WASHINGTON – The August Wilson Society (AWS), a multidisciplinary community of educators, artists, practitioners and students, will launch the annual August Wilson’s Ground Lecture Series (AWGLS) on  Thursday, September 19, at the Howard University Interdisciplinary Research Building, located at 2201 Georgia Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 

The annual forum was created to advance multidisciplinary perspectives on American Century Cycle, a set of 10 plays depicting decades of the 20thcentury African American experience, by award-winning playwright August Wilson. Each lecture seeks to encourage informed discussions on the relevance of his life and literary legacy by featuring a nationally acclaimed speaker who will “ground” their talk in one of the multiple disciplines featured in Wilson’s work.

The inaugural lecture, entitled “Cornbread, Biscuits, and Coca-Cola: Foods and Food Practices in August Wilson’s American Century Cycle Plays,” will be delivered by Psyche Williams-Forson, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of American studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. 

Beginning at 7:30 pm, Williams-Forson will share her research on the material possessions that Wilson uses in his American Century Cycle plays to reveal the “complex personhood” of black people and our relationships to the material world or things. Before the lecture begins, at 6 pm, AWS will host a VIP Reception and Fundraiser featuring a performance by students of the Howard University Theatre Arts Department, along with comments from dignitaries, a tribute to AWS Charter Members and live jazz entertainment. 

Funds raised at the event will go toward the creation of a scholarship fund for undergraduate students in the performing and visual arts and to support the continued work of the organization. The official naming of this scholarship and the announcement of its first recipient will take place at AWS’s March 2020 Colloquium to be held at Pittsburgh’s August Wilson African American Cultural Center. 

Ticket pricesare $100 for the VIP reception, which also includes admission to the lecture, and $50 for general admission to the lecture. Prices include reduced rates for graduate and undergraduate students and for retirees. 

To register for the VIP Reception & Fundraiser and the inaugural August Wilson’s Groundlecture, visit this page.

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