Undergraduate Studies
Undergraduate Studies
Theatre for Social Justice

Theatre for Social Justice

There is a world of possibilities open to students with a Theatre for Social Justice degree, both in arts and non-arts related fields. What all graduates share is a passion for the arts and a desire to make an impact for good in society.


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.

Theater Eastern Nazarene College

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

Theater Eastern Nazarene College

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

Theater Eastern Nazarene College

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.

Career Paths

Many students choose to go on to graduate programs to study theatre education (Emerson College), Arts Therapy (Lesley University, Antioch University), Directing (New York University), Costume Design (University of Kansas City), Acting (University of San Diego), Literature (Southern New Hampshire University), or Theatre History and Performance (Tufts University). Also, 100% of the graduates who applied for Emerson College’s Master’s in Theatre Education program since 2010 received a 75% tuition coverage scholarship, the highest amount a student may receive at that institution. Those students have all gone on to pursue doctorate degrees or are currently employed in their chosen fields.  

Graduates who have chosen to go directly into the workforce in the Boston area have been hired by Riverside Theatre Works (Artistic Director, Instructor); Huntington Theatre Company (Box Office Manager); Wheelock Family Theatre, Speakeasy Stage Company, Company One Theatre, Sleeping Weazel Theatre (Actor); Mel O’Drama (Stage Manager, Lighting Designer, Set Designer); Notre Dame Academy, Woodward School for Girls, Nazarene Christian Academy, South Shore Christian Academy (Drama Teacher). Others who have branched out beyond Boston have worked or are working in companies like American Academy of Dramatic Arts, New York Film Academy, LaMaMa New York Playhouse, Blue Man Group, Nashville Shakespeare Festival, War Horse (Broadway), Seattle Theatre Group, Atlanta Murder Mystery Theatre, and various international touring companies 

Finally, other graduates follow their entrepreneurial spirit and open their own arts companies or non-profit organizations. These include South Shore School of Theatre (Massachusetts), Pariah Theatre Company (Massachusetts), Bodhi Theatre Company (Missouri), No Edge Christian Artist Co-Op (New Hampshire), Marvy Entertainment (Florida), Ragnarok Productions (Massachusetts), and Kate Drew This Art Company (New Hampshire).

Graduates also work in non-theatrical fields, including graphic design, education, law, youth ministry, social work, event planning, and library science. 

