Meet our Interim Chair: Dr. Ofosuwa M. Abiola

Dr. Ofosuwa M. Abiola earned her Ph.D. in History from Howard University with a focus on Mandinka dance and cultural history. Her minor field was African diaspora dance and cultural history.  In addition to articles, Dr. Abiola published books, and has been featured in books, newspapers and magazines, and on television broadcasts including ABC’s Good Morning Washington.

After training, Dr. Abiola launched a 20-year career as a choreographer and solo artist on Broadway and off-Broadway venues. She founded and served as Artistic Director of the African dance company, Suwabi African Ballet, for 15 years before she relocated to Washington, DC to obtain her Ph.D. 

Editor-in-Chief: Evoke: A Historical, Theoretical, and Cultural Analysis of Africana Dance and Theatre


Dr. Ofosuwa M. Abiola

Dr. Ofosuwa M. Abiola- Vision for the Department of Theatre Arts

For over a century, the Department of Theatre Arts at Howard University has been a global leader in the theatre arts industry. From its highly skilled regionally, nationally, and internationally engaged faculty, to its litany of celebrated alumni, the Department of Theatre Arts, affectionately known as DoTA, has been an industry leader in live performance. Most important, DoTA is known for relentlessly raising the bar.

My vision for the Department of Theatre Arts is to prepare our students for a 21st century performance industry, by working to increase the incorporation of digital, virtual, and film/video programming into the stellar theatre, musical theatre, and dance offerings we already have. The 21st century is a digital era that embraces and elevates opportunities for success for actors, dancers, singers, independent filmmakers, screendance  professionals, and performer-activists. The Department of Theatre Arts at Howard University possesses an embarrassment of riches with regard to future digital content creation through our Acting, Dance, and Musical Theatre concentrations. It is further supported by our Theatre Administration and Technical Theatre programs. Because performance in digital formats transcends locality, our increase in digital programming will facilitate a rise in our engagement of, and visibility in, the international arts community. By extension, these activities will continue to increase our cultivation of networks and collaborations, which will result in an increase in the percentage of student placement after graduation.

I also envision a Theater Arts Department that produces interdisciplinary creative thinkers and innovators that make valuable contributions in diverse industries within and outside of the theatre arena. The reality is, every activity we engage, every task, every accomplishment, is a performance. Through the establishment of interdisciplinary Performance Studies programming, our graduates will be prepared to meet the world head-on and challenge static thought processes and operations. They will be qualified for diverse fields in the employment industry and will simultaneously be equipped to enter competitive research-based graduate theatre, dance, and interdisciplinary programs in colleges and universities.

Howard’s Department of Theatre Arts is already known for injecting world-class talent into the global arena. In addition to second-to-none training, one of the many strengths of the Department is that it grounds its students in the African Diaspora experience. Armed with an acute knowledge of the experiences of the African Diaspora, coupled with engagement with the global arts community, skills in the film and digital markets, and a theoretical interdisciplinary skillset, graduates from the Theatre Arts Department at Howard University will be formidable forces in the world.