augusta free press news

W&L hosts 15th National Symposium of Theater and Performance Arts in Academe

Washington and Lee UniversityWashington and Lee University will welcome scholars and artists from across the country to its 15th National Symposium of Theater and Performance Arts in Academe on April 1-2.

This year’s symposium is part of the yearlong celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) program.

“Theater and Social Change: Gender, Race and Identity,” was organized by Domnica Radulescu, founding director of the symposium and the Edwin A. Morris Professor of Comparative Literature at W&L, and Sandhya Narayanan, visiting assistant professor of sociology and anthropology at W&L. Events will occur both in-person and online.

The general public can watch all of the symposium’s presentations and performances on livestream at

“The themes and scope of the presentations focusing on issues of social and environmental justice, trauma and healing are particularly relevant at the present historical moment given the dystopian and tragic dimensions of this past year,” said Radulescu. “We continue to believe that the theater arts offer strategies of transformation and healing and can initiate and inspire to social change.”

The first day includes an opening address by Lena Hill, dean of the college, followed by a presentation titled “The Power of the Play: Promoting Equity and Health Education through Community-Based Theatre,” from Jeffrey Pufhal, a lecturer from the University of Florida Center for Arts in Medicine.

Later that day, Cristina Bejan, professor of history at the Metropolitan State University of Denver, and James Brunt, actor and poet-spoken word artist from Denver, Colorado, will present “The Scholarship,” a protest play inspired by the Black Lives Matter and the Rhodes Must Fall movements. Renowned French-Canadian playwright, editor and director, Jennifer Tremblay will also present a reading and discussion of three feminist plays titled “Carousel of Women’s Voices.”

Day two will feature multiple presentations and performances, including “Unpack,” a memory play presentation and interactive workshop by Catalina Florescu, an English and modern language studies professor from Pace University.

Presentations by W&L community members are planned throughout the two-day event, including:

  • “‘Chez moi:’ Testimonies of Questioning Belonging,” a documentary film presentation by Celine Okome ’21.
  • Radulescu will present a performance of scenes and monologues about trauma and healing from her co-authored play “The Earth is Speaking.”
  • Stephanie Sandberg, assistant professor of theater at W&L, will perform a staged reading from her work “The Violence That Binds Us: Stories of Domestic Abuse Survivors.”
  • Mohamed Kamara, associate professor of French and Africana Studies at W&L, will give a public reading of the play “When Mosquitos Come Marching in,” a work directed and curated by Michael Hill, professor of English and Africana Studies at W&L.

The symposium is supported by funds from the Office of the Dean of the College, the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, and the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

augusta free press
augusta free press