Pittsburgh Humanities Festival promises talks on Shakespeare, Kennywood, drag culture, and more | Arts + Entertainment | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Pittsburgh Humanities Festival promises talks on Shakespeare, Kennywood, drag culture, and more

click to enlarge Pittsburgh Humanities Festival promises talks on Shakespeare, Kennywood, drag culture, and more (2)
Photo: Courtesy of Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
Pittsburgh Humanities Festival presenters Sh!tfaced Shakespeare
Over the past seven years, the Pittsburgh Humanities Festival has, according to a press release, brought together “internationally acclaimed artists and performers with community leaders, academics, and changemakers from Pittsburgh and beyond for a carefully curated, thought-provoking mix of intimate conversations.” The event returns this year with yet another round of speakers covering a wide range of topics relating to Pittsburgh and beyond.

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, which co-produces the festival with the Humanities Center at Carnegie Mellon University, has announced the programming lineup for the 2022 event, set to take place in late March. Audiences will be invited to learn more about the city’s history, policy and politics, Kennywood, racial inequities, drag culture, as well as Shakespeare, food, art, and more, as the festival explores “what it means to be human.”

Various Downtown venues will host the talks, which are split up into three main categories  Featured Events, Core Conversations, and Public Open Call.


The festival kicks off on March 21 with the Featured Events presentation of Ali Stroker, a Tony Award-winning actor who made history as the first performer in a wheelchair to appear on Broadway. Following Featured Events will include a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Sh!tfaced Shakespeare, a group of classically trained actors who perform (seemingly) drunk, and comedian Dulce Sloan.
click to enlarge Pittsburgh Humanities Festival promises talks on Shakespeare, Kennywood, drag culture, and more (3)
Photo: Courtesy of Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
Pittsburgh Humanities Festival presenters Rick Sebak and Brian Butko
The Core Conversations portion, taking place March 26-27, offers an impressive array of local experts in a variety of fields. Topics include literature, as covered by Bill Campbell, author of The Day the Klan Came to Town, and Kathleen George; art with Andy Warhol biographer Blake Gopnik and street artists Max Gonzales and Shane Pilster; and local history, as covered by An Alternative History of Pittsburgh author Ed Simon, and Brian Butko and Rick Sebak.

Also being discussed are climate change, food, and drag, as presented by “Pittsburgh’s First Lady of Drag” Kierra Darshell and LGBTQ activist and business owner Richard Parsakian. Those interested in social equality should check out We Got Power, a youth panel featuring the Pittsburgh-based organization Black, Young, and Educated, and Cultural Treasures: The Importance of Funding Black-led Organizations in Pittsburgh, led by Shaunda McDill and Thomas Agnew.

The Public Open Call provides opportunities for new voices to be heard at the festival, allowing anyone interested in presenting or performing to submit web-based auditions. Submissions are being accepted through Mon., Feb. 21 at 11:59 p.m. One presentation will be selected by a jury panel to appear in the lineup of Core Conversations.
Pittsburgh Humanities Festival. Mon., March 21-Sun., March 27. trustarts.org

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