Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


African-American Studies

First Advisor

Makungu Akinyela - Committee Chair

Second Advisor

Sarita Davis - Committee Member

Third Advisor

Shirlene Holmes - Committee Member


This qualitative phenomenological study explores the role of Theatre as a tool of empowerment for Black youth. This study involves IMPACT Repertory Theatre of Harlem (IMPACT), a Theatre group that consists of Black youth between the ages of 12-19. Observations, focus-group interviews and audiovisual material were used to explore Black youth's experiences with and perceptions of Theatre via IMPACT. The existing literature surrounding the topic of Theatre for youth empowerment contains the following gaps: they do not give a voice to the youth in question, they are seldom conducted in the U.S. and they do not specifically focus on Black youth. Analysis included categorizing the data and then putting it into themes. In the study’s findings, participants reveal that Theatre via IMPACT offers a source of family like support, a safe space and opportunities for self discovery and transformation.