2017-2018 Tucker-Boatwright Festival

The Personal is Political / The Political is Personal

This year’s Tucker-Boatwright Festival of Literature and the Arts, presented by the Department of Theatre and Dance, offers performances, lectures, artist residencies, master classes, and films that encourage us to examine the ways in which the personal and the political are inextricably intertwined. The Festival will present theatre artists and scholars whose work explores notions of identity, citizenship, and the challenges of personal and collective action.

Upcoming Events

Nora Chipaumire

Artist in Residence, March 26–April 15
Performance: April 12, 7:30 p.m.
Cousins Studio Theatre

“Ms. Chipaumire is an artist of ferocious intensity” – The New York Times

Born in Mutare, Zimbabwe and resident of Brooklyn, New York, Nora Chipaumire has been creating dance and theater pieces that embrace and challenge stereotypes of Africa and the black performing body. Nora’s recent piece, Portrait of Myself as My Father, has garnered outstanding praise: “A no-holds-barred look at masculinity in African culture and the African male body in American culture.” – The New York Times

While in residence at UR, Chipaumire will create her new piece, “#punk trilogy.” She will host open rehearsals, giving students insight into her creative process. At the end of the residency, she will present a preview presentation of the work, with a Q&A session following the performance.

Reservation requests: 804-287-6662.

Learn More:
Video: Nora Chipaumire Discusses “Portrait of Myself as My Father

Video: #punk

Blues for Mister Charlie, by James Baldwin
Directed by Chuck Mike and Tawnya Pettiford-Wates
Set Design: Josafath Reynoso
Lighting & Sound Design: Maja White
Costume Design: Johann Stegmeir

April 19-22
Jepson Theatre

In a small Southern town, a white man murders a black man, then throws his body in the weeds. With this act of violence, loosely based on the notorious 1955 killing of Emmett Till, James Baldwin launches an unsparing and at times agonizing probe into the wounds of race. For where once a white storekeeper could have shot a "boy" like Richard Henry with impunity, times have changed. Centuries of brutality, fear, patronage, and contempt are about to erupt in a moment of truth as devastating as a shotgun blast.

This production is a collaboration between Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Theatre and The University of Richmond (UR) Department of Theatre and Dance, in association with The African American Repertory Theatre and The Conciliation Project, which aims to engage issues of racial justice, economic freedom, family, and faith.

Students are FREE, but tickets are required.

Past Events

Top Girls, by Caryl Churchill
Directed by Dorothy Holland
Set Design: Josafath Reynoso
Lighting & Sound Design: Maja White
Costume Design: Heather Hogg

Oct. 5–8
Cousins Studio Theatre

In this award-winning play by Caryl Churchill (“our greatest living playwright” according to Tony Kushner), Marlene, the highly-successful director of the Top Girls Employment Agency, throws a dinner party for famous women from the past: the Victorian explorer, Isabella Bird; Lady Nijo, courtesan to the Emperor of Japan; the infamous Pope Joan; Chaucer’s patient Griselda; and Bruegel’s Dull Gret. Churchill’s audacious, brilliant, and inventive play asks this thought-provoking question, "What would you be willing to sacrifice in order to achieve success?”

Staged Reading of a new play by Robert Hodierne
Directed by Bo Wilson
Oct. 24, 7:30 p.m.
Cousins Studio Theatre

On March 16, 1968, a group of U.S. Army soldiers entered two small villages in southeastern Viet Nam. They killed hundreds of unarmed citizens, including young children and infants. How could the soldiers do this? How could the massacre remain hidden for over a year?

University of Richmond journalism professor, Robert Hodierne’s powerful new play is based on archival recordings of the hearings and interviews with soldiers who were there. This staged reading will include professional actors from the Richmond area as well as UR student actors. Talkback following the performance.

Free and open to the public, but seating is limted. First come, first served.

A Conversation with Taylor Mac
Cousins Studio Theatre
Nov. 9, 7:00 p.m.
“Fabulousness can come in many forms, and Taylor Mac seems intent on assuming each and every one of them.”
The New York Times

Taylor Mac is recipient of the 2017 MacArthur Fellowship ‘Genius’ Award, the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama (2017), and Pulitzer Prize Finalist in Drama. Mac is a playwright, actor, singer-songwriter, performance artist, director, and producer. The author of seventeen full-length works of theater including, A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, Hir, The Walk Across America for Mother Earth, The Lily’s Revenge, The Young Ladies Of, Red Tide Blooming, and The Be(a)st of Taylor Mac, other recent awards include: the NY Drama Critics Award, 2017; an Obie Award, 2017; the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, 2016; a Guggenheim Award, 2016; the Mellon Foundation Resident Playwright Award; the LAMDA Literary Award nomination for Best Play, “Hir,” 2016; and, The New York Times, NY Magazine, and Time Out NY ‘Top Ten’ Theater lists for the play, Hir.

