Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Co.’s New Space | Program Notes

Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Co.’s New Space


Congrats to Playwrights on officially opening its new venue, on the third floor of 937 Liberty Ave. Occupying the same Pittsburgh Cultural Trust-owned building where Bricolage Productions occupies the first floor is a big step up in both visibility and creature comforts from Playwrights’ former space in the parking garage at 6th and Penn.

By which I mean that the new space, along with its hardwood floors, feels well-scrubbed, with finished-out walls and ceiling. It also has heat – a makeshift affair in the old space – and air-conditioning. And the lobby’s better-lit.

Yet as demonstrated by the troupe’s inaugural production at 937 Liberty, its eighth annual Theatre Festival in Black & White, artistic director Mark Clayton has also retained what was agreeable about the old space – especially the friendly, welcoming atmosphere, typified by Southers himself taking tickets at last night’s show.

Meanwhile, the black-box-style theater space itself will be pretty familiar to veteran Playwrights audiences: The seating arrangement and capacity (about 100) is the same. I’m pretty sure that the ever-resourceful Southers even reused some of the same seats.

As to the Black & White Fest, the quality of the one-acts varies, as always. But the fest – which pairs white playwrights with black directors, and vice versa -- remains a unique attempt to promote diversity and collaboration in the Pittsburgh stage scene (among audiences as well as artists), and that’s always a good thing.

The Fest continues with two separate programs of four plays each running in rotation, at 3 and 7 p.m. both today and tomorrow. See www.pghplaywrights.com.

Playwrights remains the sole local company dedicated to producing works by local playwrights – and not just August Wilson, though Playwrights has arguably become the premier producer of Wilson’s works.

The company executes a quick turnaround, staging its next production in January: Elder Hostage, by Ray Werner, and directed by Marci Woodruff.

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