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Release: May 6, 2002

Brochures for Iowa Summer Rep 2002 are now available

Brochures are now available for Iowa Summer Rep 2002, which will be presented by the University of Iowa department of theatre arts’ summer professional company June 26 through July 28 in the UI Theatre Building. The summer season will be a festival of plays by Atlanta playwright, fiction writer, poet and essayist Pearl Cleage: “Flyin’ West,” “Blues for an Alabama Sky” and “Bourbon at the Border.” The festival will also include a reading of “Mad at Miles: A Blackwoman’s Guide to Truth.”

The brochures -- which include Cleage’s biography, information about the plays, a full festival schedule and order forms for series packages -- are in the mail to those who normally receive UI theater mailings. The brochures are available for pick-up at the Hancher Auditorium box office or the Theatre Building lobby, and they may be requested from either the Hancher box office or the Department of Theatre Arts.

The theatre arts phone number is 319-335-2700. The Hancher box office may be contacted by phone at 335-1160 in the local calling area or toll-free at 1-800-HANCHER, or by e-mail at < >. People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial (319) 335-1158, which is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

Hancher Auditorium box office business hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays, through May 18. The box office will be closed May 19-27. When the box office re-opens for business on May 28, it will begin its summer business hours: 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays.

Beginning May 15 Iowa Summer Rep individual tickets will be on sale on-line at < >.

Cleage, who has been playwright in residence at Spelman College and at the Just US Theater Company in Atlanta, has written plays that have been produced professionally for more than 20 years. But she was boosted to a new level of public awareness when Oprah’s Book Club recommended her novel “What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day” in 1997. Her most recent novel, “I Wish I Had a Red Dress,” won the top fiction honor in the 2002 Literary Awards of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, Inc.

The daughter of a minister and a school teacher, Cleage began to form the themes of her plays early in her life. She recalled, “By the time I was eight or nine, I understood clearly that slavery and racism had created a complex set of circumstances that impacted daily on my life as an African-American. . . I also knew that as a person who had the advantage of growing up in a house where there were books, it was my responsibility once I achieved adulthood to work consciously to ‘uplift the race,’ or at least as much of it as I could, given limited resources, human frailty and the awesome implacability of the group itself.”

Before dedicating her energies to writing, Cleage worked at a variety of jobs in the media, including host of a black-oriented interview program in Atlanta. In the mid-1970s, she served as director of communications for the city of Atlanta and press secretary for Mayor Maynard Jackson.

Cleage’s essays have appear in Essence, the New York Times Book Review, Ms., Atlanta Magazine, Pride, Black World, the Afro-American Review and other publications. She has been a columnist for the Atlanta Gazette, the Atlanta Tribune and the Atlanta Constitution, and she was the founding editor of Catalyst, a literary magazine.

Cleage’s other books include the poetry collections “We Don’t Need No Music,” “Dear Dark Faces,” and “One for the Brothers”; the essay collection “Deals with the Devil: And Other Reasons to Riot”; the short-story collection “The Brass Bed and Other Stories”; and the non-fiction work “Dreamers and Dealmakers: An Insider’s Guide to the Other Atlanta.”

The department of theatre arts is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts. For UI arts information, visit < > on the World Wide Web. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact < >.