Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Theatre Arts

Degree Program

Theatre Arts, MFA

Committee Chair

Segal, Janna

Committee Member

Booker, Catron

Committee Member

Fleming, Tyler

Author's Keywords

Art activism; acting; performance; political artist; gem of the ocean; august wilson


This thesis explores my transformation into a politically engaged theatre artist through my performance as Citizen Barlow in the University of Louisville's Department of Theatre Arts’ 2024 production of August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean. My thesis defines the characteristics of a politically engaged theatre artist and proposes specific ways actors can prepare to perform in any production of any play. My transformation into a politically engaged theatre artist resulted from a combination of the skills I gathered as an undergraduate student at Norfolk State University and the new analytical and acting techniques I learned as an MFA in Performance student at the University of Louisville. By combining these preparatory and performance skills for this production of Gem of the Ocean, I became a more politically engaged theatre practitioner. My thesis demonstrates how actors can support social justice though performances that hold space for critical thinking.