Hello class, I hope this finds you all well.

This week we are looking at the rise of Urban Drama in Theatre and Film in America.

The Dictionary defines Urban as:



1. of, pertaining to, or designating a city or town.

2. living in a city.

3. characteristic of or accustomed to cities; citified: an urban type.

This definition is a good starting place to understand the background for where these kinds of stories, characters and issues that Urban Drama comes from and adresess but, we must look a little deeper and wrestle with the issues and themes of these characters as well, not just location. The location(s), in an abstract sense, is a through line for much of this genre and where these characters reside and live but it is the circumstances, relationships and conflicts that arise out of living in highly populated, lower scale communities suffering from crime, gangs, drugs, blight, and poverty that drive the force of the drama in these stories. The drama and conflict can be quite intense within the scope of this Genre. We also see that Urban Drama does not lay claim to any one specific ethnic background. So much of Urban Drama looks at communities of all races who share in similar circumstances be it Latino communities, Black communities, various Asian neighborhoods, White communities, or a sub community within the larger groups mentioned. Urban Drama discusses issues of race, poverty, crime, drugs, upward social mobility, institutional racism, sexual abuse, misogyny, religion, class etc.

This week you will get to choose between doing ONE of two assignments.

_________________________Choice # 1______________________

Below is a list of four working Theatres that focus their energy and skill in the producing of Theatre that is in some way with an Urban Theatre priority for storytelling.



Los Angeles


New York


New York


Your assignment is to research the Theatres from this list

Please research:

The Theatre(s) overall Mission Statement

The Theatre(s) history

Has it been a successful company?

What kind of plays do these Theatres do or style of Theatre?

The Theatre(s) subscription base and its specific demographic

The Theatre impact on its community

Who are the individuals that are at the heart of that Theatre?

Are there playwrights that work exclusively out of that Theatre?

When you have researched these Theatres – CHOOSE ONE Theatre from the list and write:

A Two page summary of your your thoughts and discoveries about these Theatres using the questions provided as a guide. Would you like to go to a show there? Why or why not?

You may include pictures if you like.

Your paper should be at least two pages double spaced.

_______________________Choice # Two: __________________________

1. Watch a film of your choice from the list of film titles that were discussed or used as example in the Urban Drama P.D.F. lecture.

2. In the same manner as you have now done in two previous lessons, write a Review for your film.

A. Give us your opinion of the acting and storytelling in the manner that you have previously written.

B. Discuss the relevant weeks issues that were raised by the film, its writer and character(s)

C. Does this film work as a drama, comedy, tragedy, thriller, docudrama, mystery? Why or why not?

D. When was this film made? 5 years ago? 10, 20, 25 years ago? How do you feel society has changed since the films premiered? What impact did this film have when it premiered? Did it have any at all? why or why not?

C. Was the filmmaker(s), writer(s) and actors successful in their overall thematic intention? Why or why not? Would you recommend this film to others? why or why not?

I will give you a very good film suggestion… Watch Zootopia! You’ll see it now much differently than the first time you may have viewed the film. Some important themes that the filmmakers are trying to say…..

Of course you may choose whatever film you like as long as it falls within the parameters above.

Your review should be two pages double spaced.