2016/2017

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. 2016-Feb. 2017
  • Rehearsal Dates: February 20-23, 2017
  • Taping Dates: February 22-23, 2017

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 fifth 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


"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




Photos Below: my 2017 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 fourth 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 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. During the 2017 season, the scholars I supported included: a research scientist who focused on "Afro-Brazilian's Education Activism", a curriculum expert focusing on "Rethinking the role of Black History in American Schools," and Dr. Sharell Luckett whose book "Black Acting Methods: Critical Approaches", is the first book to highlight diverse acting/directing methods rooted in Afrocentrism. Through my work as a scholar coach I help shape the advancement of scholarly and public discourse on a wide variety of research subjects.

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.

Dr. Sharrell Luckett
An Assistant Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies at Muhlenberg College, discusses methods from her book she is Black Acting Methods: Critical Approaches, a groundbreaking book that is the first book to highlight diverse acting/directing methods rooted in Afrocentrism.
Dr. Rolf Straubhaar
An Assistant Research Scientist in the Center for Latino Achievement and Success in Education at the University of Georgia discusses Afro-Brazilian's Education Activism
Tequia Hicks Delgado
An Obama White House staffer talks about career advancement with Allies, Advocates and Investors
Yewande K. Austin
An award-winning lecturer, activist and honorary U. S. Cultural Ambassador discusses the importance of music and the arts as tools for education and empowerment.
Dr LaGarrett King
An Assistant Professor of Social Studies Education at the University of Missouri-Columbia, a Curriculum Expert on Rethinking the role of Black History in American Schools
Dr. Jeanine M. Staples
Jeanine Staples is Associate Professor of Literacy and Language, African American Studies, and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Penn State, talks about deeper self-love and self-care

Book Contract

  • Northwestern University Press Book Contract - Click Here

Guest Contributors

  • Isaiah Wooden, Dr. Shondrika Moss-Bouldin , Devair Jeffries, LaDonna Forsgren, Alysha Griffin, Jocelyn Prince, Megan Sandberg-Zakian, Tavia La Follette, PhD, Rhone Fraser, PhD

Creative Work: Anthology Lead Editor

Scholarly Equivalency - Refereed Article

Hart's Contribution as Anthology Lead Editor

As conceived, the anthology, "Staging Lydia: Directing, Dramaturgy and Design in the plays of Lydia Diamond", will place notable African American playwright, Lydia Diamond’s 20 year career and contribution to the American theatre cannon in both artistic and scholarly context. To date there has not been a comprehensive examination of Miss Diamond's body of work.

I created a book proposal and submitted it to Northwestern Press. After review of the proposal the editorial team offered me a contract with the intent to have the manuscript vetted via their peer review process and upon successful peer review, ultimately they would publish the book.

The volume will cover Diamond’s major plays, academic, regional and Broadway productions, her evolution as a playwright and the artistic collaborations that have significantly shaped her voice as a playwright. The anthology will display Diamond’s fearlessness in addressing the intersection of race, class and gender and unapologetically speaking truth to power in America today.

The anthology combines interests in American Theatre, Dramatic Literature, Criticism and Theory, Performance Studies, Playwriting, African American Studies, and Women Studies.

Creative Work: Co-author of Chapter in a Refereed Book

Scholarly Equivalency - Refereed Article

Hart's Contribution at Co-author of a Chapter in a Refereed Book

Chapter submission for The Routledge Companion to African American Theatre and Performance Edited by Kathy A. Perkins, Sandra L. Richards, Renée Alexander Craft and Thomas F. DeFrantz

The Routledge Companion to African American Theatre and Performance is an outstanding collection of specially written essays that charts the emergence, development, and diversity of African-American Theatre and Performance.

I responded to a CFP and submitted an abstract. The abstract and proposal were accepted for inclusion in the anthology. The writing and review process consisted of several rounds of peer review with edits requested. My co-written chapter will appear alongside chapters from other scholar and contributions from theatre-makers, including producers, theatre managers, choreographers, directors, designers, and critics.

This book engages a wide audience of scholars, students, and theatre practitioners with its unprecedented breadth. More than anything, these invaluable insights not only offer a window onto the processes of producing work, but the labour and economic issues that have shaped and enabled African American theatre.

Book Contract - Click Here

Production Details

    • Hart's Role: Playwright
    • Play: August on My Mind
    • Producer: The Children's Theatre Workshop
    • Location: Washington DC
    • Rehearsal Dates: June 19-21, 2017
    • Production Dates: July 21-22, 2017
    • Copyright registered: April 2010

Production Materials

Creative Work: Playwright

Scholarly Equivalency - Refereed Article

Hart's Contribution as Playwright

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 "August on My Mind: the Musical Story of One Man's Legacy" was inspired by the impact playwright August Wilson has had on my career as a playwright and dramaturge. I wanted to share his legacy with young people so they too could be inspired and learn to think outside of the box. 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.

