Department of Africana Studies

Rites and Reason Theatre

Rites and Reason Theatre is a research and development theatre producing new creative works that analyze and articulate the experiences and expressions of the African Diaspora.

“ The Afro-American Studies Program of Brown University and its arts component, Rites and Reason, has successfully developed and produced projects examining aspects of humanistic issues dealing with the evolution of culture and civilization in the New World. The Program and Rites and Reason have endeavored to create an interdisciplinary fusion of methods, ideas ·and peoples by creating means by which scholars, artists and community members address public issues. All these projects have proceeded with the assumption that the humanities should not be the property of the scholarly class, but should be accessible to Americans of every class, background and educational level. In order to accomplish this difficult goal, the Program has developed innovative forums for humanistic research and presentation which embrace the formal concerns of the scholarly community and the reflective…traditions of the public community. ”

Rhett Jones Co-Founder and inaugural Research Director, Rites and Reason Theatre and former Chair of Afro-American Studies

50 Years and Beyond

Within Africana cultural traditions, art is a creative manifestation of thought and culture. As such, Rites and Reason is a space for artists, writers, and scholars to explore and engage Africana intellectual and cultural traditions together, translating them into innovative theatrical and expressive forms. 

Alongside the academic department, Rites and Reason provides a critical, scholarly space to explore the essential creative practices of the Diaspora, while training students and collaborators to utilize and interpret the performing arts rooted in Africana cultural traditions and expressions.

Rites and Reason enjoys strong and productive partnerships with Tougaloo College, the National Black Theatre in Harlem, the Brown/Trinity MFA Program, AS220, and many other organizations in the Providence community and beyond.

Rites and Reason is one of the oldest continuously producing Black theatres in the nation.
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