Cinema Returns To Towngate With ‘Fences’

Oscar-winning, Pittsburgh-based film on the big screen

Cinema returns to Oglebay Institute’s Towngate Theatre the weekend of February 16-18. The critically acclaimed drama “Fences” will be shown on Towngate’s big screen as part of its art house cinema program.

Produced, directed by, and starring Denzel Washington and written by Pittsburgh playwright August Wilson, “Fences” is an American period drama film, based on Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name. The film also stars Viola Davis, Stephen Henderson, Jovan Adepo, Russell Hornsby, Mykelti Williamson and Saniyya Sidney.

The film tells the story of Troy (portrayed by Washington), a 53-year-old head of household, and his family, for which he struggles to provide. Troy was a star player in Negro league baseball in his younger days, but, due to the color barrier, he was unable to get into the league to make good money or to save for the future. He has aged and now works as a trash collector.

The film has received many accolades. It was chosen by the American Film Institute as one of the top ten films of 2016, and was nominated for numerous awards, including Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor (Washington), Best Supporting Actress (Davis) and Best Adapted Screenplay at the 89th Academy Awards, with Davis winning for her performance.

“Fences” is set in Pittsburgh. August Wilson, the American playwright, was born in the Hill District of Pittsburgh in 1945. His work included a series of 10 plays, The Pittsburgh Cycle, for which he received two Pulitzer Prizes for drama. “Fences” was one of these pieces. Each work in The Pittsburgh Cycle takes place in a different decade, and depicts comic and tragic aspects of the African-American experience in the 20th century.

Wilson is a celebrated son of Pittsburgh, and in 2009, The August Wilson Center for African American Culture opened in Pittsburgh’s Cultural District. The Center includes galleries, classrooms, a 500-seat theater, a gift shop, a cafe, and many multi-purpose spaces for visual and performing art.

“Fences” is playing at Towngate February 16-18. Show times are 7 p.m. today; 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, February 17 and 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Sunday, February 18. Tickets are $7 and can be purchased at the door. Popcorn, soft drinks, beer and wine are available for purchase at all showings.

A church-turned-theater, Towngate is located in Wheeling’s historic Centre Market District and is part of the nonprofit Oglebay Institute. Towngate offers entertainment almost every weekend.

Home to a full season of community theater, Towngate also offers poetry and spoken word performances and children’s theater. Towngate also features comedy and improv shows. Local and regional musicians perform concerts on the Towngate stage, and a variety of acting classes are offered for all ages. The Gallery at Towngate hosts changing art exhibits year-round.

As a single screen cinema, Towngate shows a variety of films on select weekends throughout the year. Screenings include classic and independent films, thought-provoking documentaries and film shorts by local and regional filmmakers. Movie selections encourage thought and conversation.