Black Theatre and Dance Program

Mission and Goals: The Black Theatre and Dance Program (BTDP) is an integral part of the Wayne State University Department of Theatre & Dance. Through the presentation of theatrical productions of new and established works, complemented by social and cultural programming and outreach, the BTDP endeavors to challenge and engage the community about the black experience as it relates to theatre.

We strive to:

• increase public awareness of the significant contributions of African Americans through theatre and dance.

• create an on-going dialogue with the community as it pertains to the black experience in theatre and dance.

• challenge the community by offering theatrical works that brings awareness to issues that affect the African American Community.

• develop future African American theatre and dance scholars and artists

• provide community outreach opportunities to the Detroit Area


Video: "The Power of Language" - presentation

Description: August Wilson, one of the best playwrights, wrote a ten-play cycle (Gem of the Ocean, Joe Turner's Come and Gone, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, The Piano Lesson, Seven Guitars, Fences, Two Trains Running, Jitney, King Hedley II and Radio Golf) that encapsulates the African-American experience for every decade of the 20th century. In the words of Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Wilson's plays are about "the frustration and the glory of being black". Informed by the blues, Africa and black nationalism, Wilson's plays can be studied like King Lear, Hamlet and others. His work has the same rigor and consciousness of heightened language as Shakespeare. His texts are an ongoing wealth of information with always more to discover. In this presentation, the MFA Acting students of the Freedom Players explore Wilson's rich language, characters, and stories through discussion and performances of selected scenes.

To book the Freedom Players, contact Billicia Hines @