As playwright my contributions made to achieve the goals of creating a production reflecting artistic and commercial merit for "August on My Mind" 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


Creative Work: Symposium Coordinator

Scholarly Equivalency - Refereed Article

Hart's Contribution as Symposium Coordinator

I designed this symposium to support the development of the anthology, Staging Lydia: Directing, Dramaturgy and Design in the plays of Lydia Diamond, which will place notable African American playwright, Lydia Diamond’s 20 year career and contribution to the American theatre cannon in both artistic and scholarly context. To date there hasn't been a comprehensive examination of Miss Diamond's body of work.

The guest authors were invited to present their initial research for their assigned chapter. Additionally, as symposium coordinator I was mindful to implement my vision/ concept with the intent to:

  • Curate the submitted research papers
  • Create the event agenda
  • Market the event
  • Determine the best use of the event space
  • Conducting meetings with the production team to review technical requirements and the production agenda
  • Host the symposium

Event Details

    • Hart's Role: Symposium Coordinator
    • Event: Staging Lydia: Dramaturgy, Directing and Design in the Plays of Lydia Diamond
    • Producer: Howard University Department of Theatre Arts
    • Location: Environmental Theatre Space, Washington DC
    • Event Date: April 22, 2017

Guest presenters

  • Lydia Diamond
  • Dr. Shondrika Moss-Bouldin
  • Alysha Grifien
  • Jocelyn Prince
  • Megan Sandberg-Zakian
  • Denise J. Hart
  • Tavia La Follette, PhD
  • Rhone Fraser, PhD


Production Details

    • Hart's Role: Production Director
    • Play: Torn Asunder
    • Producer: Howard University Department of Theatre Arts
    • Location: Environmental Theatre Space, Washington DC
    • Rehearsal Dates: November 15-17, 2017
    • Production Dates: November 18, 2017


Production Materials


Photos Below: the production

Creative Activity: Play Development Dramaturge/Director

Scholarly Equivalency - General Article

Hart's Contribution as Play Development Dramaturge/Director


Torn Asunder received its world premier at St. Louis Black Rep in April 2018.

In an educational environment in my role as play development dramaturge for a staged reading I supported the playwright with script development (rewrites) and helped to showcase the work with the intent of securing a producer and/or investors. In a staged reading, the theatre director’s role during a short rehearsal process, is to lead a team of actors to create a production that does not utilize extensive design elements. Instead, the production focuses on the language, impact and themes in the play.

Additionally, directing a staged reading 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. Hart's directing approach is discovery and process focused while achieving necessary milestones that result in a production worthy of public viewing.

My directorial and dramaturgical contributions made to achieve the goals of supporting the playwright with script development and/or to showcase the work with the intent of securing a producer and/or investors for "Torn Asunder" include:

    • Training students in fundamental theatre/directing techniques
    • Guidance and instruction of professional industry standards and protocol
    • Ethnological and Anthropological research
    • Dialogue with playwright regarding making edits to the play
    • Determine the best use of the theatre space
    • 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 to achieve their individual goals
    • Conduct rehearsals to construct minimal 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 minimal design decisions
    • Collaborate with the marketing and PR team
Pre-show Audience
Hart and the acting company
Actors rehearsing
Actress rehearsing

Creative Work: Guest Virtual Director

Scholarly Equivalency - General Article

Hart's Contribution as Guest Virtual Director

  • Served as guest director for Professor Alison Dobbins, Head of Design and Technology, graduate projection design students project at Michigan State University.
  • Graduate projection design students prepared design concepts for the play Goblin Market. I facilitated two virtual meetings for review of the students work. Provided feedback, asked for clarification and gave them my honest opinion regarding their ability to respond to my directors concept. Provided written evaluation regarding the workable nature of the student designers ideas. Evaluation was based on: Do their ideas fit with the themes and ideas I would have for the show. Am I excited by their ideas. What works for me and what doesn't work for me as a director. Provide feedback regarding the students ability to communicate as designers .

Creative Work Roundtable Panelist

Scholarly Equivalency - General Article

Hart's Contribution as Panelist Participant

  • Presenter: "Approaches to Teaching the Plays of August Wilson" August Wilson Conference held at Howard University October 6-8, 2016

Creative Work: Panel Moderator

Scholarly Equivalency - General Article

Hart's Contribution as Panel Moderator

  • Panel Moderator: "A Philosophical System at Work: Music and Religion as Cultural Expression in August Wilson's Plays" August Wilson Conference held at Howard University October 6-8, 2016

Creative Work: Presenter

Scholarly Equivalency - General Article

Presenter: "Risk Reward & Retribution: Smart People Confronting and Navigating Systemic Racism" Lydia Diamond Symposium held at Howard University April 22, 2017