Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Urban Education


Wendy Luttrell

Committee Members

Maria Torre

Michelle Fine

Subject Categories

Other Theatre and Performance Studies | Race and Ethnicity | Teacher Education and Professional Development


Teacher Education, Race and Racism, Theatre of the Oppressed, Applied Theater, Depthness


In the current political climate, we have seen time and time again the killings of black and brown youth, witnessed the separation of immigrant families, and the mass murders caused by nativist xenophobic white rage. Teachers in schools across our country need to be better prepared to engage in critical race dialogues and need to understand their location in the larger educational system so to contest, rather than reproduce, racism. This study is based on the premise that teachers are not adequately learning about structural oppression that impact the experience of school children and are not trained in the art and practice of critical self-reflection required to address the needs of our students (Milner, 2008). This study offers an alternative reflective practice, a deep-er practice, one that engages the body and mind.

Time to Act: Reflecting, Unpacking and Confronting Racism through Theater was a six-week experiential study that explored the use of applied theater and Theatre of the Oppressed techniques to engage in critical dialogues around race and racism. The inquiry group included fifteen educators from across New York City and met from January to March of 2016. Through a careful examination of data which included videotaped sessions and fieldnotes, transcriptions, and pre- and post- survey interviews, this dissertation details an arc of depthness that goes beyond a surface level understanding and intellectualization of race and racism. Schools and teacher education systems everywhere should consider using the framework, template and meaning-making process of depthness elements: time, storytelling and sharing, the entire body with feelings, connecting the dots, and being left with the thirst.