Charles H. Wright Museum Celebrates Detroit’s 313th with A Theatre of Color

Exhibit Tells History of Black Theatre Through Costume Design Free Public Viewing Thursday, July 24 of new exhibit: A Theatre of Color
DETROIT - July 22, 2014 - PRLog -- On Thursday, July 24, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History celebrates the 313th birthday of Detroit with a free public viewing of “A Theatre of Color: Costume Design for the Black Theatre by Myrna Colley-Lee.”  This exhibition showcases more than 100 original costume designs, and over 80 production photographs, including full-scale images from productions portraying the black experience from before World War II through the Pulitzer Prize-winning works of August Wilson.

In addition to being a survey of the costume designs of Myrna Colley-Lee, this new exhibit encompasses the larger world of theater costume design and the world of black theater during the second half of the 20th century – the plays, playwrights, and repertory companies, that produced an extraordinary series of works that have become landmarks in the history of black culture, of American literature, and of American theater.

“The exhibit continues the museum’s commitment to looking at African American history through a very unique presentation of costume design,” said Juanita Moore, the museum’s president & CEO.

A public viewing of the exhibit will be held Thursday, July 24 from 6:30 pm until 9:00 pm. This event is open to the public and there is no charge.

“Costume design is one of the most important tools to help the playwright bring his artistic vision to life. The costume designer's creation of the costumes is like a lens that focuses on the essential message of the play and reveals the basic personalities and motivations of the characters,” said Myrna Colley-Lee. Colley-Lee played a pivotal role in creating costumes during a period when black theater was struggling to stay alive and relevant. Her exhibit helps the viewer examine the ideological growth and creative tensions of the different paradigms that make up black theater through the present day.

Colley-Lee was born in Hamlet, North Carolina. She completed her BFA in art education from the Women’s College of the University of North Carolina and studied scene painting and properties at Brooklyn College, New York. A few of her credits include the CableACE Award–winning video production of Eugene O’Neil’s Long Day Journey into Night, the world premier of the opera X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X performed at Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia and Mothers, commissioned by Bill Cosby and performed at the Crossroads Theatre Company in Brunswick, New Jersey.

A Theatre of Color: Costume Design for the Black Theatre by Myrna Colley-Lee is sponsored by General Motors Company along with Arts & Education supporter General Motors Foundation. The exhibition will be on display until January 4, 2015 and is free with museum admission. Details on The Wright website: (

About The Wright Museum

Founded in 1965 and located at 315 East Warren Avenue in Detroit the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is the world's largest institution dedicated to the African American experience. For more information please call (313) 494-5800 or visit (

Pam Perry
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