What You’ll Find Here

August Wilson, hailed as America’s Shakespeare, left an indelible mark on the landscape of American theater with his groundbreaking Century Cycle, a series of ten plays set in Pittsburgh’s Hill District. Chronicling the African American experience throughout the twentieth century, Wilson’s works captured the essence of joy, frustration, history, and culture of his community.

Through the August Wilson Education Project, students are encouraged to discover their own voices while delving into the timeless themes pervasive in Wilson’s work, such as community, identity, diversity, activism, self-reliance, and resilience.

This educational initiative offers educators a wealth of resources including play information, teaching guides, and the documentary and clips. In collaboration with schools, libraries, theaters, and community organizations, the Project aims to engage students in Wilson’s legacy, fostering a deeper understanding of his extraordinary stories about ordinary people and their enduring relevance.



August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand

The PBS series American Masters and Pittsburgh’s WQED presented the documentary, August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand, the definitive story of the most prolific playwright of the last half of the 20th century. The original air date was February 2015, and clips from that documentary can be found on PBS.

August Wilson: The Ground On Which I Stand details August Wilson’s unexpected rise from humble beginnings and adversity to create a 10-play cycle about African American life, a groundbreaking achievement in theater history. From the 1980s into the first decade of the 21st century, Wilson was the most produced playwright both on Broadway and in regional theaters. His plays earned Wilson two Pulitzer Prizes.



WQED Specials

Brain Space and Energy: My Interview with August Wilson

WQED producer Rick Sebak revisits his 1989 interview with playwright August Wilson, most of which has never been seen before.

Explore Wilson's Life and Work

Learn About August Wilson

Pittsburgh native and two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning African American playwright August Wilson’s journey from his early years to his enduring legacy in the world of literature and performance arts.

Teacher with students in a classroom

Get the Tools

Resources for teachers and educators including a 37-page interactive teaching guide, a discussion guide for the August Wilson documentary, and a deck of cards (one for each play in Wilson’s 10-play cycle) containing extension activities for the classroom and beyond.

August Wilson Play titles set against the silhouette of the city of Pittsburgh

Explore Wilson’s 10 Plays

Learn about the American Century Cycle, Wilson’s series of ten plays that chart the African American experience set in Pittsburgh’s Hill District.

WQED and The August Wilson Education Project wish to thank the following for their support and contributions:

The PNC Foundation
The National Endowment for the Humanities
Heinz Endowments
PBS – American Masters
Georgia Public Broadcasting
WHUT Howard University Television
WYCC PBS Chicago
The August Wilson Estate
The Arts Education Partnership
The August Wilson Society at Howard University
Carnegie Mellon University – School of Drama
Laurence Glasco, Ph.D.
Penumbra Theatre Company
Pfaffman + Associates
Pittsburgh Public Theater
Christopher Rawson, Ph.D.
The Senator John Heinz History Center
Sandra Shannon, Ph.D.