woman raising her hand in a classroom

UVA Acts - Mission and Values

Mission

Through performance and dialogue, UVA Acts promotes preventative practices that foster equitable, vibrant spaces for working and learning at the University of Virginia.

Our Approach:

Drawing on practices in Theatre of the Oppressed, Theatre in Education, Theatre for Dialogue, and community-based performance, the UVA Acts Ensemble performs original, interactive plays for a faculty audience. These plays might include a single story that takes place over a long period of time, short introductions to several different characters, or a variety of scenes and situations woven together with a common theme. Each performance is interrupted throughout the storyline with moments of facilitated dialogue and audience intervention. In collaboration with the Center for Teaching Excellence and the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, our programming is developed with a focus on faculty practices that promote equity in the workplace and the classroom.

Core Values

Prevention & Asset-based Lens

We employ a prevention approach to promoting equity and inclusion in the UVA community. This means that our programming does not focus on policy compliance or risk reduction (“How do I make sure I’m not cited for discriminatory practices?”). We highlight preventative practices that will support inclusive working and learning spaces, and we also emphasize interventions that can disrupt and reverse harmful working/learning cultures. With this prevention lens, we hold an asset-based mindset, recognizing that the varied skills each person brings to their work can be leveraged to advance positive change. 

Authenticity & Multiplicity

We aim to develop specific, authentic characters and storylines. At the same time, we acknowledge that no person can singularly represent the interests, opinions, or experiences of a community. As we receive feedback, hear stories, and generate performances, we celebrate multifaceted communities and complex individuals. 

Conscious Re-centering

We center the stories, experiences, and perspectives of the people most impacted by exclusionary organizational and pedagogical practices. Institutional conversations around inequity are often disrupted by the desires or discomfort of those who benefit from inequitable systems; we commit to re-centering the desires and safety of those who are harmed by inequitable systems.

Reflection & Accountability

We invite challenges, feedback, and questions, and we create a variety of opportunities for community input in all phases of this work. We consistently practice transparency and self-reflection.

Research-driven Practices

To create our programming, we draw on current, rigorous research around best practices in teaching, equity, organizational change, and applied theatre. We also commit to research and evaluate the practices and outcomes of our own work.