KST Blog

Welcome to the KST Blog!

The KST Blog serves as an alternative view of the KST programming, showcasing our artist talk series, KST curated weekly playlists, and more!

  1. Green Mountain Energy Presents: PennAve-BOO-looza, Saturday, October 16!

    Green Mountain Energy Presents
    PennAve-BOO-looza

    Saturday, October 16
    12:00pm – 6:00pm

    Mathilda to Negley on Penn Ave
    Green Mountain Energy Stage located at Winebiddle and Dearborn.

    Celebrate small businesses on Penn Ave with a day of fall-tastic fun! See live art with performances by local youth, music, and dance artists, make crafts with Assemble, join the costume parade, play games and win prizes! Local businesses will be open with happenings as well! Stop by 5472 Penn Ave to see Glowing Glass with the Pittsburgh Glass Center’s Hot Wheels! Hot Wheels is an outreach vehicle that allows furnace-fired fun and glassblowing demonstrations to travel far beyond the walls of our Penn Avenue building. Fun for all ages as artists make glass art right in front of you!

    Schedule of Winebiddle Stage Events:
    12:00pm: BOOM CONCEPTS Presents Music by Shade Cobain
    1:00pm: Local Business Performances including Los Sabrosos
    2:00pm: School Supply Giveaway with Games
    2:30pm: Demonstration by KST’s The Alloy School
    3:00pm – 6:00pm: BOOM CONCEPTS Presents Music from Local Youth organized by “From INEZ With Love LLC” featuring Mani Bahia, Anomaly The DJ and Cornell Collins

    This event is sponsored by Boom Concepts, Green Mountain Energy, ZeroFossil Fuels, Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation, URA, Richard King Mellon Foundation, Explore BGL, Assemble, and Pittsburgh Glass Center.


  2. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Artists atiya jones and Adil Mansoor of Time Sensitive receive $100,000 Arts Equity Reimagining funding supporting queer and BIPOC artists

    EAST LIBERTY, PA, September 29, 2021 – Kelly Strayhorn Theater celebrates Time Sensitive collaborating artists Adil Mansoor and atiya jones for receiving $100,000 in funding support from Arts Equity Reimagined. 

    Fiscally sponsored by Kelly Strahorn Theater, Time Sensitive is an artist residency which will provide two emerging queer, trans and/or BIPOC artists partial financial support over the duration of one year, allowing each artist time and space to commit to professional development. The program is a response to the creative exploratory hours artists lose as they participate in the gig economy, in turn providing direct financial support and creative liberty as participants navigate pathways out of the notably unsustainable gig economy. 

    Time Sensitive argues that time is a luxury most often afforded to artists coming from privileged backgrounds, which given our societal history, tend to be white. Cultural isolation affects the mental health, and therefore the productivity of queer, trans, and BIPOC artists. Time Sensitive hopes to build a more equitable arts economy by acknowledging these disparities in our community and addressing them directly.

    Artists atiya jones and Adil Mansoor were brought together, first by a mutual friend, before bonding over cultural exhaustion and feelings of institutional isolation. As BIPOC and queer creatives, they are often the marginalized voice that offers “diversity” in the room. Their lived experience is an advantage for any white-led organization, however there isn’t a system in place to compensate them for that. Their mutual desire to tell and depict their stories first hand without counter-cultural filtration or exploitation bonds them in this collaboration. They share a strong desire to create for the interests and needs of their communities, as opposed to meeting financial obligations. This opportunity would be the first of its kind for the artists. 

    Time Sensitive projects will take place during 2021-2022. Keep up with the artists by following atiya jones at atiyajones.com and Adil Mansoor at adilmansoor.com. 

    About the Artists

    atiya jones is a multidisciplinary visual & conceptual artist, exploring themes of human connection, gentrification, migration and isolation, while visually depicting accumulative actions / community presence through her WildLines. She utilizes her artwork to create and hold discourse centering the Black-experience she’s had, as an artist, woman, transplant, and wanderer. 

