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Alumna Emily Freeman earns Outstanding Thesis Award

A woman with brown hair and a blue shirt
Emily Freeman (M.F.A. 2013)

Department of Theatre and Dance alumna Emily Freeman (M.F.A. 2013) has been named the recipient of the Michael H. Granof Award for Excellence in Graduate Education for Outstanding Thesis. Underwritten by the University Co-op and coordinated through the university’s Graduate School, the Outstanding Thesis Award recognizes exceptional work by master’s students and encourages the highest levels of scholarship, research and writing. The award includes a $1,000 prize.

Dr. Megan Alrutz, assistant professor of theatre and Freeman’s thesis advisor, nominated her for the prestigious award. Alrutz shares, “Emily is an active member of our field and works to include new and often underrepresented voices on our stages and in our classrooms. As an artist, teacher and scholar, Emily readily seeks and explores uncharted waters; her thesis is no exception to this rule.”

Freeman’s document, Feminist Performance Pedagogy: Theatre for Youth and Social Justice describes the use of feminist performance pedagogy in working toward a Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) practice that engages youth in social justice. The thesis explores the process of writing, rehearing and touring Freeman’s new play, And Then Came Tango. Produced in fall 2012 by the UT Department of Theatre and Dance, the play prompted national conversation about modern family and the representations of communities.

"It is such an honor to receive the Outstanding Thesis Award from the Graduate School and University Co-op. This recognition raises awareness about feminist performance pedagogy and the importance of working with and for young people as artists and activists,” said Freeman. “Most importantly, I'm thrilled that the story of And Then Came Tango’s journey in Austin, Texas will not be forgotten. I am eternally grateful for the students and faculty from the Department of Theatre and Dance that put their identities, jobs and artistic visions on the line to celebrate family diversity, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ+) identities and social justice."

Freeman was recently appointed community engagement director for the Orlando Repertory Theatre. She also received the 2014 Distinguished Thesis Award from the American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE). And Then Came Tango received the Laurie Award from The Growing Stage-The Children’s Theatre of New Jersey this April. They will produce the world premiere of And Then Came Tango during the 2014-2015 season.

Friday, May 9, 2014