The Board is the coordinating centre for all three repertory companies thereby facilitating artistic and financial interaction between them for the good of the whole.

The Board

The Bard of Pittsburgh Theatre Company (BOP) mission is stated in the support letter. In practical terms, that mission would be achieved with the creation of three repertory companies. The model for a repertory company is the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), which has i) a base (Stratford), ii) an artistic director, iii) permanent back stage and administrative management, iv) permanent team of actors and v) a mission (to perform the plays of Shakespeare and playwrights of his era). The BOP repertory companies would be like the RSC except ‘Shakespeare’ is replaced by ‘August Wilson’ and ‘playwrights of his era’ by ‘plays about the black experience’.

The goal is to create three repertory companies:

  • The UK Bard of Pittsburgh Theatre Company to perform in the UK at its base and on tour to the rest of UK, English speaking Africa and English speaking Caribbean.
  • The French Bard of Pittsburgh Theatre Company to perform (in French) in France at its base and on tour to the rest of France, French speaking Africa and French speaking Caribbean.
  • The USA Bard of Pittsburgh Theatre Company to perform in the USA at its base and on tour to the rest of USA. This company (and maybe the other two) would also have an academic arm to take the plays into schools and colleges and to have academics (e.g. historians) to follow up these school/college performances with teaching sessions.

Board Members

stephen mckinley henderson

Stephen McKinley Henderson, Chair of the Board, is recognized as a veteran performer of August Wilson’s’ works. His signature role is the gossipy Turnbo in Jitney creating the role in the 1996 premiere in Pittsburgh, then honing it in regional theatres before arriving Off-Broadway in 2000 with a Drama Desk Award for Best Ensemble, and then to London’s National Theatre with the 2002 Olivier Award for Best New Play. He also received a Tony Award nomination for his role as Jim Bono in the Broadway production of Fences, starring Denzel Washington, and reprising the role in Denzel Washington’s 2016 film.

He has also played on Broadway in Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and the premiere of King Hedley II. Other theatre work on Broadway includes playing alongside Denzel Washington in A Raisin in the Sun and off Broadway winning the 2015 Obie Award for Best Actor in the Pulitzer Prize-winning Between Riverside and Crazy; and his film work includes roles in Lincoln, Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, Manchester by the Sea, and Lady Bird.

michele shay

Michele Shay has performed in August Wilson’s plays from inaugurating the role of Louise in Seven Guitars on Broadway in 1996 to Aunt Ester in Gem of the Ocean directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson (2006 San Francisco), Phylicia Rashad (2007 Seattle) and Kenny Leon (2008 as part of August Wilson’s 20th Century Cycle at the Kennedy Center). Michele has also directed six of his plays, Seven Guitars (2003 Salisbury NC, 2013 San Francisco CA, 2014 Arlington VA), Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (2003 Santa Clarita CA), Gem of the Ocean (2007 Winston-Salem NC), Fences (Salisbury NC 2009), King Hedley II (2017 Los Angeles CA) and Two Trains Running (2018 Los Angeles CA).

Michele is a Tony nominated award-winning actress, director and producer, and also a Coach, healer and teacher. She has taught acting at UNCSA in North Carolina, American Conservatory Theater (ACT) in San Francisco, Actors Theater of Louisville, Cal Arts, David Kagen’s on-camera Film Acting Studio in Los Angeles and currently at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She also served on Theater Panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, New York and New Jersey State Arts Councils, the Princess Grace Foundation and the Board of directors for Theater Communications Group.

roy williams

Roy Williams OBE is a playwright with many awards including the 2000 George Devine Award for Most Promising Playwright for Lift Off, the 2001 Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright for Clubland, the 2002 BAFTA Award for Best Schools Drama for Offside and the 2004 South Bank Show Arts Council Decibel Award.

In 2011 his play Sucker Punch was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best New Play; and in 2018, he was a made a fellow of The Royal Society of Literature. In 2020, Roy co-wrote Death of England which the Times described as “a monologue of passion, humour and fury” amongst a plethora of enthusiastic reviews for this portrayal of a white racist anti-hero at the Royal National Theatre which was followed later in the year by the black anti-hero response Death of England: Delroy also performed at the Royal National Theatre to equal acclaim.

Annouchka de Andrade Is currently director of the Amiens International Film Festival (FIFAM) in France where she hosts movie makers from all continents. Previously she was French cultural attaché in Colombia with a cultural outreach to Bolivia Chile and Peru, and then cultural attaché in Spain.

She was born in the Kremlin because her mother, Sarah Maldoror, was studying film in Moscow at the time and was taken to the city’s best clinic for the birth. She spent her early childhood in Rabat and Algiers while her father, Mário Pinto de Andrade, one of the founders and first President of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) was being hunted by Salazar’s Portuguese police and army. At the age of 10, she settled in France where she was educated and lives.

Robert Silman – schooling in London, university in Paris (Philosophy), returning to London to be a medical doctor, first as a practising clinician then most of his career at St Bartholomew’s Hospital doing medical research into the role of ACTH and endorphin in pregnancy and parturition, and melatonin in growth and puberty. After retirement from medicine he became a theatre producer (Joan Rivers at the Edinburgh Festival, Theatre Royal Haymarket London, and a UK and Irish tour).

He also produced in the USA. While at a workshop at the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, he took pot luck with a show at the Goodman theatre and discovered the genius of August Wilson. His enthusiasm for Wilson’s play cycle was matched by his indignation at the under-recognition of the accomplishment. After the death of George Floyd, he imagined the BLM Theatre Company as both a remedy and an enduring theatrical contribution to Black Lives Matter; and sought the signatories for the support letter.

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