Hattiloo Theatre wins August Wilson Century Cycle Award

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Hattiloo Theatre received a prestigious award. It's one of four all-black theatres in the nation.

Before the curtains opened Thursday night for August Wilson's play "Jintey," the Hattiloo Theatre was presented with a prestigious award for producing all of Wilson's plays.

"I was like, 'Hey, we've done all the work!'" said Hattiloo Theatre founder and CEO Ekundayo Bendele.

Now, he'll have the award to prove it.

Bendele said he's ecstatic to receive the August Wilson American Century Cycle Award.

"A theatre committing itself to doing all 10 of those plays is really telling a story that expands an entire century," Bendele said.

The award is co-sponsored by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and August Wilson House.  It's given to theater companies who've produced all 10 of August Wilson's plays.

So far, only 15 companies have done so, and Memphis' Hattiloo Theatre is one of them.

"I am over the moon to receive this award," Bendele said.

Chris Rawson with the August Wilson House traveled to Memphis to present the award to Bendele. He said Wilson's work is an important part of history.

"He's a playwright who appeals, Eck [Ekundayo Bendele] would say he's an essential playwright for the black audience, he's an essential playwright for an American audience," Rawson said.

As Bendele prepares to accept this honor, he said he wants everyone to experience August Wilson's plays with one thing in mind.

"I want them to leave knowing and appreciating the common humanity that we have," Bendele said.

If you want a chance to check out one of Wilson's plays, "Jintey" will be running at the Hattiloo Theatre until Sunday, May 13.

Copyright 2018 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.