Date of Award

Spring 2001

Document Type

Senior Scholars Paper (Colby Access Only)


Colby College. African Studies Program


Joylynn Wing

Second Advisor

Cheryl Townsend Gilkes

Third Advisor

Geraldine Roseboro


George C. Wolfe has been monumental in the theater industry in that be has created several plays that are focused on the struggles of African Americans and how African Americans have overcome various obstacles and hardships by any means possible. George C. Wolfe was born in 1954 in Frankfort, Kentucky and since then has gone on to receive a B.A. in directing from Pomona College in Clairmont, California and a M.F.A in dramatic writing and musical theater from New York University. Dealing with the problem of dismantling racist views, and misunderstandings of the African American culture Wolfe has begun to fill the need for vehicles of anti-racism. The Colored Museum has been established to allow audiences to laugh through their discomfort and begin to break down barriers of resistance.

Ethnic Theater, theater directed, performed, and written by people of that culture, allows for the ability to recount histories and experiences in that culture's distinctive way. As early as 1820 African Americans have created alternative theaters and acting companies to supply their community the ability of self-presentation. The ability to choose one's self presentation and personal cultural context is primarily what African American writers, actors, producers, and designers are trying to achieve while still working in the mainstream professional theater. [decided to use The Colored Musewn as a tool to create dialogue and bring about change in the thinking of individuals because of its unique ability to invoke various emotions and ideas about racism in a mainstream theater environment. Theater has been and is still used to reflect the reality of the real world and the lives of the people that exist in that world. American theater has been known to represent only certain realities and perpetuate stereotypes about certain peoples in history.

After researching and producing The Colored Museum, I have discovered that the idea or notion of Ethnic Theater is capable of changing the stereotypical ideas that the mainstream American culture bolds. When it comes to alleviating the burden of American minorities to express creative anti-racist works it can be determined it is necessary to have the creative outlets. It is essential to be able to present non-stereotypical and biased ideas for healthy psychological dispositions regardless of the labor that is required for the process. Ethnic Theater must be done and supported by the minority community wishing to dispel myths and stereotypes.


George C. Wolfe, African American, Culture, Colored Museum, Ethnic Theater


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