Joseph Hall has played a pivotal role in shaping East Liberty’s Kelly Strayhorn Theater. Prior to being named executive director in March 2020, he served as the venue’s producing director. Between those roles, he worked at the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, aka BAAD!, where he says he was “part of a loving community of the most brilliant, beautiful queer artists and thinkers.”
“When the opportunity at KST arose, I knew this was my chance to bring part of BAAD! to Pittsburgh,” Hall tells Pittsburgh City Paper.
Hall says the pandemic and resurgence of Black Lives Matter changed the organization’s approach. In 2022, KST released a strategic plan to clarify its mission and vision as a “home for culture in Pittsburgh rooted in the liberation of Black and queer people.” The organization also furthered its reach with collaborative grant programs, residencies, and other projects designed to support under-represented artists.
“We’re constantly building a platform to feed the soul of Pittsburgh,” says Hall.
Even as he looks to the future, Hall stresses that KST remains true to East Liberty, the predominantly Black neighborhood that it has long called home.
“I came back to Pittsburgh, and back to KST to carry on the legacy of an organization that I love with a community that I love,” says Hall.
Joseph Hall. kelly-strayhorn.org