    In Pittsburgh some of her public installations can be found throughout the East End at Crown Barbershop, Fieldwork Gallery, The Carnegie Museum of Art in “Locally Sourced,” Trace Brewery, Tryp Hotel, Knotzland, Moss Architects and the former Regent Square Theater. Previous clients include Pantene Pro-V and Head & Shoulders, Old Blood Noise Endeavors, and restaurants The Vandal and Speedy Romeo (NY). http://www.atiyajones.com/ 

    Adil Mansoor is a theatre director and educator centering the stories of queer folks and people of color. Directing projects include Gloria by  Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (Hatch Arts), Chickens in the Yard by Paul Kruse (Hatch Arts and Quantum Theatre), Desdemona’s Child by Caridad Svich (Carnegie Mellon University), Dark Play or Stories for Boys by Carlos Murillo (Carnegie Mellon University), Through Broken Doors, an ensemble generated digital archive (Pittsburgh Playhouse), and an upcoming production of Will Arbery’s Plano (Quantum Theatre). Adil is currently developing Amm(i)gone, a solo performance adapting Sophocles’s Antigone as an apology to and from his mother. Amm(i)gone is National Performance Network (NPN) Creative and Development Fund Project co-commissioned by Kelly Strayhorn Theater, The Theater Offensive, and NPN.   

    Adil has developed and directed new work with NYU, Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, The Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, and PearlArts Studio. He is a founding member and resident director with Pittsburgh’s Hatch Arts Collective. As an educator, Adil has worked with Sarah Lawrence College, Point Park University, Middlebury College, The Mori Art Museum, The Andy Warhol Museum, and more. He was the Programs and Artistic Director for Dreams of Hope, an LGBTQA+ youth arts organization in Pittsburgh for over 5 years. He is an alumnus of DirectorsLabChicago and Quantum Theatre’s Gerri Kay New Voices program. He is a 2050 Directing Fellow with NYTW for the 2020-2021 season. Adil received his MFA in Directing from Carnegie Mellon University. https://www.adilmansoor.com/

    About Kelly Strayhorn Theater 

    Kelly Strayhorn Theater is a non-profit community performing arts center in East Liberty,  advancing live art through strategic vision and community collaboration with two venues running along Penn Avenue. KST’s Alloy Studios is a cultural hub in the heart of East  Liberty, and the historic Kelly Strayhorn Theater is located in the thriving business district. More than 20 years after its founding, KST continues to use its broad reach to impact the contemporary arts and the community. 

  3. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Kelly Strayhorn Theater’s Freshworks program welcomes artists Ty Greenwood & Cherish Morgan in Death Dream

    EAST LIBERTY, PA, SEPTEMBER 22, 2021 – Kelly Strayhorn Theater is proud to present the first Freshworks residency showing of the 2021-2022 season, Death Dream by Ty Greenwood and Cherish Morgan, October 1-2, 2021 at KST’s Alloy Studios. 

    Originally from Pittsburgh and now residing in Seattle, Washington, Ty Greenwood is a playwright whose work addresses community, diversity, and togetherness. Cherish Morgan is a Pittsburgh-based choreographer and performing artist who works across dance forms with an emphasis on hip-hop and musical theater practices. The artists’ collaboration, Death Dream, explores the choreopoem form to delve into the power of spoken word and political performance art that is unapologetically Black and radical. 

    Choreopoems are defined as a nontraditional artistic expression combining music, art, dance, and poetry, first coined by artist Ntozake Shange in describing her work For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf. Death Dream explores the mental experience of Black men and serves as a public service announcement that America doesn’t value their Black bodies. When this piece was first conceived, it was rooted in a lot of anger and frustration. Throughout the last year, the  focus of the choreopoem has shifted from solely being rooted in Black pain & anger to now showing elements of Black joy & hope,” said Death Dream co-creator/writer Ty Greenwood. 

    The piece is also inspired by W. E. B. DuBois’s writings on the idea of double consciousness, defined as the “internal conflict experienced by subordinated or colonized groups in an oppressive society” in his 1903 work The Souls of Black Folk. 

    Freshworks is KST’s creative residency for Pittsburgh based artists and collaborators. The program provides artists with financial resources, studio space, production staff, lighting and sound design, professional development, and encouragement for creative risk taking. through interdisciplinary collaborations in contemporary dance, theater, music, and multimedia.

    This work-in-progress preview of Death Dream will premiere at KST’s Alloy Studios, located at 5530 Penn Avenue, on Friday, October 1 and Saturday, October 2 at 8:00pm. 

    Tickets for Death Dream are now on sale at kelly-strayhorn.org or can be purchased in person at the event. Pricing is Pay What Makes You Happy!, a sliding scale of accessible price points in order to truly welcome all to enjoy the arts. 

    For full season details, COVID policy updates, and tickets, go to kelly-strayhorn.org.

