At the core of the Bard of Pittsburgh African Legacy Theatre (BOP) is the genius of August Wilson, one of the great playwrights of history deserving of an association that recognises his contribution to global culture much like the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) acknowledges the genius of William Shakespeare, the Bard of Avon. Hence, BOP has eight global aims:
- BOP will produce August Wilson’s African American common man 20th century cycle (like the RSC’s royal Tudor history cycle},
- BOP will produce formidable plays:
i) by black playwrights of yesteryear (like the RSC produces other formidable plays of Shakespeare’s era)
ii) by black foreign playwrights in translation (like the RSC produces formidable foreign plays of Shakespeare’s era in translation)
iii) by contemporary black playwrights
iv) on the black experience
- BOP will perform for a theatre-going paying public in major commercial venues and on tour. (like the RSC)
The Bard of Avon is taught. The Bard of Pittsburgh also needs to be taught in schools and colleges. Hence BOP has further educational aims:
- To perform for a student audience in schools and colleges.
- to have academics (e.g. History, English Literature and Drama teachers) give classes to complement the performances in schools and colleges.
The Bard of Avon is translated. The Bard of Pittsburgh also needs to be translated and performed in other languages and territories. Hence BOP has the further aim of reaching out to Africa and the entire black African diaspora:
- To produce in eight territories
vii) Caribbean Islands
viii) Central & South America
- And in four languages:
i) English (for USA, UK and English-speaking Africa, Caribbean)
ii) French (for France and French-speaking Africa, Caribbean)
iii) Spanish (for Spain and Spanish-speaking Caribbean, Central & South America)
iv) Portuguese (for Portugal and Portuguese-speaking Africa & South America).
These global aims are endorsed promoted supervised and governed by the Board of the Bard of Pittsburgh African Legacy Theatre
They are also endorsed and supported by one hundred of the world’s foremost artists including:
Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Barbra Streisand, Mike Leigh, Stephen Sondheim, Costa-Gavras (President of the Cinémathèque français), Sir Richard Eyre (former artistic director Royal National Theatre), Octavia Spencer, Rufus Norris (current artistic director Royal National Theatre), Clarke Peters, Salma Hayek, Viola Davis, Imelda Staunton, Dame Vanessa Redgrave, Armando Iannucci, Sharon D, Clarke, Sir Mark Rylance (first artistic director Shakespeare’s Globe theatre London), Jeremy Irons, Robert Lepage (founder and artistic director of Ex Machina Canada), Sir Lenworth (Lenny) Henry, Kwame Kwei-Armah (current artistic director Young Vic), Michael Sheen, Angela Bassett, Indira Etwaroo, Mathew Rhys, Katie Mitchell (former associate director at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal Court theatre and Royal National theatre), Steve Coogan, Toby Jones, Dame Kristin Scott Thomas, Nadia Fall (current artistic director Stratford East theatre London), George C. Wolfe, Ruth Negga, Orlando Bloom, Colman Domingo, Claire Foy, Dominic Cooke (former artistic director Royal Court theatre London), Carey Mulligan, Sterling K. Brown, Edward Norton, Fiona Shaw, Patrick Chamoiseau (Prix Goncourt), Marianne Elliott (director War Horse etc), Sanaa Lathan, Vanessa Williams, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Tracy Letts, Euzhan Palcy (director A Dry White Season etc), Rebecca Hall, Lesley Manville, Kenny Leon, Lily Tomlin, Daniel Craig, Josette Bushell-Mingo (Principal Royal Central School of Speech and Drama), Dame Helen Mirren, Jean-Jacques Annaud, Paapa Essiedu, Mark Dornford-May (artistic director of the Isango Ensemble Cape Town SA), Alfre Woodard, Sir Jonathan Pryce, Keith David, and Ken Loach.
The Company responsible for carrying out BOP’s aims in the USA is the Bard of Pittsburgh African Legacy Theatre Inc (BOP Inc)
The remit of BOP Inc is to achieve global aims 1-5 within the USA with the additional aim:
- partnering with and supporting existing black theatre companies in the USA