About us

Mission Statement

We engage, educate, and empower diverse student/artists through the rigorous study, practice, and production of theatre and dance to enrich Detroit and global communities.

WSU Land Acknowledgement

Wayne State University rests on Waawiyaataanong, also referred to as Detroit, Michigan, the ancestral and contemporary homeland of the Three Fires Confederacy. These sovereign lands were granted by the Ojibwe, Odawa, Potawatomi, and Wyandot nations, in 1807, through the Treaty of Detroit. Wayne State University affirms Indigenous sovereignty and honors all tribes with a connection to Detroit. With our Native neighbors, WSU can advance educational equity and promote a better future for the earth and all people. Learn more here.

Anti-Racism and Accountability

Excerpt from the Theatre and Dance Department's "We Will" statement

With a vision towards building a theatre and dance community in which the plurality of every single person's humanity is welcome, is invited, is cherished, we commit to:

  • Modeling change, in the spirit of our President, Dr. Kimberly Andrews Espy.
  • Making anti-racism, cultural sensitivity, and inclusion our core departmental values, expressed in curriculum, policy, assessment, marketing, recruitment and the training of faculty and staff;
  • Producing performances that promote the development of an inclusive, educated, and informed audience;
  • Launching a Dialogue Series of Guest Speakers and a Reading Circle exploring the topics of racism, anti-racism, oppression, inclusion, and sensitivity;
  • Supporting local Black Artists and Arts and Culture Organizations;
  • Sourcing materials at local minority owned businesses; and
  • Providing resources and agency for the Student Advocacy Council.

Read our full "We Will" statement

Department Community Guidelines for Ethical Engagement

The Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre & Dance remains committed to maintaining an educational and professional environment where all people involved are treated with dignity and respect and are free from all forms of harassment and discrimination.  In maintaining this environment, the department pledges to the following commitments to ethical engagement.  

  • Breathe. 
  • We begin by listening. Listen actively; listen to understand. If you can, begin a response with a question. 
  • There is zero tolerance for violence. Whether it be faculty, staff, guest artists, or other students, physical and verbal threats, bullying, sexual harassment, assault, relational aggression, and intimidation will not be tolerated. 
  • Approach problems and challenges from a place of curiosity and creative thinking, rather from a point of frustration or judgment. This includes staying open to feedback and inquiry that others may offer you.
  • We honor individual and community agency, intuition, and innate wisdom. We therefore honor people’s rights to make decisions about their own bodies.
  • Your normal may not be my normal. Speak from your own lived experience and not from experience that you do not personally have.
  • Use “I” statements and speak from your own experiences.
  • No one knows everything; together we know a lot. In hard conversations, we know each person is coming with different levels of lived experience and embodied expertise. We all practice humility and discover what we have to learn from each person in the room.
  • Respect everyone’s identity and background, including pronouns and names. Do not assume anyone’s gender identity, religion-spiritual-or absence thereof, sexual preference, survivor status, economic status, background, health, etc. 
  • Ask permission to share. Before you share something that happens in a group or class setting, ask if what was shared can be shared with others. 
  • No Fixing, No Saving. We are here to do our own work and to be in community with one another. If you find yourself wanting to “fix” a situation or alleviate someone else’s (or your own) discomfort, take a moment to reflect on what is coming up for you. 
  • Acknowledge the power dynamics in the room. 
  • Expect and accept non-closure. There are no easy or immediate solutions to complex issues; discomfort is inevitable and at times productive. Dialogue does not have to conclude with consensus. 
  • Be aware of both intent and impact. Listen and change your behavior if someone tells you it is causing harm. 
  • Be aware of your feelings and thoughts. Stay present to your experience. 
  • Practice self-care. Be patient and gentle with self. 
  • Leaving the room: Sometimes it is necessary to remove yourself from a harmful situation entirely until clear boundaries can be (re)established. This is always a valid choice.
  • Mess is okay. You are not expected to have everything perfect before you share it. Being vulnerable is an act of bravery, not weakness. We are in this together.

About our College

Established in 1986, the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts educates the next generation of visual artists, musicians, communication professionals, designers, art historians, art managers, actors, and dancers. The college offers 17 undergraduate programs, 12 graduate programs and four graduate certificates through its departments: the James Pearson Duffy Department of Art and Art History, the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance, and the departments of communication and music. The music and theatre/dance departments are nationally accredited, as are individual programs in communication and art and art history.