Two new Courses in Fall 2020 address Social Justice and Theatre

students perform in a classroom
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A note from Sharon:

The department says hello and hopes you are safe and healthy. Faculty and staff met with the Black Theatre Association and other students, and we thank our students for their honesty and investment in VCUarts Theatre. 

We understand that our Black student community and communities of color throughout our country are affected and harmed by institutional and systemic racism that creates a culture that is inherently unjust and often violent. As a department it is time we commit to implementing anti-racist ideas, policies and teaching, and commit to fostering a culture that is truly equitable and inclusive where all our BIPOC students, faculty and staff feel valued, supported, and heard. 

As a first step on that journey, we are offering two NEW ADDITIONS to our fall semester line up of courses. We are creative people and I hope these two creative opportunities can be the first tangible step towards change and progress this coming year. 


sharon ott signature

  -Sharon Ott, Chair/Artistic Director

Image from Locked and Loaded, a piece on gun violence. A community collaboration created by The Conciliation Project to engage the community in dialogue and collective problem solving.


with Dr. Tawyna Pettiford-Wates and Dr. Aaron Anderson
THEA 593: Professional Internship: Applied Theatre / 3 Credits
Fall 2020: Friday 10:00am-1:00pm / Shafer 302

***Open to 3rd year, 4th year, and graduate theatre students. Other theatre students and students from other departments may enroll with instructor approval***

Study the discipline and function of Applied Theatre— the “use” of theatre as a tool or modality that can be mobilized for education, social and political movements, and wellness.

  • examine social justice through the study of theatre’s connection with social and political activism finding interactive ways to engage with the community.
  • learn how to create and widely disseminate videos, podcasts and other media aimed at promoting social action and addressing some of the most pressing issues of today.

Email Dr. T ( or Dr. Anderson ( with questions. 

Read More Here.


Playwriting with David Toney
THEA 365, 3 Credits
M & W 5:00-6:30pm

Protesters march to bring events into focus. Artists can do the same with their work.

As artists it is our job to illuminate the human experience—to strive and struggle to reveal the stories and the human toll of the global pandemics of racism and Covid-19.

How do we start? In Fall 2020, student groups are given the premise of a story or an aspect of a story drawn from actual events  Ideally, these students are from every discipline in VCUarts. Through instruction, each group will create their own unique presentation. Your difference will be your strength. No previous playwriting experience is necessary.

Email David Toney with questions (

Read More Here.

Header image from Bullies and Bystanders, A community collaboration created by The Conciliation Project to engage the community in dialogue and collective problem solving.