2018 Black Theatre & Dance Symposium

Embracing Inclusion and Diversity in American Theatre and Dance
Photo credit: Treva Thrush

Event Attributes

Keynote speaker: Paige Hernandez

The 2018 Black Theatre & Dance Symposium continues to champion efforts towards inclusion and diversity in American theatre, dance, and performance. The goals of this year’s symposium are to emphasize the necessity for dialogue to address diversity and identity, to explore the unique power of theatre, dance, and performance studies to explore potentially explosive issues, and to encourage artist-scholars to be leaders who promote the evolution of civility and society. Professionals, scholars, and students will convene to discuss and take action around these ideas in order to influence and expand practices of inclusion in the field of theatre, dance and performance studies.  

Paige Hernandez will be the keynote speaker at the 2018 Black Theatre & Dance Symposium. Paige is a multidisciplinary artist who is critically acclaimed as a performer, director, choreographer and playwright. She is also known for her effective fusion of theatre, hip-hop, dance and education. As a master teaching artist, Paige has taught throughout the country, to all ages, in all disciplines. To date, she has reached approximately 10,000 students, from pre-kindergarten through college, in over 100 residencies, workshops and performances. As a playwright, Paige has been commissioned by the National New Play Network, the Smithsonian’s Discovery Theatre, The Kennedy Center and the Glimmerglass Festival. She recently received an Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council as well as two Helen Hayes nominations for choreography and performance. Paige has also been named a “classroom hero” by The Huffington Post, a “Citizen Artist Fellow” with the Kennedy Center and a “Rising Leader of Color” by TCG. With her company B-FLY ENTERTAINMENT, Paige continues to develop and tour ​original work internationally.


Funding credits

The 2018 Black Theatre & Dance Symposium is made possible by a grant from Maryland Humanities, through support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed at this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or Maryland Humanities.

The symposium is also funded by a Designated Research Initiative Funds (DRIF) grant from the UMD College of Arts & Humanities.


Schedule (tentative):

  • 9-10am - Breakfast
    • 9:30-9:45am - Mentor/Mentee meeting + photo
  • 10am-10:30am - Keynote - Paige Hernandez
  • 10:45am-12:15pm – Breakout Panels​
    • How Do I Make a Living in the Arts (Marcia Pendleton)
    • The Use of Black Dance in Non-Musicals (Meghan Abadoo)
  • 12:30-1:30pm - Lunch Panel – Artist Activist Politics and Performance (Faedra Carpenter)
  • 1:45pm-3:15pm – Breakout Panels
    • Black Art in White Theatres (Otis Ramsey-Zöe, Erika Rose, and Patrick Crowley)
    • Black Acting Methods and Critical Approaches (Sharrell D. Luckett)
  • 3:30-5:00pm – Hip-Hop Theatre & Dance (Dior Ashley Brown)
  • 5:00-6:00pm - Mentor/Mentee

Location: Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (specific venues TBA)

Hashtag: #BTDS_UMD

Cost: $25 in advance, $35 at the door; free with student, faculty, or staff ID / Fee covers breakfast and lunch




Photos from the 2016 Black Theatre Symposium, with keynote speaker Johnetta Boone


Photography credit: Treva Thrush