Pittsburgh Artist Registry

Kuumba Productions Kim El

Kuumba Productions Kim El

Artistic Category Artist

Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company, Mark Clayton Southers, Cheryl El Walker, Wali Jamal, Chrystal Bates, Kevin Brown, Vendell Nasir II, Mark Whitehead, Mils James, New Horizon Theater, Joyce Meggarsn-Moore, Chris Moore, Ernest McCarty, Kuntu Repertory Theatre, Dr. Vernelle A. Lillie, National Black Theatre Festival, DC Black Theatre Festival, Karla Payne, Dessie Bey, Ava "Blu" Wilson, Eileen Morris, Sherri Randolph, Briocolage Production Company, Tami Dixon, Jeffrey Carpenter, BoomConcepts, Darrell Kinsel, Marsh Simulators, Demetria Marsh, Naomi Grodin, Frank Gagilano, Ted Hoover, Hill House Kaufmann Center, Popa Banks, Susan Sparks, Crew 412 Productions, Eric Smith, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Education and Community Engagement, Tracey Edmunds, Janis Burley, August Wilson Cultural Center, Support Women Artist Now (S.W.A.N.), Don DiGiulio, Tressa Glover 

Career Level Emerging
Experienced With Collaboration, Commissions, For-hire services, Leading workshops, Lectures, Performances, Speaking engagements, Teaching engagements

Artist Statement - Kim El    I am a self-taught playwright and performance artist who uses words to stimulate human consciousness. When these words are poured onto scripts, they become stories about life in real time, tales of the super-natural, domestic violence, mental illness, family love and cultural conflicts. I write to give meaning to those who live. My literary knowledge includes Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, Edward Albee, Neil Simon and Eugene O'Neill. However, much of what flows from my pen is influenced by the works of Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Lorraine Hansberry, Lynn Nottage, Suzan Lori-Parks and August Wilson. I believe that these artist represent a powerful urban voice. I welcome the responsibility to continue their vibrations of hardship, intelligence and perseverance in the topics that I write about. By doing so, I hope to create a bridge that will connect and galvanize different cultures with theatrical entertainment.


Within the past 10 years, I have realized that creative writing gives me an opportunity to share emotions and reactions of the voiceless faces in our communities. As an African-American woman who is a survivor of domestic violence and Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, I know first hand the difficulties of having a voice, which is often stifled by fear and shame. My career objective is to improve my professional competence as a storyteller. To be the narrator of our history and leave a legacy of written work to inspire and uplift future generations. My mission is to be among the list of playwrights who have made a difference in the world. One play at a time. 

Kim El is an award-winning Pittsburgh-born playwright, wordsmith, actor, and educator who has a passion for storytelling. Her education includes studying Communications at Duquesne University where she earned a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, The Dramatist Guild and the 2014 Flight Fellowship for Creative Development. In 2013 The New Pittsburgh Courier added Kim to their 50 Women of Excellence roster. Her extensive theatre experience developed from venues such as New Horizon Theater, Kuntu Repertory Theatre, Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre, No Name Players, The Shadow Lounge, Briocolage Production Company and The August Wilson Center. Kim El has written eleven one-acts: Of Nine Tales, What Do You Ink?, King of Spades, Mental Case, No Kiddin', Speakeasy, Retrospect, Just Fishin', DetentionWish, Habari Gani! Children Celebrating Kwanzaaand When Souls Whisper. She is also the author of five full length plays: The Poet's Corner (co-written with KL Brewer), Turnabout, Ubuntu Holiday, The Sunday God Gave Me, Get Off The Bus and Straightening Combs, her first solo stage performance. Kim is the award recipient for Best Play (2011), Best Director (2008) and Best Supporting Actress (2006) for her work done at the Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Festival in Black and White. In addition to performing and writing, Kim shares her artistic skills educating and mentoring youth at the Jeron X. Grayson Community Center After School Program in the Hill District.


Kim El

P e r f o r m a n c e  R e s u m e

 Pittsburgh, PA 15206 412.613.6242 kims1pen@aol.com/kuumbakim@gmail.com



Playwright/ poet /actor/director with extensive stage and technical experience in various venues including theatre, schools and social organizations. Utilizes creative writing skills to teach youth in the educational system as well as facilitate artistic seminars and promote commercial publications.

