Document Type



This essay, with a link to the full group-devised script of "Moving Forward, Living Backward, or Just Standing Still?" describes how graduate students entering an MFA acting program devised a performance inspired by the WPA’s Living Newspapers and Boal’s Newspaper Theatre to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Wade-Braden housing case in Louisville, KY. Drawing on critical race theory, I argue that the process, together with the script itself, offers an example of several ways performance can be used to remember and re-imagine a community’s racial history and future. It commemorated the trial itself, creating a public reminder of Louisville’s segregated, anti-Black past; it revealed intersections between segregation in Louisville and the practices of racist policing that led to Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, MO, thus connecting an historical event of local significance with a contemporary, national problem; it worked to decenter white narratives and authority; and it offered one model of how student artists can be trained to work together with community audiences to acknowledge how white supremacy is built into our laws, and imagine how we might build institutions differently moving forward.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.