Mark Clayton Southers

Courtesy of Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Co.

Mark Clayton Southers owes much of the inspiration for his theater career to an unimpeachable source: August Wilson. It was listening to the Pittsburgh-born Pulitzer Prize winner lecture in South Africa in 1998 that led Southers – then a thirtysomething steel-mill worker and stage actor – to try his hand at writing.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

After a life threatening car crash last May award-winning theater director Mark Clayton Southers has returned to work. His production of August Wilson’s  play “The Piano Lesson” runs through Saturday at the downtown center bearing the late Pittsburgh playwright’s name. Mark, along with his wife Neicy, joined Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer to talk about how the accident and road to recovery have changed him.

Mark Clayton Southers

A decade ago, Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre embarked on a yearly event called the Theater Festival in Black and White, which pairs black directors with white playwrights and vice versa.

These one-act holiday plays offer an opportunity for local theater artists from different backgrounds to work together in a professional environment. Pittsburgh Playwrights founder Mark Clayton Southers and Managing Director Eric Smith have been working very closely with the Black and White Festival.

The Phoenix: A Rising Theatre in Pittsburgh

Nov 1, 2013
phoenixtheatrepgh.org

“One door closing, is another one opening up” says Andrew Paul, former artistic director and co-founder of Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre.

This appears to be  a relevant motto for him and Pittsburgh theater veteran Mark Clayton Southers, founder of the 10-year-old Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company, and former arts director at the August Wilson Center. Southers and Paul had been let go from their former theatres earlier this year.

Now the two journeymen are collaborating to start a new theater company in Pittsburgh called, The Phoenix, designed to produce cutting edge plays and a focus on diverse casts. The company will be christened this evening with an opening night performance of the play Blue/Orange, which deals with issues related to race and the mental health care system.