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2020-21 Productions

Online: December 2020

Ubuntu Holiday

Kim El

By Kim El
Directed by Mils James

Our December 2020 offering, presented online, was Ubuntu Holiday, a video of our popular 2014 production.

Ubuntu in the Xhosa culture in Africa roughly translates to “I am who I am because we are who we are.” This comedy focuses on two African-American families. One embraces the traditions of Christmas and the other is exploring their newfound African customs of Kwanzaa.

Online: January – February 2021

Grist From The Mill: 1902

Written, directed, and performed by Lissa Brennan
Director of Photography P.J. Gaynard

A world premiere filmed adaptation of this one-woman show, written by and starring Lissa Brennan., presented online.

In one year in the early part of the 20th century, the deaths of 196 men in one Southwestern Pennsylvania steel mill were the result of workplace accidents. This is the story of one that wasn’t. The first of a trilogy of storytelling pieces inspired by dark folklore and murder ballads, in which the steel mills of Southwestern Pennsylvania play a pivotal role.

Press coverage: Pittsburgh MagazinePittsburgh Today Live (video)Pittsburgh Current

Premiered November 2021


Written By Mark Clayton Southers
Directed by Andrew Paul

Our filmed adaptation of Cyril premiered at the Three Rivers Film Festival on November 12th 2021!

World-renowned forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht plays himself in this film, offering detailed and contrarian insights on some of America’s most brutal and provocative cases, as he’s interviewed for a documentary. As he presents his often-controversial views on cases ranging from the JFK assassination to the OJ Simpson case to JonBenet Ramsey’s murder, it’s the morning after George Floyd’s murder, and behind the camera, long-standing disagreements between the conservative white interviewer and liberal Black cameraman threaten to boil over.

Cyril was presented at these film festivals:

Three Rivers Film Festival (Pittsburgh PA), world premiere on November 12th, 2021
Capital City Black Film Festival (Austin TX), December 3 – 5, 2021; 2nd Place: Amplify Award
Denton Black Film Festival (Denton TX, moved online), January 27 – February 6, 2022 ; Winner: Best Narrative Feature
NYC Indie Theatre Film Festival (New York NY), screened online February 14 – 20, 2022
San Diego Black Film Festival (San Diego CA), April 27 – May 1, 2022
National Black Film Festival (Houston, TX), June 8 – 11, 2022, screened in Houston on June 11th
Charlotte Black Film Festival (Charlotte NC), June 23 – 26, 2022, screened online

May 2021


Vanessa German
Vanessa German

Written by and starring Vanessa German
Directed by Ashley Southers
May 18th, 2021

A love poem for strange Black Girls, fat Black Girls, Winged Black Girls, the Missing Black Girls, the Black Girls who rode skateboards to school, Black Girls whose eyebrows were never on Fleek, Black Girls who dig aloneness and Black Girls who do magic.

Our production of hypersensitive was a world premiere featuring multidisciplinary artist Vanessa German as playwright and performer, and was presented outdoors on Tuesday, May 18th, 2021, on Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s mobile stage at Flagstaff Hill in Schenley Park, as part of PBT’s Open Air: A Series in Celebration of the Performing Arts.  View the PDF program here.