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SEW Productions Lorraine Hansberry Theatre (LHT) was founded to present high-quality, professionally directed plays by America's foremost African-American playwrights; provide employment and career-building opportunities for local actors, directors, designers, and technicians of color; and foster youth development and cultural enrichment through instructional workshops and special outreach programs.
Founded in 1981 by artistic director Stanley E. Williams and executive director Quentin Easter, LHT performed for seven seasons in various venues around San Francisco. In 1988 we opened the doors of our first permanent home, in the landmark YWCA building at 620 Sutter Street. The Academy of Art University has recently acquired the building, and the theatre has had to end its tenancy at the location. We are currently in negotiations for a new space where we will continue to produce our critically acclaimed productions.
We develop and present works that explore, celebrate, and reflect the lives of African-Americans -- believing this important cultural expression to be an indispensable part of the American culture. The Lorraine Hansberry Theatre is one of the leading African-American theatres in the region and the first to be located in the high-profile downtown theatre district of San Francisco.
We attract theatre-goers from throughout Northern California and have built one of the most diverse audiences of any theater in the region. We have produced more than 120 plays, including West Coast and World Premieres, experimental works, classics in the African-American canon, lively musicals, and hard-hitting social and political dramas. Our presentations range from the works of Nobel Laureates Wole Soyinka, Derek Walcott, and Toni Morrison to Pulitzer Prize-winning writers Charles Fuller, Alice Walker and August Wilson, to large-scale musicals celebrating Duke Ellington, Bessie Smith, Lester Young, Fats Waller, Eubie Blake and others; to award winning dramas by James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, and our namesake Lorraine Hansberry; to pioneering experimental theatre artists Adrienne Kennedy, Ntozake Shange and Maria Irene Fornes, and new works by Robert Alexander, Roger Guenveur Smith, David Rousseve Prince Gomolvilas and others.
LHT has also hosted internationally acclaimed artists Danny Glover, Ntozake Shange, Ruby Dee, the late August Wilson, and Ossie Davis; and joined in collaborations with the American Conservatory Theatre, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Mime Troupe, the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Cultural Odyssey, Afro Solo and others to bring the works of African-American writers and artists to a wider audience.
Our Lorraine Hansberry Theatre Youth Academy offers esteem-building workshops for disadvantaged youth; our Tomorrow Today Program fosters the development of new playwrights, and our theatre hosts important community-based groups reflecting San Francisco's great diversity such as the Theatre of Yugen, the Lesbian, Gay and Transgender communities, the Artfull Circle Theatre, Baybash, Make It So Productions, Rrazz Productions, Joe Spotts Presents and many others.
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