2014/2015

Research/Creative Work

Contribution of Research/Creative Work Appropriate to the Disciplines of Playwriting and Dramaturgy

Scholarly Review Equivalencies

Specific scholarly review equivalencies for Books, Refereed Articles and General Articles have been created for promotion/tenure portfolio review for the Department of Theatre Arts. The description of the equivalent Research/Creative Work that support the promotion/tenure portfolio review for the Department of Theatre Arts are outlined in the 2018 Department of Theatre Arts Guidelines and Criteria for Promotion and Tenure. Click here for the specific scholarly review equivalencies for the Department of Theatre Arts. To aide in the review process, beneath the heading for each Creative Work documented below the scholarly equivalency is noted.

Event Details

  • Hart's Role: Scholarly Writing/Presentation Coach
  • Event: Blackademics TV PBS Taping
  • Producer: Blackademics TV & KLRU-TV
  • Location: KLRU-TV, Austin Texas
  • Prep work with Scholars: Nov. 2014-Feb. 2015
  • Rehearsal Dates: February 17-18, 2015
  • Taping Dates: February 19-20, 2015
  • Signed Contract - Click Here

Event Description

Taped in front of a live audience at KLRU-TV station in Austin Texas, Blackademics Television is a Lone Star Emmy nominated television series that airs nationally on PBS. In its third year, the series features dynamic and informative scholars sharing their research from a wide range of academic, activist and creative backgrounds.

Link to Watch Episode












Photos Below: my 2015 cohort of scholar presenters

Creative Work: Scholarly Writing/Presentation Coach

Scholarly Equivalency - Book

Hart's Contribution as a Scholarly Writing/Presentation Coach

Blackademics TV is a unique opportunity for me to utilize my expertise as a writer and my knowledge of public-focused dramaturgy. Public-focused dramaturgical efforts function to contextualize and offer frameworks for interpretation, critique and analysis.

This was my first year working on the series as a scholarly writing/presentation coach. Serving as a scholar coach for consecutive years helps create a consistent high quality aesthetic for the series. This kind of consistency and attention to excellence produces a series that has both artistic and commercial merit.

The focus of the series is to offer scholarship to local, national and global communities through live studio participation, the internet and television. The finished product reaches approximately 3 million television viewers and airs in Texas, New Mexico, Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado and Florida. The seres is also available via the internet on the 350 PBS member stations that serve all 50 states, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa.

In my role I provide support and training for a cohort of up to six nationally and/or internationally recognized scholars, artists and activists preparing them to write compelling scholarly researched based presentations to communicate their research focus for a television audience and conduct interactive, engaging academic presentations.

The scholar presenters are the "face" of the series. With my help scholar presenters create a nine minute segment that focuses on their research expertise and interest.

The selection process is highly competitive. Scholars must submit a research abstract and a committee of scholars makes the final selection of twelve scholars for each cohort. Over a twelve week process I hold writing and coaching sessions with each of my six scholars to review and provide feedback on their research abstract. Next, the scholars submit a draft outline of their research critique based presentation. The critique focuses on the strengths and limitations of the research. We engage in discussion and brainstorming via at least two teleconferences or videoconferences to further develop their presentation and analyze the merits and faults of their critique. As we move to the final presentation draft I help the scholars title their talk and pay special attention to editing to create a nine minute presentation segment centered on the scholars research focus.

Of note, as a result of the specific research focus of each scholar, the content focus of the papers is quite varied. This season, a few of the scholars I supported included Dr. Whitney Battle-Baptiste whose talk focused on "Moving Mountains and Liberating Dialogues: My life as a black feminist archaeologist," Dr. Elizabeth Chin's discussion on "Ka Dance Technique: Embodying Diaspora Histories and Struggles," and Dr. Jonathan Gayles' examination of "Fear, Fascination and Fetish: The Black Masculine Body as National Conundrum." Through my work as a scholar coach I help shape the advancement of scholarly and public discourse on a wide variety of research subjects.

The series is taped in front of a live audience in Austin TX at KLRU-TV. Once I and the cohort of scholars arrives in Austin I continue to advise the scholar presenters on set for the live taping by being present and supportive during the rehearsal sessions preceding each recording session.

The contribution and outcome of my coaching is consistent high quality researched based presentations that are nationally broadcast and distributed around the world via PBS television stations and electronic media.


