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Multicultural Theater Certificate

The Multicultural Theater Certificate blends the teaching of history and theory with the practical aspects of theater-making by offering students throughout the university an opportunity to deepen their studies in this important and growing area of arts and academic study.

For more than twenty years, the Department of Theater has offered courses that provide students with an understanding of the history, representation and creative processes of people of color, as well as the cultural context of multicultural theater in this country. Initially, these courses were developed through collaboration with New World Theater, a professional not-for-profit organization founded in 1979 to present and produce work by artists of color. Since 2009, the year New World Theater closed, the Department of Theater has continued to teach courses with a multicultural focus and to support the development and implementation of new courses. Recently, these have included Black Power Plays, Brown Paper Studio: An Applied Theater Process, Contemporary Repertory: Africa, Hip Hop and Theater, Multicultural Theater and the Latino Experience, Arts & Culture in South Africa: The Grahamstown Festival Course, and Translation.

The Multicultural Theater Certificate builds on the legacy of New WORLD Theater to further explore, examine, contest, and define the roles of artists of color within and outside of the American theater canon. Additionally, a central theme of the certificate is the consideration of what future direction theater practice and theory might take, and how ideas of “multiculturalism” and “diversity” are part of that future. The certificate contextualizes and interrogates these terms, and engages students in critical dialogue about issues of self-definition, cultural equity, emerging aesthetics, and the evolving language of theory and practice. The coursework of the certificate asks students to rethink theater history in the U.S. and beyond while contributing to conversations in the present tense about the creation, development and production of multicultural theater and imagining the future of the arts in the United States. It extends the dialogue to new horizons by imagining the future of the arts not just in this country but also around the world as we explore international and intercultural perspectives.

The work in the classroom is enhanced through internships that bring students into direct contact with professionals in the field at multicultural arts organizations locally, regionally and nationally. Additionally, performances, lectures and workshops in the Department of Theater and the surrounding Five College area will give students hands-on experiences with the artists, artistic forms, and content they are studying.

For more information, contact Multicultural Theater Certificate Director Priscilla Page.

Related resources

The Multicultural Theater Certificate: building a legacy and a future: Listen to a podcast