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Caroline Tattersfield

Marketing Black Theatre in Non-Urban, Predominantly White Communities

Caroline Tattersfield ’22

Faculty Mentor(s):
Anjalee Hutchinson, Theatre
Funding Source:
Program For Undergraduate Research

Historically American theatre has fiercely promoted white theatre-makers at the expense of Black artists. American theatre has made a long-term investment in sustaining the portrayal of whiteness by granting privileges and favor towards White playwrights. Historically, Black theatre has not been equally represented on the American theatre landscape due to being described by White American scholars as “sub-par, reactionary, and anti-intellectual” because it hasn’t always been universally “recognized as a site of theorization” (Johnson). From the Black perspective, Black theatre is seen as a supporting force that sustains Black culture. As Stuart Hall asserts, Black theatre emphasizes that “it is only through the way in which we present and imagine ourselves that we know how we are constituted and who we are” (Hall). This project was designed in order to identify the marketing strategies that professional and university theatres in predominantly White, non-urban areas used to promote productions of plays written by Black playwrights. I seek to uncover the marketing methods theatres used to; promote messages of racial injustice toward Black people and prepare White audience members to be in a space that criticizes their historical role in perpetuating racism in America. This research is relevant to the Bucknell Department of Theatre and Dance because Black theatre that contains subjects of racism that criticize White audiences has yet to be studied in depth in a scholarly context.

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