  4. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Celebrate #BlackGirlMagic with CIRCLES, co-presented by the August Wilson African American Cultural Center and Kelly Strayhorn Theater

    PITTSBURGH, PA, September 17, 2021 – The August Wilson African American Cultural Center (AWAACC) and Kelly Strayhorn Theater (KST) have teamed up to co-present CIRCLES, a multi-faceted, multi-part project by STAYCEE PEARL dance project & Soy Sos (SPdp&SS), beginning with CIRCLES: reclamation, a group visual art exhibition featuring work by Black women, and culminating with CIRCLES: going in, an evening-length dance performance on October 28-30, 2021 at the August Wilson African American Cultural Center. 

    CIRCLES: going in is a full-length dance work celebrating #BlackGirlMagic. Layering dance, visual arts, and a live original score, the work presents snapshots of popular culture through choreographer Staycee Pearl’s lens as a Black woman

    “CIRCLES: going in is life lived and observed by me as I take this creative opportunity to honor all that makes up who I am,” said Staycee Pearl, Co-Artistic Director of SPdp&SS. 

    Featuring dancers Jessica Marino Mitcham, Chandler Maria Bingham, & LaTrea Derome,  CIRCLES: going in is a colorful, unapologetic, and daring path to self-reclamation amplified by an original soundtrack created by Herman “Soy Sos” Pearl in collaboration with a diverse roster of club artists, such as Yah Lioness, DJ Haram, Madame Dolores, Kilamanzego, and Kha’DJ, DOTGOV, & more. This project is particularly special because SPdp&SS has garnered support for CIRCLES: going in from the New England Foundation for the Arts’ [NEFA] National Dance Project Production Grant, a highly competitive award of $56,500 for the creation of the new work and its upcoming national tour. Additionally, the National Performance Network (NPN) named the dance company as 2020 recipients of its Creation and Development Fund Project co-commissioned by KST, The Joyce Theater (NYC), and NPN (New Orleans) that “supports the creation, development, and mobility of new artistic work advancing racial and cultural justice and resulting in live experiential exchange between artists and communities.

    “We are proud to work with the August Wilson African American Cultural Center to celebrate the joy and magic of Black womanhood. The development of CIRCLES: going in has taken place through KST and PearlArts’ two-year mutual-aid residency through which they have conducted most rehearsals and daily classes at KST’s Alloy Studios and will finalize the technical elements of the work through a production residency in October prior to the works premiere at AWAACC. We are so excited to see the great art they continue to create in, with, and for our community,” said Joseph Hall, Executive Director of Kelly Strayhorn Theater. 

    The CIRCLES project begins October 9 and continues until October 31 with the CIRCLES: reclamation art exhibit, located at the August Wilson African American Cultural Center at 980 Liberty Ave. Featuring Black women visual artists including Staycee Pearl, Bekezela Mguni, Kitoko Chargois, and sarah huny young, works will draw from their shared explorations of Blackness and self-reclamation. 

    In collaboration with CIRCLES, STAYCEE PEARL dance project & Soy Sos launched the #ThroughOurEyes social media campaign, inviting Black women to post photos, videos, and stories that share their vision of beauty and perspective of life. Learn more about the campaign on Instagram by searching the hashtag #throughoureyes. 

    For more information and ticket sales, visit aacc-awc.org/event/circles-going-in.

    CIRCLES is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation & Development Fund Project co-commissioned by Kelly Strayhorn Theater, The Joyce Theater, and NPN. More information: www.npnweb.org. CIRCLES was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Co-commissioning Partners are Kelly Strayhorn Theater, August Wilson African American Cultural Center, and The Joyce Theater. The development of CIRCLES is made possible in part by the National Center for Choreography at The University of Akron (NCCAkron). CIRCLES is supported in part by The Pittsburgh Foundation’s Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh Fund, Heinz Endowments, and The Opportunity Fund.

  5. KST In the News: Fall Season

    Anticipating our exciting fall season at KST, we are proud to share the following coverage:

  6. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Discover Mister Rogers’ mindfulness teachings in the art film SWITCH SIGNAL, by artist collective Propelled Animals presented by Kelly Strayhorn Theater

    EAST LIBERTY, PA, SEPTEMBER 15, 2021 – In collaboration with the creative collective Propelled Animals, Kelly Strayhorn Theater is proud to present SWITCH SIGNAL Friday, September 24 at 7:00 pm. 

