Play video icon.

August Wilson Festival

  • Location

    Arena Stage
    1101 Sixth Street SW
    Washington, DC 20024

“When considering influential American playwrights, August Wilson is a giant among giants. His ideas, language and artistry pulled American theater into the 21st century, before we had even gotten there ourselves.”

Molly Smith Artistic Director

Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater will kick off the company’s season-long August Wilson Festival on Friday, September 13, 2019 with performances beginning for Jitney. Ruben Santiago-Hudson directs the 2017 Broadway production – recipient of the 2017 Tony Award for Best Play Revival. This is the first of two full productions as part of the Festival, which continues Arena Stage’s tradition of showcasing the work of American Giants in the theater, following festivals for Lillian Hellman, Arthur Miller, Edward Albee and Eugene O’Neill.

Arena Stage is proud to celebrate the Pulitzer Prize-winning giant by showcasing a variety of discussions, events and panels that reflects August Wilson’s (1945- 2005) legacy of American theater. Arena has produced nine out of the 10 plays in Wilson’s American Century Cycle, which chronicles the black experience in America throughout the 20th century.


Broadway World

August Wilson Festival Kicks Off Season at Arena Stage


Designers Panel: Building the World of August Wilson
September 16, 2019 from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
A panel featuring several designers who worked with Wilson and helped define the world of his plays, including members of the Jitney design team

Writers Panel: On the Shoulders of Giants — August Wilson’s Dramatic Legacy
September 28, 2019 from 5:30 - 7 p.m.
A panel featuring contemporary playwrights inspired by Wilson and his work, including poet-playwright Marcus Gardley (Arena’s Every Tongue Confess)

Post-Show Discussion with Paul Ellis
October 17, 2019 following the 8 p.m. performance of Jitney

Women of Wilson Panel
April 25, 2020 from 5:30 - 7 p.m.
A panel of women, including award-winning actress, director and producer Michele Shay (Broadway’s Seven Guitars), who have originated and defined Wilson’s strong female characters. The panel will be moderated by Dr. Soyica Colbert, chair of the Department of Performing Arts, director of Theater and Performance Studies and a professor of African American Studies at Georgetown University. Colbert was a dramaturg for Arena’s 2018 production of Wilson’s Two Trains Running.

August Wilson Documentary Film Screening
"American Masters" August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand
May 4, 2020 at 7 p.m.