"I believe my job as a theater artist is to remind my audience of the range of their humanity. I believe the more personal risk I take in the work the more the audience will relate and see the whole of their humanity reflected back at them. So, through art, I try to be as masculine, feminine, ugly, beautiful, intelligent, base, chaotic, graceful, joyful, sorrowful, perfect and flawed as I am in real life."
–Taylor Mac

Learn more:
Video: Macarthur Foundation Introduction

Video: Mac's Play HIR

Collegian Coverage of Mac's Artist Talk

U.S. Representation: Pomegranate Arts, Inc.
Free and open to the public.

The Crucible, by Arthur Miller
Directed by Walter Schoen
Set Design: Josafath Reynoso
Lighting & Sound Design: Maja White
Costume Design: Johann Stegmeir

Jepson Theatre
Nov. 16–19

Witch Hunt! The phrase has haunted us through the centuries from the days when abuse of and violence against women was a regular occurrence to modern day “mud-slinging” politics. But what and who is being haunted is always at the heart of the issue. From the witches of early American Salem to the communists of the 1950s to the leaks and secret assignations in today’s Washington, D.C., how does the ethics of the individual relate to the community at large?

These are the central issues of Arthur Miller’s searing drama, The Crucible. Hysteria rips at the very fabric of Salem society in this wrenching condemnation of a famous “witch hunt.” But Miller is speaking about more than history when he suggests that the actions of one person can send a shockwave through the halls of power.

Students are FREE with student ID, but tickets are required.

Split Britches Theatre Company
Artists in Residence, Nov. 26–Dec. 9
Cousins Studio Theatre
Performance: Dec. 5., 7:30 p.m.

Split Britches artists, Lois Weaver and Peggy Shaw, blend satirical, gender-bending performances to create new theatre forms by foregrounding and exploiting old conventions. They borrow from classical texts, popular myths, and the details of everyday life. The work is personal and profoundly political: it is about a community of outsiders, queers, eccentrics, and the imaginative potential in everyone. During their residency, Split Britches will create a new theatre piece to be performed in New York in January. They will also offer workshops for students and do a performance open to the public.

Learn more.

Dec. 5 performance is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. First come, first served.

Production Studies III Showcase: Vinegar Tom, by Caryl Churchill
Feb. 8–11
Cousins Studio Theatre

Dazzling… Biting… Bawdy… Insightful... Irreverent and witty. Don't miss this vibrant and revolutionary play about witches (in which there are no witches), written by Caryl Churchill, one of the most important and politically astute playwrights of our time.

Director: Erin Piasecki
Scenic Designer: Emilie Knudsen
Costume Designer: Niomi Kaiser
Lighting Designer: Megan Wirtz
Sound Design: Rachel Nugent
Dramaturg: Niomi Kaiser

The Production Studies III showcase is the culmination of two years of intense theatre study. Students select, produce, direct, and design a fully mounted, full-length play under the guidance of theatre faculty. Generous production support has been provided by the Lewis t. Booker Professorship in Religion and Ethics.

All performances are free, but tickets are required.

Universes Theatre Ensemble
Artists in Residence, Feb. 17–23
Party People Salon performance on Feb. 22, 7:30 p.m.
Camp Concert Hall

Fusing theater, poetry, dance, music, and politics, Universes, a company of multi-disciplinary writers and performers, creates work that challenges and inspires social change. During their residency, Universes will teach master classes and offer a public performance of Party People Salon, which explores the complicated legacies of the Black Panthers and the Young Lords. A talkback following the performance will include members of the Black Panthers and the Young Lords.

Learn More:
Video: About Party People

Video: Behind the Scenes of Party People

Free, but tickets required.

Hope in the Midst of Despair: James Baldwin’s Blues for Mister Charlie
Dr. Soyica Diggs Colbert
Associate Professor of Theatre & African American Studies, Georgetown University
March 23, 4:30 p.m.
Actor/Director Lab, Department of Theatre & Dance

Soyica Colbert is an Associate Professor of African American Studies and Theater and Performance Studies at Georgetown University. She is the author of The African American Theatrical Body: Reception, Performance and the Stage and editor of the Black Performance special issue of African American Review. She has published articles and reviews on James Baldwin, Alice Childress, August Wilson, Lynn Nottage, Katori Hall, and Suzan-Lori Parks in African American Review, Theater Journal, Boundary 2, South Atlantic Quarterly, and Theater Topics.

Free and open to the public, but seating is limited. First come, first served.

Tickets for all events can be purchased or reserved through the Modlin Center Box Office:

(804) 287-6662
In person at the Box Office; see website for hours of operation

Students may reserve a free ticket to all events with ID.