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Equity and Inclusivity Commitment Statement

The Department of Drama and Dance Program at the University of Virginia condemns prejudice, discrimination, and oppression in all its forms. We recognize that the history of higher education and that of the American theater are rooted in white supremacy, colonialism, patriarchy, and ableism, and that our department has participated in upholding these standards. We commit to working to repair and reverse the effects of these harmful systems. We commit to maintaining classrooms, shops, studios, and theaters that are equitable and welcoming to all. We commit to producing and teaching content that reflects the diversity of our students and our community. We commit to reforming policies and procedures that cause harm and inequity. We commit to continuing to educate ourselves and learning from our communities. This statement is meant to be reflective and to hold us accountable, and it is in constant iterative refinement as we grow and change together.

2022-2023 Academic year

As a department we have...

  • Provided ongoing antiracism training for faculty and staff.
  • Formed an Equity Committee comprised of students, faculty, and staff with the charge of fostering an equitable environment for education, creative practice, and research.
  • Included student representation on the season selection committee.
  • Revised the BA curriculum in Drama and Dance to encourage work across a diverse range of artistic and scholarly methods.
  • Hosted a department-wide town hall and social gatherings each semester to foster inclusivity, transparency, and community. 
  • Hosted social events, such as karaoke and cornhole tournaments, to continue making our building an inclusive space to engage in play, creativity, and fun.

In production, we have...

  •  Revised the costume measurement process to be inclusive of student performers’ size, shape, gender diversity, right to bodily expression, and autonomy. 
  •  Assessed and revised production processes and schedules to promote equity, especially around time commitments.
  •  Provided production companies with contextual research and opportunities for discussion about issues such as representations of BIPOC cultures, sexuality, race, gender, privilege, bias, etc. when relevant/appropriate.
  •  Engaged dramaturgs and consulted external UVA faculty, student, and community groups when relevant/appropriate         .

In the next 1-2 years

The UVA Department of Drama has set the following goals to be addressed in the next one to two academic years

  •  The Equity Committee will conduct and record focus group feedback from BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ students and alumni.
  •  The Equity Committee will review, revise, and draft new department onboarding strategies to create more transparent, accessible, and welcoming practices for new (and existing) community members.
  •  Encourage faculty to re-examine and/or re-design their course content to reflect the diversity of our community more accurately.
  •  Refocus social media and website messaging to be more inclusive and transparent.
  •  Standardize a community agreement for cast, designers, and crew to engage with at the beginning of each production.
  •  Gather input on best practices for student participants in productions to ensure that they are reasonable and equitable. 
  •  Develop a reading series of plays under consideration for the following academic year to provide meaningful opportunity for our community to engage with the material. 
  •  Hold audience talkbacks to address timely and sensitive issues represented in plays.


UVA’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion