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University of Pittsburgh Stages 2018-2019 Season: Mainstage: Kuntu Production

Library and web resources relating to the productions of the University of Pittsburgh Stages 2018-2019 season

1995 Pittsburgh premiere of Flyin’ West By Kuntu Repertory Theatre

Pearl Cleage’s Flyin’ West first premiered in Pittsburgh in September and October of 1995. Kuntu Repertory Theatre, led by Professor Emeritus of Africana Studies Dr. Vernell Lillie, performed the play right here in Stephen Foster Memorial Auditorium (now Charity Randall Theatre).  Eileen Morris, Artistic Director of The Ensemble Theatre in Houston, Texas, was brought in to direct the show as part of the Woodie King, Jr. Professional Director/Producer Series.  

About Kuntu Repertory Theatre and the archival collection

The Kuntu Repertory Theatre was founded in 1974 by Dr. Vernell Lillie and Robert Lee “Rob” Penny. A project of the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Africana Studies, Kuntu was the predominant African-American performing arts group in Pittsburgh for over 35 years.  With roots in the Black Arts Movement, Kuntu provided a platform for black artists and technicians and examined African-American experiences with the goal of creating personal growth and social change. The group produced over 100 main-stage plays, touring productions, workshops, classes, and special events before it ceased operations in 2013.  The Kuntu Repertory Theatre Collection at the University of Pittsburgh Libraries Archives & Special Collections contains text-based, audio, moving image, and photographic records documenting the activities of the Theatre. 

Guide Creator

Content for this page was created by Megan Massanelli, Kuntu Project Archivist.

Production records

Performance photograph featuring actors Karla Payne, Chrystal Bates, Deborah Starling, and Jason Carvell, 1995. Photograph is uncredited.

Kuntu Repertory Theatre Collection, c. 1970-2013, CTC.2015.01, Curtis Theatre Collection, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System 

Flyer for Kuntu Repertory Theatre, 1995

Kuntu Repertory Theatre Collection, c. 1970-2013, CTC.2015.01, Curtis Theatre Collection, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System 

Performance photograph featuring actors Karla Payne, Chrystal Bates, and Deborah Starling, 1995. Photograph is uncredited.

Kuntu Repertory Theatre Collection, c. 1970-2013, CTC.2015.01, Curtis Theatre Collection, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System 

Performance photograph featuring actors Chrystal Bates, Deborah Starling, and unidentified actor, 1995. Photograph is uncredited.

Kuntu Repertory Theatre Collection, c. 1970-2013, CTC.2015.01, Curtis Theatre Collection, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System 

Flyin’ West set designs for Kuntu Repertory Theatre by Ken Ellis, c. 1995.

Kuntu Repertory Theatre Collection, c. 1970-2013, CTC.2015.01, Curtis Theatre Collection, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System