"

Issue Date: 
October 21, 2013

A young girl. An English doctor. A harsh unforgiving city.

Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, and hear the tale of The Venus Hottentot, the beautiful African Dancing Princess.

The production company for Pitt’s Department of Theatre Arts—now known as University of Pittsburgh Stages—presents the Pittsburgh premiere of Venus, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks. It runs Oct. 24 through Nov. 10 at the Studio Theatre, in the basement of Pitt’s Cathedral of Learning.

Performances are Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Call 412-624-PLAY (7529) or visit for more information.

The OBIE-award winning Venus tells the story of Sartjie “Sarah” Baartman, a young South African woman with drive and a shrewd mind. Lured away by dreams of luxury, she is caged and exhibited in a London freak show. She escapes and ends up exploited by a doctor with whom she has fallen in love. Parks uses ironic comedy, pathos, and a lively chorus to examine the seductive and dangerous power of money, sexuality, and privilege.

Venus is directed by internationally active director Cynthia Croot, whose City of Asylum premiered at Pitt last season. Pittsburgh-based actor and teaching artist Bria Walker stars as Baartman. The intimate set is designed by Pitt theatre arts faculty member Gianni Downs.

About University of Pittsburgh Stages

The performance arm of the Department of Theatre Arts has had many names over the decades, from the Pitt Players to the more recent University of Pittsburgh Repertory Theatre. But its commitment to teaching and creating world-class theatre productions remains the same.  University of Pittsburgh Stages honors the three physical spaces in which the actors perform as well as the stages of career development through which the Pitt Theatre Arts faculty guides its students. The department offers BA, MA, MFA, and PhD degrees in theatre arts. All faculty members are active in teaching, research, and artistic projects.