The Drama Lady Theatre Group is collective which started in the Carolinas with the mission to “democratize the consumption of art and to raise the aesthetic of art.” The group’s motto is “we are classically trained and socially driven.” Whether with our classical pieces or with newly devised work, the group aims to create art that is inclusive, accessible, and intersectional. The Drama Lady Theatre Groups utilizes many of the elements of physical theatre; traditional Eastern storytelling; classical literature; and epideictic rhetoric. Our productions often incorporate Carl Jung’s theories on the collective unconscious and archetypes as well as primordial images. We try to encompass what truly makes theatre transcendent: the images and motifs of archetypes and the collective unconscious.
Through examining the truth of the collective unconscious and the realities of systemic structures and instruments of oppression, the group understands that its work is a part of the process of promoting equity. The motivation for equity promotion in a region that has been ravaged through over one hundred years of Jim Crow and four hundred years of enslavement became of paramount importance for these artists. The group remains conscious that they have inherited and often been victimized by the legislated, systemic, economic and social oppressions which were created to structure what Isabella Wilkerson describes as an “artificial caste system.” Given the historic racial oppression there has also been a documented and endorsed misogyny which was used along with racial oppression by the top tier of the hierarchy to maintain the artificial caste system through divisiveness. Moreover, the group’s diverse team members are a demonstration of cross-cultural collaboration in an era and region of divisiveness. The group also utilizes workshops and various outreach activities to fill the pervasive literacy gap in rural areas as well as the arts gap in most of the public school systems and communities. The group’s approach is performance-centered and relies less on spectacle and more on the performer’s instrument to create a world of truth and beauty.
In their effort to democratize the consumption of art the group has done a rural arts literacy education tour of Shakespeare’s Macbeth; workshops for theatre arts and storytelling; and visiting arts residencies for at risk youth. The group actively facilitates programs in adolescent health including teen pregnancy and substance abuse prevention.
To raise the aesthetic of arts presentations, the group employs several methodologies: Butoh training, View Points, Commedia Dell’Arte, Theatre of the Oppressed, and classical techniques as well as other. These efforts have resulted in creation of classical and original productions of some of the highest quality in the state of South Carolina. The group has also had several mainstage productions: Miss Julie, But I’m Only Seventeen and For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf, to name a few.