2018/2019

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: Scholar Presenter & Presentation/Writing Coach
  • Event: Blackademics TV PBS Taping
  • Producer: Blackademics TV & KLRU-TV
  • Location: KLRU-TV, Austin Texas
  • Prep work with Scholars: Nov. 2018-Feb. 2019
  • Rehearsal Date: February 19, 2019
  • Taping Date: February 19, 2019

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 sixth year, the series features dynamic and informative scholars sharing their research from a wide range of academic, activist and creative backgrounds.

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.

Link to Watch Episode

Click Here

Creative Work: Scholar Presenter & Presentation/Writing Coach

Scholarly Equivalency - Book

Hart's Contribution as a Scholar Presenter & Presentation/Writing Coach

Blackademics TV is a unique opportunity for me to utilize my expertise as a researcher, 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 sixth 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 and brand 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 as a coach 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 season 2019 the scholars I supported included: senior reporter for The Root, Terrell Starr; Terri Givens a leading researcher on race, politics and immigration policy and Dr. Mohan Ambikaipaker a professor of critical race theory.

Through my work as a scholar coach I help shape the advancement of scholarly and public discourse on a wide variety of research subjects.

Hart's Contribution as a Presenter

This year I also presented my current research. My presentation was an extension of my research entitled "Beyond Respectability Politics: a 108 year history of black theatre at Howard University." For my 8 minute segment I focused on the historic necessity of HBCU's and the impact of their great legacy on the world. The episode will air on PBS in July 2019.


Denise J. Hart is an Associate Professor of playwriting and dramaturgy in the Department of Theatre Arts at Howard University. Her research spans the works of August Wilson, Lydia Diamond and the 108 year history of Black Theatre on the campus of Howard University. She also serves as the managing editor of Continuum: The Journal of Black Drama, Theatre and Performance.

Journalist and political commentator Terrell Starr's experiences as an African American living in the former Soviet Union provides him a unique perspective on U.S.-Russian politics, as well on race relations in the U.S. Starr is a Fulbright fellow and senior reporter for The Root and has also published articles in the N.Y. Times, Washington Post and other major news outlets.

Dr. Terri Givens is a leading researcher and commentator on race, politics an immigration policy in Europe. Her single author and co-authored books include: Voting Radical Right in Western Europe (2012); Immigrant Politics: Race and Representation in Western Europe (2012); and Immigration Policy and Security (2008). Her most recent book is Legislating Equality: The Politics of Antidiscrimination Policy in Europe (Oxford University Press, 2014).

Dr. Mohan Ambikaipaker is an Associate Professor of critical race theory and postcolonial studies in the Department of Communication at Tulane University. His research spans Britain, the US, and Malaysia and has been published in several journals, including Postcolonial Studies, Ethnic and Racial Studies and Communication, and Culture & Critique.

Creative Work: Visiting Professor & Production Director

Scholarly Equivalency - Book

Hart's Contribution as Visiting Professor & Production Director

In my role as visiting professor & production director in an educational environment I led the play production 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.

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

        • Training students in advanced theatre/directing techniques
        • Over the course of 6 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

Production Details

    • Hart's Role: Production Director/Visiting Professor
    • Play: Stick Fly by Lydia Diamond
    • Producer: Department of Theatre, Film & Media Studies
    • Location: Bruce David Theatre
    • Rehearsal Dates: 3/4-4/16
    • Production Dates: 4/17-4/21

Production Materials

Visiting Professor - Course Taught

    • Topics in Production: Dramaturgy and Analysis of the Plays of August Wilson

Production photos below
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Creative Work: Production Director & Dramaturge

Scholarly Equivalency - Refereed Article

Hart's Contribution as Production Director

In my role as production 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.

My directorial contributions made to achieve the goals of creating a production reflecting artistic and commercial merit for "Milk Like Sugar" 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

Hart's Contribution as Production Dramaturge

In my role as production dramaturge in an educational environment I am supporting and enhancing the work of the director and production team in creating a production of artistic and commercial merit. The production dramaturge helps the director and production team unpack the play and discover the multiple layers of meaning and value in the text and in the visual, aural and physical atmosphere of the play. This is accomplished by conducting thorough research to create a dramaturgy resource packet that examine and articulate the inner structure of the play.

