Published February 27, 2023 by Tom Porter

Guest Director Presents Bowdoin Theater Production of ‘A Raisin in the Sun’

Renowned New York-based theater artist Craig Anthony Bannister is directing Bowdoin's upcoming production of the groundbreaking 1950s play at the Wish Theater.
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Craig Anthony Bannister

This is the first time Bowdoin has featured a Black-authored play directed by a Black director with a majority Black cast, says theater professor and department chair Abigail Killeen. “We’re so grateful Anthony chose to accept the invitation to work with us. Bringing in regular guest directors and choreographers of color is a key component to fostering strong and inclusive learning in theater and dance,” she explains.

The first Broadway play written by a Black woman, “A Raisin in the Sun,” by Lorraine Hansberry made an impact with audiences and critics when it premiered in 1959, dealing as it did with issues like racism and housing discrimination. The story revolves around the fortunes of an impoverished Black family in Chicago and their efforts to seek a better life.

“Even in 2023 this play is still very relevant,” says Bannister. “As African Americans, we continue to grapple with questions like ‘Where do we belong?’ and ‘How do we achieve our dream?’”—questions that, he says, are central to the theme of the play.

Many of the cast members are new to the stage, explains Bannister, which is fine because this play is a “good entry point” for novices wanting to get into acting. “You don't really need to have an incredible amount of acting technique to tell the story because it's so easy to relate to.”

“A Raisin in the Sun,” written by Lorraine Hansberry and directed by Craig Anthony Bannister, is being performed at the Wish Theater, Memorial Hall, March 2–4, 2023. More details.