Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Health Promotion, Education and Behavior


Foundations of Education

First Advisor

Michelle Bryan


Informed by both performance studies and collective memory theory, this study centers around Let Them Be Heard, a theatrical production that breathes life into the narratives of former slaves, performed at three plantation sites in the U.S. South. I seek to understand the lived experience of the performance through the eyes of three key stakeholder groups (plantation museum curators and docents, the director of the Let Them Be Heard production, and the show’s performers), and the impact of the performance on those individuals and on the plantation sites where the performances took place. Ultimately, I am attempting to discern the viability of positioning plantations sites on which such performances occur as educative spaces capable of fostering discussion around a deeper, more accurate representation of enslaved community members’ lived experiences in addition to contributing to the reinterpretation of the practice of slavery in the U.S. into a new, more complex way. I argue that performance pieces like Let Them Be Heard have the ability to foster and facilitate critical dialogue in/about spaces where marginalized voices are silenced intentionally.


© 2015, Stefanie Kate Benjamin

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