During early rehearsals the dramaturge is able to present critical observations and pose thought provoking questions; all of which position the production team to conduct rich and meaningful table work and engage in a productive on-your-feet rehearsal process. The work of the dramaturge empowers collaborators to make informed performance and design choices and enriches audience engagement.

Typically, early in the rehearsal phase the dramaturge supports the production team by presenting an overview of process and materials approved by the director, regarding how to best use the production resource book for a specific production. However, in this situation since I was also the production director, I spent the early rehearsals (9 hours) presenting the dramaturgical research to the actors to share my concept and to explore the 'drivers' in the play - images, events, patterns, words, memories, ritual, etc. For most of the cast members this was the first time they had ever received and learned how to use a dramaturgy resource packet to support their acting process. In fact, one of the cast members asked me who created the packet because she found it to be very thorough and helpful.

Ultimately, the contributions of the dramaturge deepen the actors' understanding of the world of the play and supports the presentation of a production worthy of public viewing.

My dramaturgical contributions made to achieve the goals of creating a production reflecting artistic and commercial merit for "Milk Like Sugar" include:

      • Researched the playwright's impetus for writing the play and to learn any other relevant information
      • Analyze the play and conduct thorough research on time period, styles, themes, location, language, etc.
      • Conduct approximately 125 hours of research along with creation of the dramaturgy resource packet
      • Ethnological and Anthropological research
      • Articulate the inner structure of the play and present critical observations to cast/design team
      • Posed thought provoking questions to the cast
      • Provide thorough research to support 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
      • Collaborate with the marketing and PR team

Production Details

    • Hart's Role: Production Director & Dramaturge
    • Play: Milk Like Sugar by Kirsten Greenidge
    • Producer: Howard University Department of Theatre Arts
    • Location: Ira Aldridge Theatre
    • Rehearsal Dates: 9/17-10/30-2018
    • Production Dates: 10/31-11/3-2018

Production Materials

Dramaturgy Research Materials

Event Details

  • Hart's Role: Archival Research Presenter
  • Event: 2018 Black Theatre Network Conference
  • Producer: Black Theatre Network
  • Location: Memphis TN
  • Dates: July 26-30 , 2018

Event Description

BTN conference is an annual conference which serve as a national forum for the exchange of ideas between professionals, educators and students of Black Theatre.

Archive Research Resources

  • Production programs (in DOTA from 1983-2018)
  • Production Posters (in DOTA) hanging in DOTA office and IRA Aldridge Theatre lobby
  • Departmental Annual Reports - from Department of Theatre and Department of English (1933 – 2017)
  • Howard University Bison Yearbooks (1911 – 2018)
  • College of Arts and Sciences/Division of Fine Arts Annual Reports (fall 1997 – current)
  • College of Fine Arts Annual Reports (fall1960 – spring 1997 )
  • College of Liberal Arts Annual Reports (spring 1958 - 1933)
  • Moorland Spingarn Collection - Howard Players boxes 42, 43, 44
  • Moorland Spingarn Collection - Montgomery Gregory boxes
  • Howard University Journal (weekly publication) – digital collection (November 1903 – October 1917)
  • HU Record – digital collection
  • Channing Pollock Collection in the Howard University Library
  • Sorrow is the Only Faithful One: Owen Dodson biography by James Hatch
  • The New Negro – Alain Locke biography by Jeffrey C. Stewart
  • Shakespeare Visits the Hilltop: Classical Drama and the Howard College Dramatic Club by Marvin McAllister
  • Howard University: A History 1867 – 1940 by Walter Dyson
  • African American Theatre – A Historical and Critical Analysis by Samuel A. Hay
  • Survey Graphic March 1925 – Enter the New Negro by Alain Locke
  • Crisis Magazines – articles by Willis Richardson, Alain Locke, W. E. B. DuBois, Montgomery Gregory
  • 1949 Negro History Bulletin published by Association for the study of African American Life and History - “Negro Little Theatre Movement” article by S. Randolph Edmonds
  • Interviews with former students/former faculty: Greg Holtz (77), Myreah Moore (80), Ralph Remington (84), Richard Wesley (67), Cynthia Smith (90), Kent Jackson (78), Kelsey Collie (faculty), Clinton Carbon (78), Carole Singleton (former faculty), Vera J. Katz (former faculty)