"Each presenter shared that with Denise’s knowledge of dramaturgy, writing and performance they were able to translate their academic and scholarly presentation in a way that significantly impacted the audience. In fact, more than one of her assigned scholars shared that they felt they couldn’t have done as well without Denise’s training and support." ~ Dr. Kevin Foster, Executive Producer
CEO Natalie Cofield, President of Black Chamber of Commerce Austin Texas.
Shares the history and importance of black entrepreneurship and economic equity.
Professor Scot Brown, African American Studies and History at UCLA
"Funk Wars 1980: Decoding the Rick James/Prince Feud"
Dr. Scot Brown discusses the Rick James/Prince feud and the importance of music education
Dr. Whitney Battle-Baptiste, Director of W.E. Dubois center at University of Massachusetts
"Moving Mountains and Liberating Dialogues: My life as a black feminist archaeologist"

“Denise Hart is a fantastic and insightful coach. She worked with me in preparation for a televised lecture and helped me craft my talk and to more effectively present for television and large public audiences. Her coaching was indispensable!” ~ Scot Brown, Professor of African American Studies and History (UCLA). Music Historian, Commentator, Songwriter/Producer

Dr. Zetta Elliott discusses causes and solutions to the lack of diversity in children’s literature.
"Afro-Urban Magic in Youth Adult History Fantasy"
Dr. Elizabeth Chin explores the innovative methods of anthropologist and dancer Katherine Dunham.
"Ka Dance Technique: Embodying Diaspora Histories and Struggles"
Dr. Jonathan Gayles examines the history and fatal consequences of the “dangerous giant negro” myth.
"Fear, Fascination and Fetish: The Black Masculine Body as National Conundrum"

Creative Work: Production Director

Scholarly Equivalency - Refereed Article

DC Metro Arts Production Review - Click Here

Hart's Contribution as Production Director

In my role as theatre director in an educational environment I led the project by creating an environment where student artists in collaboration with a professional academic production team can implement the concept/vision set forth by the director and create a production that has artistic and commercial merit worthy of public viewing. Additionally, directing in an educational environment expands teaching beyond the classroom and places the student in a professional culture where they receive guidance on professional standards and protocol. In a supportive environment students are able to move beyond theory to application of the performance techniques learned in the classroom setting. My directing approach is discovery and process focused while achieving necessary milestones that result in a production worthy of public viewing.

With this production I was interested in the high story telling nature of Zora Neale Hurston’s stories set in the world of what I call folklore fantasy and magic realism. Additionally, I was interested in the historical context of African American Story Telling. Since the beginning of time, storytelling has been an important event in the African and African American communities. Through storytelling, questions were answered, history was conveyed and life long lessons were taught and learned. Thematically I focused on "The art of Living Fully Human in an imperfect World filled with Laughter, Pain and Love."

My directorial contributions made to achieve the goals of creating a production reflecting artistic and commercial merit for "Spunk" include:

      • Training students in advanced theatre/directing techniques
      • Over the course of 5 weeks spend approximately 100-120 hours in rehearsal (this is without release time from course work)
        • Guidance and instruction regarding professional industry standards and protocol
      • Ethnological and Anthropological research
      • In collaboration with the set designer determine the best use of the theatre space
      • Guide and collaborate with the artistic/design team (set/costume/lighting and sound scape) to visually actualize the physical environment and atmosphere of the play
      • Analyze the script for its structure, themes and socio/political arguments
      • Assess, interpret and actualize the physical and verbal action of the play
      • Casting that implements industry standard professional protocols
      • Plan for and manage rehearsals that provide adequate time for actors and the design and production teams to achieve their individual goals
      • Conduct rehearsals to construct blocking that reflect the plays tempo and help actors to discover and reveal a characters psychological truth
      • In collaboration with the design team, manage technical rehearsals to solidify and clarify all light and sound cues and final design decisions
      • Collaborate with the marketing and PR team





Photos Below: production photos

Production Details

    • Hart's Role: Production Director
    • Play: Spunk by George C. Wolfe
    • Producer: Howard University Department of Theatre Arts
    • Rehearsal Dates: 9/2 - 10/7, 2014
    • Production Dates: 10/8 - 12, 2014

Play Synopsis

“I git to the git with some pain n’ some spit n’ some spunk.” The lush, earthy language of Zora Neale Hurston (Their Eyes Were Watching God) is animated through music in the key of the blues in these three short tales of love, revenge, survival, and redemption - "Sweat”, "Story in Harlem Slang”, and “The Gilded Six Bits.” Adapted by George C. Wolfe (The Colored Museum) and featuring musical narration composed by blues artist Chic Street Man, Spunk breathes new life into these three remarkable short stories from the Harlem Renaissance.

