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