The Paul Robeson Theatre is the second oldest component of the African American Cultural Center. It was founded in 1968 to nurture and showcase the talents of African American playwrights, producers, directors, actors and stage technicians in the City of Buffalo and the surrounding Western New York region.
Theater artists of every caliber have helped to shape the Paul Robeson Theatre. The illustrious Ossie Davis was an early artistic consultant. Other alumni directors, actors, playwrights and producers include Woodie King Jr., Ruben Santiago Hudson, Margaret Ford-Taylor, Phylicia Rashad, Richard Gant, Robert Stacker Thomas, P.J. Gibson, J.E. Franklin and Robert Earl Jones.
The PRT has also captured numerous awards since it began. Among these are the Governor’s Arts Award and several Artvoice Artie awards (the Buffalo equivalent of the Broadway Tony). Early in its history, Artvoice also recognized the Paul Robeson Theatre for “using the medium of theatre to promote social change, especially through their work with young children.”
The PRT periodically commissions out-of-town directors from other cities and collaborates with local companies that include the Irish Classical Theatre, Ujima Company, Inc. (Now the Lorna C. Hill Theatre), Shea’s Performing Arts Theatre and Musical Fare Theatre, amongst others. The 130-seat physical theater is housed inside of the African American Cultural Center at 350 Masten Avenue in Buffalo, NY.
Under the Artistic Direction of Yao Kahlil Newkirk, the Paul Robeson Theatre season runs from September to May, with an average of four-five productions that focus on the African American experience. Season subscriptions and group rates are available.