Production Materials

Creative Activity: Playwright & Production Director

Scholarly Equivalency - Refereed Article

Hart's Contribution as Playwright/ Production Director

The role of a playwright is to tell relatable entertaining stories that fit inside a theatrical structure and have artistic and commercial merit.

With a 22 year career as a playwright and director of plays written for child actors performing for family audiences, the production of "How I Learned to Be a Kid" was a heartwarming endeavor for me as a playwright, the staff, campers and the hundreds of audience members who came to the productions. This play was inspired by the rich legacy of stepping and body percussion that has a direct link to African Ancestry. While developing the play I was mindful to consider the varying ages of the audience members when constructing the story, creating the characters and music lyrics.

With regard to process, in the initial stages I collaborated with the musical director to create the lyrics and musical story structure. Thereafter I developed a draft of the script prior to the production and once the cast was selected I was able to make edits and incorporate ideas from the child actors. Once the final 90 minute full length script was completed a full cast read through was held and thereafter the rehearsal process began.

In my role as the production director I created the rehearsal schedule and conducted daily rehearsals with the actors. In addition, I held production meetings with the design team to make decisions regarding how to best capture the look, tone and mood of the play. Lastly, in collaboration with the design team I managed the tech process in preparation for the public event.

My contribution as playwright made to achieve the goals of creating a production reflecting artistic and commercial merit for "How I Learned to Be a Kid" include:

    • Conduct ethnological and anthropological research to support the developing story line and character development
    • Write music lyrics
    • Write and edit multiple drafts of the play script
    • Collaborate with music director on the flow and structure of the story as told through music
    • Produce final script for production execution

My directorial contributions made to achieve the goals of creating a production reflecting artistic and commercial merit for "How I Learned to Be a Kid" include:

    • Train students in fundamental theatre/directing techniques
    • Guidance and instruction that reflect high standards and industry protocol
    • In collaboration with the set designer determine the best use of the theatre space
    • Collaborate with the musical director
    • Guide and collaborate with the artistic/design team (set/costume/lighting and sound scape) to visually actualize the physical environment and atmosphere of the play
    • Analyze the script for its structure, themes and socio/political arguments
    • Assess, interpret and actualize the physical and verbal action of the play
    • Cast the play
    • Plan for and manage rehearsals that provide adequate time for actors and the design and production teams to achieve their individual goals
    • Conduct rehearsals to construct blocking that reflect the plays tempo and help actors to discover and reveal a characters psychological truth
    • In collaboration with the design team, manage technical rehearsals to solidify and clarify all light and sound cues and final design decisions
    • Collaborate with the marketing and PR team


Photos and Videos Below: campers from The Children's Theatre Workshop share how the camp has impacted their life

Production Details

    • Hart's Role: Playwright & Director
    • Play: How I Learned to Be a Kid
    • Producer: The Children's Theatre Workshop
    • Location: Washington DC
    • Rehearsal Dates: 6/22-7/25, 2015
    • Production Dates: 7/24-25, 2015

Play Inception

This production was inspired by the rich legacy of stepping and body percussion that has a direct link to African Ancestry.

The students discovered that in South Africa stepping derived from the South African Boot Dance. Campers also learned about the struggle for freedom from Apartheid and how dance and percussive movement was a healing balm in times of stress and oppression. In addition, they learned about stepping as it relates to sororities and fraternities in the United States and throughout the Diaspora.

I felt that it was important for young people to learn more about and participate in this passionate aspect of African American history.

Additionally, the story has the theme of learning to accept that we may not be able to do much about the circumstances that occur, but we can always decide how we will respond to them.

Production Materials


Creative Work: Panelist

Scholarly Equivalency - General Article

Hart's Contribution as Panelist Participant

    • Presenter: University of Maryland Graduate Student Association Guest Speaker - March 11, 2015. Held at University of Maryland (College Park MD)