In 1982, with opportunities for African American actors, dancers, singers, writers, directors, technicians, and audiences were sorely lacking in Syracuse, William H. Rowland II and Roy E. Delemos founded The Paul Robeson Performing Arts Company Inc. (PRpac) in the belief that it would enhance the life of the community with the richness and variety of African American Culture. They named it in honor of Paul Robeson, a multitalented performer and activist whose seamless passion for excellence on the stage, screen, in musical concert, and social justice in society embodied what they hoped to accomplish.
PRPAC’s first production, “An Afro-American Christmas Carol” written and directed by William H. Rowland II, opened in December 1982, at the Hutchings Auditorium in Syracuse. Since that time, the company has shaped itself into a unique cultural, spiritual, and educational asset. In 1985, Rose Bernthal, then Executive Director of the Landmark Theater, invited PRpac to come on board. This ongoing residency at the landmark theater was a landmark creative period for PRpac, it allowed PRPAC to present many memorable Broadway level productions on the main stage. Some of these highlights were as follows;
In 1989 PRpac began a residency with Syracuse University’s Department of African American Studies as one of the community outreach componants. The University provided PRpac with its own rehearsal hall, the Katherine Dunham Room, enabling PRPAC to develop some of the company’s productions and stage performances for small audiences in its own facility when located at 2223 E. Genesee Street. Currently located in a newly renovated facility at 805 E. Genesee Street, in the heart of the cultural corridor. PRPAC has grown into a local institution of international reputation, serving the needs of Syracuse artists--and the need for art in Syracuse--in a variety of complementary ways.
PRPAC’s musical theater productions, including:
are the company’s most visible works, and they have earned a reputation for excellence that benefits all of its activities. A highlight occurred in 1996 when the company took its Syracuse production of What’s Going On to Trinidad and Tobago for an engagement in the West Indies Republic.
Many types of music figure in PRpac’s multi-faceted programs:
PRpac’s programs for young people are a special feature of its community involvement. They include The Youth Ensemble & The Gifted & Talented Summer Camp intensive, a unique opportunity for Central New York children to learn and practice stagecraft; an annual summer camp offering workshops in music, drama and creative writing; movement; and stage technology; and field trips to Broadway shows, dance studios, and other cultural venues and events.
|The Paul Robeson Performing Arts Company is a community outreach program of the
African American Studies Department in the College of Arts & Sciences at Syracuse University.
805 East Genesee Street :: Syracuse, New York 13210 ::
Phone: (315) 442-2727 :: Fax: (315) 442-8707 (805 Genesee St.) :: Fax: (315) 637-1203 (Fayetteville Office)
AAS Home | CAS Home | S.U. Home