Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)


Theatre, Speech & Dance


Artisia Green

Committee Members

Francis Tanglao-Aguas

Lynn Weiss

Leah Glenn


The idea that the United States is in a post-racial society is a lie. The ghosts of America's racist past continue to linger in the minds of all Americans. These prejudices and expectations are prevalent everywhere, including in a collegiate liberal arts theatre program. Casting is an integral part of how audiences perceive and interpret a play. It is therefore crucial that directors make responsible casting decisions to ensure that their decisions challenge and ultimately extinguish the existing racial and gender stereotypes of our time. In this paper, I identified the four different types of non-traditional casting as defined by Angela C. Pao, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at Indiana University. I then studied the history of their usage in professional theatre. Finally, I tested these ideas and concepts by analyzing the casting decisions made in five faculty directed plays produced by the College of William and Mary. I have come to the conclusion that the college's casting policies are not centralized. While some casting decisions were "responsible" others simply confused the audience and supported existing prejudices and stereotypes. These problems can be overcome in various ways including an expansion of the dramaturge and a greater awareness of the role casting plays in each production.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Thesis is part of Honors ETD pilot project, 2008-2013. Migrated from Dspace in 2016.

On-Campus Access Only