Professional Experience

New Horizon Theatre Pittsburgh, PA 2002 - 2009

Actor/Production Technical Support

Livin Fat (Mama) 5/2009....Sisters (Olivia) 2/2007....Robert Johnson: Trick The Devil (Georgia) 9/2007... American Menu (Martha) 4/2006... Out Run The Rain (Tracy) 9/2003...The Poet’s Corner (Connie) 2/2003

Independent Contractor Pittsburgh, PA 2001 - Present

Spoken Word Performer/ Actor/Vocalist/ Playwright/Director

Straightening Combs (Playwright/Actor) – Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company 10/2012 Gem of the Ocean (Actor)—PPTCO & August Wilson Center6/2012 & 9/2012 In The Voodoo Parlour of Marie LeVeau (Director) --PPTCO 5/2011 The Ancestors Series- A Trilogy of One-Act Plays (Director) -- PPTCO 4/2010...Chelsea Arms (Mrs. Sterbich)--Kuntu Repertory Theatre 2013  Pain In My Heart (Millicent)--Kuntu Repertory Theatre 4/2009... Seven Guitars (Vera) Kuntu Repertory Theatre 5/2005... PPTCO Black & White Theatre Festival (Director/Actor) 2004-2012 Shadow Lounge Coffee House Feature Spoken Word Performer 7/2010 Kinetex @ New Hazlett Theatre Feature Spoken word Performer 7/2010

Productions: One-Act Plays Written by Kim El

Of Nine Tales Fade To Black Theatre Festival Houston, Texas  2016

Mental Case Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre 2016

Ubuntu Holiday Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre 2015

What do You Ink? New Hazlett Theatre  Pittsburgh, PA  2012

Speakeasy (Staged Reading) The Grey Box Theatre Pittsburgh, PA 2011

Just Fishin Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company 2011

No Kiddin New Hazlett Theatre Pittsburgh, PA 2011

The Sunday God Gave Me PPTCO 2009

Children Together- Christmas & Kwanzaa Homewood YouthPlaces  Pittsburgh, PA  2007

Detention Wish Peabody High School Pittsburgh, PA 2006

When Souls Whisper PPTCO Pittsburgh, PA 2005

Productions: Full Length Plays Written by Kim El

Get Off The Bus (Staged Reading) National Black Theatre Festival  Winston-Salem, NC 2017

The Sunday God Gave Me (Stage Reading) National Black Theatre Festival   Winston-Salem, NC  2015

Ubuntu Holiday Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company 2014

Straightening Combs DC Black Theatre Festival 2014


Straightening Combs Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company 2012

Turnabout (Staged Reading) National Black Theatre Festival Winston-Salem, NC  2011 

The Poets Corner (Co-Written with K.L. Brewer) New Horizon Theatre  Pittsburgh, PA  2003


Duquesne University Bachelor of Arts Degree Journalism Pittsburgh, PA June 1981

Special Acknowledgements & Awards:

New Pittsburgh Courier 50 Women of Excellence 2013 No Name Players presents S.W.A.N. (Support Women Artists Now) - Commissioned as playwright 2011 & 2013 ‘Turnabout’ selected for The Readers’ Theatre Series of New Plays at the 2011 National Black Theatre Festival Best Play Award received for ‘Just Fishin’ from Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Festival in Black & White 2011 Best Director Award received for ‘F.O.R.D’. from PPTCO Festival in Black & White 2008 Best Supporting Actress Award, ‘For The Love of Friends’ from PPTCO Festival in Black & White 2006 Nominated by the African American Council of the Arts Onyx Awards for Best Leading Actress for: American Menu (2006), Pain In My Heart (2008), Livin Fat (2009)





Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15206


  • Film
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  • Internet
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  • Voice-over / narrator
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  • Solo performer
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  • Improvisation
  • Film
  • Drama
  • Dance
  • Children's Theater
  • Poetry
  • Playwriting
  • Autobiographical


  • Biographical
  • Ethnic
  • Feminist
  • Narrative
  • Internet