Creative Work: Archival Research Presentation

Scholarly Equivalency - General Article

Hart's Contribution as Archival Research Presenter

Inherent in the field of dramaturgy, specifically public-dramaturgy and literary management is the awareness of writing trends and the ability to find and articulate the narrative within the context of a season or a specific time period. My archival research project, "Beyond Respectability Politics: The Evolution of Black Theatre at Howard University," is situated in uncovering the narrative found in examining the production history of black theatre on the campus of Howard University.

Presently the heart of the research is the creation of the 108 year production history of theatre production on the campus of Howard University and the student drama organization The Howard Players role in the evolution of theatre at Howard. This phase of the research was compiled using the resources documented in the left sidebar.

For the delivery of the presentation of my research at the 2018 Black Theatre Network Conference I utilized my expertise in public-focused dramaturgy. Public-focused dramaturgical efforts function to contextualize and offer frameworks for interpretation, critique and analysis. I created and executed a slide presentation that moved the audience through select time periods in the 108 year production history oftentimes sharing information that had not been previously shared publicly. I also posed questions to the audience inviting them to critique their perspectives on the evolution of black theatre, as well as shared the ongoing questions I seek to answer as I continue to conduct my research.

To view the presentation - Click Here

This research will be of significant value to other scholars doing research on: Black Theatre, The Howard Players, Theatre in Wasington DC, History of Howard University, Playwrights of the Black Arts Movement and Black Women Playwrights, among others.

In addition, this research will aide the Department of Theatre Arts at Howard University with defining its vision, mission and goals for the next 100+ years.

It will also be of value to theatre scholars who are researching and writing about the progression of the black theatre agenda (in academia and in the US) from the 1900’s through today.

My initial narrative is exploring the double edged sword of respectability and how a practice deemed necessary for social, political and economic survival had a profound impact on the presentation of blackness on stages at the academic, local and national levels.

The framework of my argument is found in the "Art Theatre (Locke) vs. Propaganda/Political Theatre (Dubois)" debate.

Professor of Howard University and key advisor during the inception years of the Howard Players, Alain LeRoy Locke, held the philosophy that the value of black theatre should focus on "Art Theatre" or “Negro theatre distinguished from the idea of race or political drama”. In contrast, Locke's intellectual counterpart, W. E. B. DuBois, held the philosophy that black theatre should be "Propaganda/Political Theatre" or “All art is propaganda and ever must be, despite the wailing of the purists”.

Both men sought to control the evolution of black theatre from approximately 1916 - 1926 and their divergent philosophies continue to impact black theatre playmaking and production through today.

My goal is to examine the 108 year production history of theatre at Howard University and determine the evolution of both philosophies within theatre produced on the campus.

The eventual outcome of the research project will be a published book.

My research contributions made to achieve the goals of developing an archival research project reflecting scholarly merit for "Beyond Respectability Politics" include:

    • Conduct approximately 2200 hours of research using in person archival research centers and online materials
    • Correspond with and conduct personal interviews with former students and faculty from the Howard University Department of Theatre Arts
    • Catalogue and organize research materials
    • Compile 108 years of theatre production on the campus of Howard University from 1909 - 1918
    • Analyze the 108 year theatre production history for trends and an over arching narrative

Creative Work: Guest Instructor

Scholarly Equivalency - General Article

    • Guest Acting Instructor Stanislavski Techniques Character Development- 4 week Master Class at McKinnon Acting Studio (11/12/18 - 12/7/18)
    • Guest Acting Instructor Improvisation Techniques - 4 week Master Class at McKinnon Acting Studio (2/4/19 - 2/28/19)