Theatre for Social Justice Course Descriptions
  • Introduction to Theatre for Social Justice – explores theories, plays and history of the practice including Bertolt Brecht, Augusto Boal, Robbie McCauley, Tectonic Theatre Project, True Story Theatre, and Anna Deavere Smith. Students will learn what theatre for social justice is, how it has historically affected community and society, and will begin to discover how to identify the marginalized peoples in a society and use theatre to address their stories.  
  • Applied Theatre teaches the practices and methodologies of applied theatre and brings students into a local community to practice those skills. Students will spend one day a week in the local community and one day in class practicing applied theatre techniques. In 2019, students worked with guests at Father Bill’s Place, a local homeless shelter. Provides students with the toolkit to apply theatre exercises in a classroom setting, youth ministry, church, non-profit, mission field, academia, business, and more. Exercises include story circles, tableau work, playmaking, theatre game adaptations, forum theatre, visual art and writing integration, invisible theatre. This class may act as prerequisite requirement to TJ 290. 
  • TFSJ Project – Development and/or participation in bi-annual Applied Theatre or Devising Theatre production. Every other year, students will create an original theatre piece based on their community engagement work the previous semester in Applied Theatre and Devising Theatre. This piece will be performed in the February production slot of the main stage season. Prerequisite: TJ 110 or TJ 201 
  • Activism on Stage – a dramatic literature and history class. Students look at various pieces of theatre throughout politically significant time periods, asking about how historical moments become archived through theatre, how history and politics influences theatre artists, and how theatre helps us better understand the social milieus of politically fraught times. Artists looked at include: Strindberg and Ibsen, Brecht, Hansberry, Parks, Kennedy, Euripides, Shaw, and Kente 
  • Arts Management – this class teaches students the basics of how to run an arts program, business, or non-profit. Students will study various types of arts programs including academic institutions, church ministries, departments in a business, arts schools for children, non-profit organizations with arts programs. Students will practice and learn about grant writing and funding, marketing, CORI and SORI state requirements, and more.   
  • Directing and Teaching Theatre – this class focuses on how to take as script and bring it to life on stage. What terms do directors use? How does one create cohesion amongst disparate groups of people to make a production work? How do teachers get funding to make theatre, or how to they make theatre without funding? This class culminates in a showcase of student-directed scenes.  
  • Voice and Speech – this class allows students the opportunity to practice public speaking in formal, non-formal, and educational formats. Students will be asked to deliver a written podium speech of persuasion, speak “off-the-cuff” with passion, and teach or preach about a topic of the student’s choosing. In addition to these public speaking skills, students will learn how the voice works and ways of training the voice and body to practice ongoing vocal health.  
  • Tech Theatre Practices – Explores the tools, methods and materials used behind the scenes in theatrical production. Emphasizes theatre safety, set construction, and stage management. Students design individual projects and gain invaluable hands-on experience working on an ENC production. Production lab hours are required.  
  • Acting – Works through acting skills, styles, theories, and terminology. Students will engage in healthy voice and body study while learning professional performance and audition techniques such as scene study, monologue development, and musical theatre dance. Students will also be introduced to various acting methods from Stanislavski’s system and Strasberg’s method to Grotowski’s poor theatre and Suzuki’s physical theatre.   
  • Drama Therapy – this class teaches the methods and skills required to go into the field of drama therapy, a growing field in schools and social work. Students will learn about various social and mental health struggles that families face and practice drama techniques that aid in daily management. These may range from ADHD, to autism, to depression.   
  • Devising Theatre – How do you help a group of people create scenes, write monologues and poetry, express themselves in movement and song? How do you put an original play together based on people’s stories, original writing, with music and dance? This class answers these questions through practice and reading of social justice plays using documentary theatre and applied theatre practices. This class may act as prerequisite requirement to TJ 290  
  • Multi-Cultural Drama — All cultures have theatre and all cultures use theatre differently. This course seeks to expose students to cultural dramatic practices and dramas of non-white cultures. It will demonstrate differences between cultures in language, perspectives, religion, political climate, and general use of theatre and dramatic structure. Cultures highlighted include: Chinese, Japanese, Indian, South African, Arabian, Nigerian, Latin-American, African-American. Through drama, we can learn about a culture’s history and practices, preparing us to empathize and work more closely through missions. (This class satisfies the CP 245 Gen Ed requirement)  
  • Dance, Art and Poetry – Not everyone will be comfortable getting up on stage and performing! Some people speak silently. This class offers basic training in dance, visual art, and poetry practices so that theatre artists have the ability to speak the silent languages of other artistic practices. (This class satisfies the CP 235 Gen Ed requirement) 
  • Production Practicum – Involvement on stage or off stage in an ENC theatre production. Majors must participate in at least one production per year either on stage or off-stage in a leadership technical role. Majors who wish to focus on performance and production are encouraged to participate in all productions offered each year.  
  • Theatre in CommunityThis class is the final culminating class for TFSJ majors. This class asks students to identify and define a community they feel called to work in and put to use all the skills they have gained as a theatre artist thus far to present a final project with this community. addresses how to work within a community as a theatre artist. This prepares students to go beyond the college to work within that community as a theatre artist or arts advocate. Asks students to explore God’s calling and placement of talent and ask how this can be used. Broadens the definitions of arts, community and social justice.  
Current Productions

Theatre for Social Justice Eastern Nazarene College
The Father Bill’s Play
February 13-15, 7:30 PM

Box Office: 617-745-3715
Online: Brown Paper Tickets.

TICKETS: $10 Adults, $8 Seniors/Non-ENC students, $8 ENC Staff/Faculty, $5 ENC students

In the spring of 2019, the Theatre for Social Justice students at Eastern Nazarene College visited Quincy’s local homeless shelter, Father Bill’s Place, weekly to hear stories of any guest who wanted to share. The students engaged in theatre activities, story circles, and writing exercises alongside the guests. In the fall of 2019, the students reconvened to write a play about the guests’ stories. This is the first original play of the Theatre for Social Justice program. THE FATHER BILL’S PLAY juxtaposes the life of homeless Quincy residence alongside stories of college students’ fears, Christian duty, and the housing boom in the Boston area. All stories are true.

