The Theatre for Social Justice major trains students to take theatre and the fine arts beyond the stage and into the local community to address issues of injustice. Students work on three productions a year, both onstage as performers and backstage as crew members, in Cove Auditorium. They also create original theatre works, combining creative writing, music, dance, and storytelling, and activate their art and faith through social justice theatre techniques based in Augusto Boal, playback theatre, and story circle. Students with a Theatre for Social Justice degree are prepared to go into any field and offer their unique skills as an arts advocate or pursue a career in the professional theatre, both on and off stage.
Beauty and the Beast, 2018-19 Season
Eastern Nazarene College is the only Christian college to offer a major that teaches students to activate their faith by going into communities, hearing their stories, and helping them communicate through the arts -truly engaging with those who need a voice in society. This major also teaches acting, directing, and technical theatre skills, providing students with many opportunities to put their training into practice in live productions over the course of their four years. The Theater for Social Justice major is perfect for students who are passionate about the arts and interested in a career in either an arts or non-arts field. Theatre for Social Justice majors are required to choose a second major so they will be prepared to take either path upon graduation from the program.
Resources of Boston and Beyond
Romeo and Juliet, 2018-19 Season
Boston has many theatre companies that are looking for young talent to work onstage, backstage, and in audience outreach. Students have ample opportunities to build connections and intern with local arts organizations and theatre companies while they are studying at Eastern Nazarene College, helping them gain experience and develop their resumes before they graduate. The college is especially proud of its partnership with South Shore School of Theatre (SSST), a Quincy-based children’s theater school that offers classes year-round for students ages 7-19. Many students are offered internships or summer employment with SSST, working as stage managers, administrators, costume designers, technical crew members and more. The college recently developed a special partnership with True Story Theatre, a playback theatre company that performs true community stories and holds auditions for paid performers. These are just two of the many relationships the Theatre for Social Justice Program has with local organizations to provide students with professional experience in the arts.
Recognized for Excellence
Anne of Green Gables, 2017-18 Season
The Theatre for Social Justice Program is the creator of The Bible Women’s Project, an original play about women in the Bible and true stories of contemporary Christian women. The play was an official selection of the New York International Fringe Festival in 2016 and now tours churches around the U.S. and Canada. The Theatre for Social Justice Program was a recipient of the Moss Hart Award for Best College Production and has been recognized by local theatre companies like True Story Theatre, Sleeping Weazel, and the Huntington Theatre Company. Creator and Program Director Tara Brooke Watkins has won Boston’s Elliot Norton Award for Best Production (Small/Fringe Theatre) and has written and created the play Tulsa ’21: Black Wall Street which tours in Oklahoma and is being considered for an off-Broadway run. Watkins also runs the Shatter the Silence ministry at Bethel AME Church that addresses sexual victimization through theatre and story circle techniques.
Rooted in Faith
The Theatre for Social Justice is rooted in the belief that by following Christ’s example of sitting with and getting to know those outside of our comfort zone, we bring the love of Christ to them. Like Christ, we use our gifts to go into communities that feel invisible, listen to them, and bring their message back to others so that they may know how to benefit those who are suffering. We do this through the all of the art forms.