UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND — This year’s Tucker-Boatwright Festival of Literature and the Arts will feature outdoor performances developed by artists with the city of Richmond and its history specifically in mind.

Presented by the Department of Theatre & Dance throughout the year, the festival includes performances, lectures, panel discussions, and artist residencies. This year’s theme “Dancing Histories: This Ground” embraces a series of works that reflect a unique engagement with contemporary politics and the interplay between history and memory. 

Two of the festival’s eight performances will not take place in a traditional theater or venue but instead at two outdoor locations: the African Ancestral Burial Ground in Shockoe Bottom and the new American Civil War Museum on the banks of the James River.

“It was important to the artists that their works be site-specific, as they will enter into a dialogue with their respective physical surroundings and inspire the audience to reflect upon the history of our urban spaces,” said Sharon Feldman, interim chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance. “The works are quite timely, given this year’s commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans to the shores of Virginia.”

Festival highlights include:

World Premiere of Brother General Gabriel
Oct. 10, 6 p.m. & 7 p.m., The unmarked historical site of the Richmond City Gallows at the African Ancestral Burial Ground in Shockoe Bottom

Choreographer MK Abadoo (Dance Magazine’s “Breakout Star” of 2018) and Untold RVA’s historical strategist Free Egunfemi hold space for Commemorative Justice by transforming the previously unmarked gallows at the African Ancestral Burial Ground at Shockoe Bottom. The performance amplifies the legacy of Richmond’s warriors for Black Freedom by calling on the invisible army of Gabriel, an enslaved blacksmith who planned a rebellion in 1800.

Contemporary Dance Performance of CROSS CURRENTS
Nov. 16, 8 p.m., American Civil War Museum-Historic Tredegar

This 50-minute world-premiere performance by international and interdisciplinary dance company NOW-ID, with members of University Dancers, explores the James River shoreline in Richmond, its past, and its future. The piece is choreographed by NOW-ID’s artistic director Charlotte Boye-Christensen, who will be in residence at UR with NOW-ID dancers Nov. 3-17.

For a full list of festival events, and ticketing information visit


Related Campus Units

School of Arts and Sciences

Professor of Spanish and Catalan Studies
William Judson Gaines Chair in Modern Foreign Languages
Interim Chair, Department of Theatre and Dance
Spanish and Catalan theatre and performance
Theatre translation and translation theory