Degree Name



Theatre and Media Arts


Fine Arts and Communications

Defense Date


Publication Date


First Faculty Advisor

Dr. Alexandra Mackenzie-Johns

First Faculty Reader

Shelley Graham

Honors Coordinator

Dean Duncan


Dramaturgy, Qualitative, new play, creative project, theatre production, actor and audience feedback


Written by fellow TMA student Charlotte Westover, Hattie’s Echo! explores the stories of two faithful families, one Mormon pioneer family and one modern family, both at intense turning points in their lives. These families deal with death, hunger, emotional abuse, and pornography addictions. This new musical featured sensitive religious, historical, and biographical topics. My work aimed to understand the most effective way to provide context to all stakeholders of the production (the design team, the actors, and the audience), in each of these topic areas. While a dramaturg’s work is often focused on engaging one of these member groups with the script, my method was to expand the traditional dramaturgical work of “New Play Development” and “Production Dramaturgy” to form an inclusive hybrid of the two. I did this by deliberately creating religious, historical, and biographical connections to each of the member groups.

Throughout the run of the show, I found that I needed to adjust the frequency of my dramaturgical engagement with the actors and design team, or shift them from one area of focus to another. Additionally, I increasingly found that my work with the playwright proved to be the most fertile area of engagement with the script. Lastly, I found that by deliberately focusing on all three contextual areas in the lobby display, I received a deeply personal response from the audience, unlike any other I have seen before. By using Hattie’s Echo! as a theatrical experiment of combining “New Play Work” and “Production Dramaturgy” to share interdisciplinary context, I found that all stakeholders of the production had an increased intellectual and emotional connection to the show. However, my results were qualified by the audience’s clear increase in engagement following viewing the performance. While my work was effective, the most important work I did was bolstering the script itself, because that was the transformative piece of art.