Who was Lorraine Hansberry? A Raisin in the Sun on BBC Radio 3

Posted on 11 January 2016

Did you know that it was American playwright Lorraine Hansberry who inspired Nina Simone’s much-loved song ‘Young, Gifted and Black’?

From Tues 22 – Sat 26 March, the Belgrade Theatre will welcome an all new production of one of the great American family dramas, A Raisin in the Sun

This intense family drama sees the Younger family await the arrival of a cheque for a life changing $10,000. Driven to conflict as they encounter issues of inequality, housing and lack of opportunity that continue to resonate today, the play acts as a stark warning to anyone who measures happiness and personal worth in capital gain.

This gripping portrayal of working class life, written on the cusp of the civil rights era, stands shoulder to shoulder with the work of writers like Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams and was the first play written by a black woman to be performed on Broadway when it first premiered in 1959.

This new production of A Raisin in the Sun is being directed by Dawn Walton and stars Ashley Zhangazha as Walter, in one of the great roles of American theatre. He will be joined by Angela Wynter as Lena Younger who is best known for her long-running role in EastEnders, playing Yolande Trueman between 2003 and 2008.

In this special episode of BBC 3’s Free Thinking, Phillip Dodd discusses Hansberry’s life and legacy and the resonance of her works today. You can find out more about the playwright’s remarkable contribution to world theatre here