Theater Talk: Yao Kahlil Newkirk, new AD at PRT, to add installations to traditional stage offerings

Mar 5, 2021

The Paul Robeson Theatre of the African American Cultural Center at 350 Masten Ave. in Buffalo has a new Artistic Director, Yao Kahlil Newkirk, with a vision to continue offering traditional stage plays by noted black playwrights such as Lorraine Hansberry, August Wilson or Dominique Morisseau, while adding a new element of installations.

Yao Kahlil Newkirk, the new Artistic Director at the Paul Robeson Theatre on Masten Avenue in Buffalo, brings installation background as well as traditional theater experience.
Credit Yao Kahlil Newkirk

With a BFA and MFA in Theater Performance, Buffalo native Newkirk is currently working on his Ph.D. at UB in Transnational Studies. His work focuses on Original Stories and trans-racial/intraracial identities.

He was mentored by Iris Stevenson, and spent considerable time based in Los Angeles as what he calls "one of the 'Sister Act' kids" on tour. 

For a sample of his installation concepts, watch his video of I WISH A N***^ WOULD

Inspired by the series Game of Thrones. Newkirk uses the Royalty Free Music titled "Battle Fury" to good effect. (Tip: Be sure to watch all the way to the end title card.)

Newkirk comes from a Buffalo family rich in performance history and his brother is the current Simba on Broadway (when it reopens) in THE LION KING.