"We Will" Statement

The Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance is committed to creating a space of solidarity, mutual respect and trust. We see ourselves as a place to meet and work together to realize the transformative power of performance, while in the process continuing to challenge our assumptions, support new growth, and to affirm our capacity for change. In 2020, as our community and country grappled with the renewed trauma resulting from centuries of racial injustice, our department composed a "We Will" statement. The statement outlined a vision towards building a theatre and dance community in which the plurality of every single person's humanity is welcome, invited, and cherished. Since that time, some of our accomplishments have included: 

  • Launched a minor in Africana Theatre and Dance 

  • Dance has developed a new course, Africanist Diasporic Dance Technique 

  • Created a Study Abroad Program in Trinidad and Tobago 

  • Established a Student Advocacy Collective developed to form a bridge between the student body, faculty and staff to create a safe, equitable, and inclusive space within our programs. 

  • Invited guest artists of color to the department to speak or to produce performances in collaboration with our students. Many of these were part of Dr. RAS Mikey Courtney's "Movement Matters" series. Some of these artists include Gary Anderson, BallEthnic, Anthony Burrell, Brother (Hood) Dance, Crystal Fraiser, Lawrence Fung, Carlos Funn, Queen Gabby, Jennifer Harge, John Sloan III, Garlia Cornelia Jones, Sabia Jones, Kennikki Jones-Jones, Jr., Wanjiru Kamuyu, Dominique Morisseau, Adam "Ade Ola" Pascall, Jaime Philbert, Carl "Dougie" Sanders 

  • In 22/23 Dance hosted residencies with local artists (Re)Claim Project (Ta'Rajee Omar and Christopher Woolfolk) and Queen Gabby (Jit dancer) to create new work with students. 

  • Allesee Guest Dance Artist for 22/23 was Wanjiru Kamuyu. Hip hop artist Crystal Frazier will be Allesee Guest Artist for AY 23/24. Local dance artist Celia Benvenutti will join the dance faculty in Fall 23 to create a new work. 

  • Partnered with and hosted Black Theatre Network Conference in Detroit 

  • Honored Ruben Santiago-Hudson and Dominique Morisseau with our 2022 Apple Award 

  • Hosted North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University's production of Charlayne Woodard's autobiographical play "Pretty Fire" 

  • The Underground company produced a new play by LaRaisha Dionne called, "The End of a Society" that explored Afro-Futurism. 

  • Our faculty have made efforts to decolonize their curriculums to make our classrooms more inclusive and to reflect on legacies of colonialism, racism, and imperialism. This includes reading and discussing a land acknowledgment at the beginning of the semester and including a wide range of authors in syllabi. 

While we are proud of these accomplishments, we recognize that this work is far from finished. Indeed, many of the accomplishments listed here were led by Black faculty in the department. We aspire to work towards a more collective effort and with the opening of the Hilberry Gateway, we hope to model a bold new vision for performance- making, education, and community engagement that centers dialogues around race, gender, sexual orientation/identity, and ability as vital to our mission. As we continue this journey, some future steps include the dance program shifting technique requirements so that Africanist Dance Aesthetics are centered in the technique requirements for all majors, developing a Community Engagement Committee, as well as producing more events and performances that transform our theatre for the better. 


Yours respectfully,

The Faculty and Staff of the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance

Winter 2023

Dear Students,

During this time of monumental social and political reckoning, we are deeply grateful to you for coming forward to share your observations and experiences about the Department.

Our history reveals that we have failed to be our best. Our future commits us to strive to improve.

We are listening. We are learning from you.

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, M. Roy Wilson;
  • 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.

Organizations can be excellent only if they invite honest, fair and rigorous participation from all of their members. We want to be excellent for you and with you. We look forward to partnering with you to create structures of accountability the policies, the principles, the habits of practice that keep us faithful to our purposes.


Yours respectfully,

The Faculty and Staff of the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance

Summer 2020