Advance ticket sales are available online through Brown Paper Tickets here or by calling the Eastern Nazarene College Box Office at 617-745-3715. Tickets may also be purchased at the theater before the show.

Please bring a pair of new socks or other warm clothing items for donation. This show contains strong language and may not be appropriate for children under 13.


Past Productions

1776 (revival/tour)

Man of La Mancha

Fiddler on the Roof
The Glass Menagerie

Androcles and the Lion

Pacific Overtures
Franny and Zooey
The Good Doctor
Zoo Story

Playboy of the Western World

The Pirates of Penzance
Good News Musicals
The Apollo of Bellac

The Odyssey

Peter Pan
Wormwood’s World
The Effect of Gamma Rays
The Fantasticks!

The Sound of Music
The Singer
The Tempest
The Marvelous Machine

My Fair Lady
Philemon J.B.
The Selfish Giant

You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown
The Song
A Light Shining in the Wilderness
The Trojan Women
Front Porch Resonance

Fiddler on the Roof
The Birds
How Absurd

The Mikado
The Velveteen Rabbit
The Imaginary Invalid
Traveler in the Dark

The Music Man
Dreams of Power and Passion Poetry in Motion
The Madwoman of Chaillot

Big River
St. John’s Gospel
Grand Central Broadway
Our Town
Rindercella and The Twisted Sisters

Children of Eden
Early One Morning
Robin Hood: The Panto
The Nerd
Celebration of the Lively Arts

Steel Magnolias
Great Expectations
Sticks and Stones

Man of LaMancha
The Caucasian Chalk Circle
Elvis, a Harley and a Nun

Annie Warbucks
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Conversations with a Tramp
The Boys Next Door

Into the Woods
The Real Inspector Hound
The Actor’s Nightmare
Marvin’s Room

Complete Works of William Shakespeare- Abridged!
The Mysteries-Creation and Beyond
The Fantasticks!

The Pirates of Penzance
Living in Exile
Drama Ministry Festival
You Can’t Take It With You
The Odd Couple – Female

West Side Story
Spoon River Anthology
The King Stag
25th Anniversary Celebration

Kiss Me, Kate
All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
The Crucible
Androcles and the Lion

Songs for a New World
The Importance of Being Earnest

The Sound of Music
The Skin of Our Teeth

Guys and Dolls
Alice In Wonderland
The Diary of Anne Frank

Music Man
An Evening With David Ives
Twelfth Night

The Wizard of Oz
Blue Light and Other Stories
Twilight Los Angeles, 1992

The Other Shore
The Miracle Worker

You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown
A Shayna Maidel
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

And Then There Were None
Twelve Angry Jurors

Once On this Island
A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Seussical the Musical
The Glass Menagerie
Doctor Faustus

Little Women
Stories of God
Painting Churches

Bye Bye Birdie!
A Raisin in the Sun

Hello Dolly!
James and the Giant Peach

Doubt: A Parable
The Bible Women’s Project

The Bible Women’s Project (revival/tour)
Ti-Jean and His Brothers
Tartuffe and All That Jazz

The Wiz!
An Absurd Night
The Watsons go to Birmingham, 1963

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Mother Courage and her Children
Anne of Green Gables

Beauty and the Beast
The Laramie Project

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Tara Brooke Watkins

Assistant Professor



Cove Auditorium

Now Playing

The Father Bill's Play
February 13-15, 7:30 PM
Box Office: 617-745-3715

Get Tickets

3 Major Productions Annually

Musicals, Dramas & Original Works

Why students love Theatre for Social Justice

Social justice is so important in our world. With this program, faculty and students are able to affect change, improving the lives of others. With the Theatre for Social Justice Program, I am encouraged to explore my passions for both acting and justice under the guidance of Tara Brooke Watkins. This program allows me to do what gives me joy while spreading joy to others.”

Katie Whalen '22
Hometown: Toms River, New Jersey

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23 East Elm Avenue, Quincy, MA 02170 (617) 745-3000

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