Philip Dodd explores the writing of Lorraine Hansberry and its continuing resonance with directors Yael Farber, Kwame Kwei-Armah and Dawn Walton.
With two plays by Lorraine Hansberry being staged in the UK in 2016, Philip Dodd looks at her writing and its resonance today. When A Raisin in the Sun opened in 1959 it was the first play written by a black woman to be performed on Broadway. It is now touring the UK and being broadcast at the end of January on BBC Radio 3. Les Blancs - written 11 years later - is set in an African country on the brink of civil war and is staged at the National Theatre in Spring. The new production of Raisin in the Sun is being directed by Dawn Walton and Yael Farber is in charge of the National's account of Les Blancs - both directors will be joined by the playwright, Kwame Kwei Armah to discuss Hansberry. Kwame Kwei-Armah, who runs Baltimore's Centre Stage, put on what he called the Raisin Cycle in 2013 which included Bruce Norris's Clybourne Park and his own Beneatha's Place, both responses to Hansberry. Philip's other guests are the historian Dr Althea Legal- Miller and the anthropologist, Kit Davis.
Les Blancs directed by Yael Farber opens at the National Theatre on March 24th.
A Raisin in the Sun directed by Dawn Walton artistic director of Eclipse Theatre company opens at the Sheffield Crucible Studio Theatre on Jan 28th and tours to New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich; Nuffield Theatre, Southampton; Liverpool Playhouse; Watford Palace Theatre; The Albany, Deptford ; The Belgrade, Coventry.
A BBC Radio 3 production of A Raisin in the Sun is being broadcast on Sunday January 31st.
(Main Image: Lorraine Hansberry, sitting at a desk with books and papers, 1st January 1955 Credit: Smith Collection/Gado).