Show Information

Written by:

Suzan-Lori Parks

Directed by:

Cynthia Croot


Thursday, October 24, 2013 to Sunday, November 10, 2013

Show Times:

Tuesday - Saturdays at 8:00 PM
Sunday Matinees at 2:00 PM


Studio Theatre in the Basement of the Cathedral of Learning

The OBIE-award winning Venus tells the story of Sartjie “Sarah” Baartman, a young South African woman with drive and a shrewd mind. Lured away by dreams of luxury, she is caged and exhibited in a London freak show. She escapes and ends up exploited by a doctor with whom she has fallen in love. Parks uses ironic comedy, pathos, and a lively chorus to examine the seductive and dangerous power of money, sexuality, and privilege.

Venus is directed by internationally active director Cynthia Croot, whose City of Asylum premiered at Pitt last season. Pittsburgh-based actor and teaching artist Bria Walker stars as Baartman. The intimate set is designed by Pitt theatre arts faculty member Gianni Downs.

To view PRODUCTION PHOTOS, please click on the poster below.



The play is built around the Venus role, a complicated one that mixes naivete, shrewdness, intelligence and resignation with a striking physical appearance. Bria Walker, teaching artist in residence at Pitt, captures all of these elements in a compelling performance.
Certainly among the most bizarre and repulsive incidents in the history of European colonialism and white supremacy — apart from the various genocides, that is — is the exploitation of a tiny, lone South African woman, Sarah Baartman. Billed as "The Hottentot Venus," she was hauled around Great Britain and France as a freak-show attraction in the early 19th century.