UVA Acts

UVA Acts


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, and community-based performance, the UVA Acts Ensemble performs plays interrupted 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 interventions that faculty members can employ to promote equity in the workplace and the classroom.

This program is co-sponsored by the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs.


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 challenge, 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.


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Artistic Director & Program Manager: Cortney McEniry

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