KUNTU REPERTORY THEATER CO-FOUNDER DR. VERNELL LILLIE EXPLORES LIFE OF ROB PENNY AT OCT. 15 LITERARY SOCIETY MEETING AT LA ROCHE
Pittsburgh, PA -- October 4, 2010 -- Dr. Vernell Lillie, a co-founder of the Kuntu Repertory Theatre, will discuss the life and work of the late Rob Penny at a meeting of the La Roche Literary Society on Friday, October 15. The program begins at 8 p.m. in the Ryan Room of La Roche College’s Zappala College Center, 9000 Babcock Boulevard, McCandless. The meeting is free and open to the public.
Robert Lee “Rob” Penny was a creator and co-founder with Dr. Lillie of the Kuntu Repertory Theatre, which presents stories from an African-American viewpoint. A poet, playwright, teacher and activist, Mr. Penny grew up in Pittsburgh’s Hill District where he died in 2003.
Dr. Lillie met Penny while she was a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University. His works affirmed her belief that for black Americans "community comes first," she says.
On the faculty since 1969, Penny chaired the University of Pittsburgh's Africana Studies Department from1978-84, guiding black students toward a greater appreciation of their African heritage. Penny was a cultural nationalist who believed art should carry messages that strengthen community and address injustices such as racism and discrimination. Amid the racial tensions of 1968, Mr. Penny and his good friend, playwright August Wilson, created Black Horizons Theatre, which closed in 1971. The New Horizon Theater, founded as a professional troupe in 1993 and still running, reflects the values of the former group.
Dr. Lillie, professor emeritus of Africana studies at the University of Pittsburgh, earned her master of arts degree and doctorate in English from Carnegie Mellon University, specializing in training teachers who train teachers, and a bachelor of arts degree in speech and drama from Dillard University, New Orleans. She completed graduate studies in education and English at Texas Southern University and is trained in psychodrama, playback theatre and problem solving theatre.
For further information contact Sr. Rita Yeasted at 412-536-1216.