    Commissioned by Kelly Strayhorn Theater, SWITCH SIGNAL is a site-responsive film rooted in the technologies of imagination and mindfulness taught by Pittsburgh’s beloved Mister Rogers.  As a site-responsive art piece, the performers and creatives respond to the locations present, building interactions based on those sites. The film was shot both on location at Kelly Strayhorn Theater and throughout Pittsburgh, with moments in The Hill District and at the Carrie Furnaces, in June 2021. Conjuring the absent presence of community during the global pandemic, this work is about listening. The film includes movement, marches, choreographies, music, and rites as a love letter to Pittsburgh.

    The film will premiere at Kelly Strayhorn Theater, located at 5941 Penn Avenue in the heart of East Liberty, for one night only, Friday, September 24. Tickets are now available at kelly-strayhorn.org. 

    Propelled Animals are a collective of artists, dancers, scholars, musicians, and designers, bringing communities together for performances that honor nature, foreground radical tenderness, and deliver strategies for self-empowerment. The creative team includes: Esther Baker-Tarpaga of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Barber of Detroit, Michigan, Heidi Wiren Bartlett of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Raquel Monroe of Chicago, Illinois, and Courtney Jones of Boca Raton, Florida. 

    To ensure a comfortable return to in-person programming for our audience, artists and staff, KST has adopted several safety measures for all upcoming performances. Masks are required for all audience members, regardless of vaccination status. Seating capacity has been reduced to 50% and all performers are required to present a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the performance. For more details on SKST’s full COVID-19 safety protocol please visit Kelly-Strayhorn.org/covid.

    This project is made possible with support from The MAP Fund, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and by the National Performance Network’s Artist Engagement Fund.

    Kelly Strayhorn Theater’s fall season continues with a robust and exciting lineup of art, music, dance, and more! Learn more at kelly-strayhorn.org. 

  7. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Celebrate the Hits of Motown with Kelly Strayhorn Theater!  Featuring a Discussion with Women of Visions, ORIGINS Marketplace, and Concert with The BGV’s, Hakim Rasheed, Wayne Barber, and more! 

    EAST LIBERTY, PA, SEPTEMBER 8, 2021 – Groove into Kelly Strayhorn Theater’s new season with Black & Solid Gold: the Hits of MAGNIFICENT MOTOWN on Thursday, September 16! From the music of The Temptations, Jackson Five, and Marvin Gaye to Diana Ross, you’ll be dancing in the streets once you hear the stylings of vocalists Delana Flowers, Katy Cotten and Carmen Miller of The BGV’s, Hakim Rasheed, Wayne Barber, and accompanying musicians, all produced by musician Dwayne Fulton

    The evening begins at 5:30pm with a marketplace featuring creatives from ORIGINS, a program celebrating and supporting Black artists, makers, designers, and craftspeople working in Pittsburgh, in the theater vestibule. Featured artisans and makers include Espirations Greeting Cards, Rebel Bred Clothing, Naptural Beauty Supply and Social Living. And you don’t want to miss the 6:30pm artist discussion, an exclusive panel conversation, moderated by Aaron J. Johnson, PhD and Assistant Professor of Music at University of Pittsburgh, with the artists behind Women of Vision’s MAGNIFICENT MOTOWN: Art Inspired by the Music. The evening culminates with a concert featuring the vocal stylings of The BGV’s, Hakim Rasheed, Wayne Barber with Calvin Murphy (Drums) Gary Davis (Bass), Earl Russell (Keys), Keith Flowers (Keys), Gary Howard (Guitar), performing hits including “Dancing in the Street,” “My Girl,” “ABC,” and more! Join us for a marvelous evening of music, art, and celebration!

    Black & Solid Gold: the Hits of MAGNIFICENT MOTOWN will be located at the historic Kelly Strayhorn Theater, located at 5941 Penn Avenue in the East Liberty business district. 

    To ensure a comfortable return to in-person programming for our audience, artists and staff, KST has adopted several safety measures for all upcoming performances. Masks are required for all audience members, regardless of vaccination status. Seating capacity has been reduced to 50% and all performers are required to present a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the performance. For more details on KST’s full COVID-19 safety protocol please visit Kelly-Strayhorn.org/covid.

    Black and Solid Gold: the Hits of Magnificent Motown is made possible with support from The Pittsburgh Foundation, Bridgeway Capital, and in partnership with the Rivers of Steel Heritage Area. Women of Visions, Inc. also acknowledges support from Opportunity Fund, and Arts, Equity and Education Fund.

    Tickets are now on sale at kelly-strayhorn.org or can be purchased in person at the event. Pricing is Pay What Makes You Happy!, a sliding scale of accessible price points in order to truly welcome all to enjoy the arts. 

    For full season details, COVID policy updates, and tickets, go to kelly-strayhorn.org.