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Howard University's Department
of Theatre Arts is an internationally acclaimed leader and producer of artistic merit. Each season the Department of Theatre Arts presents classical and contemporary plays in its two-theatre complex. These plays offer not only entertainment, but also a forum for ideas and discussion.

About the Department: Faculty & Staff

Associate Professor, Playwriting

Dept. of Theatre Arts - Childers Hall, Room 1012-B
Howard University, Washington, DC 20059
(202) 806-5461

DJ HartDenise J. Hart Playwriting, Dramaturgy, Dramatic Criticism | Sarah Lawrence College MFA, Howard University BFA

Hart is an Associate Professor and coordinator of the Playwriting minor at Howard University. She is the editor of the forthcoming anthology, “Staging Lydia: Dramaturgy, Directing and Design in the Plays of Lydia Diamond” (Northwestern Press/18).

As a playwright, she is the recipient of several honors. Here plays include: Nothing to Lose (finalist 2012 Black and Latino Playwrights Conference) Sistah Girl, Masquerade Parade, Ring the Bell, My Soul is a Witness, The Last Day, In the Realm of Shadows, Chasing Forever, A Real Black Comedy and This Joy, (former finalist in both The Lark and the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights competition.) Hart’s dramaturgy credits include: Joe Turners Come and Gone, Day of Absence, Zooman and the Sign, Malcom, Martin & Medgar and Breath Boom.

Hart has also authored 19 children's musicals and her directing credits include: Spunk, Zooman and the Sign, Day of Absence (finalist in the ‘08 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival and recipient of the Outstanding Acting Ensemble Award), Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Quick Stop at the Florist, Bedlam in the Pulpit, Malcolm, Martin & Medgar, Secrets of the Mist of Blue, Uncanny Resemblance, and Melancholy of Barbarians.

She is the founder of the Playwrights in Process Visiting Playwrights Series at Howard University, and has helped shape the works of: Nikkole Salter (Repairing a Nation), Peter Harris (The Johnson Chronicles), A. Peter Baily (Malcom, Martin & Medgar), and in collaboration with The Lark Play Development Center, Kofi Kwahule’s Melancholy of Barbarians.

In addition to directing and playwriting, Hart is an accomplished actress. Her acting credits include the recurring role as the beloved character "Miss Anna" on HBO'S The Wire and she’s also worked with African Continuum Theatre (The Old Settler), Wolly Mammoth Theatre (The Day Room), Arena Stage (Holiday Heart), Howard University (Before it Hits Home) and The Theatre Alliance (Le Dispute) in WDC.

Ms. Hart is a founding member of the August Wilson Society and the founder and Executive Director of The Performing Arts Training Studio, Inc. (PATStudio) and The Children's Theatre Workshop (TCTW) located in Washington DC, where she along with her staff have taught over 5000 adults and youth the art and craft of theatre. Through PATStudio, Hart founded, "Playwright's Posse", a dramaturge based play development salon for new playwrights. Through the posse she has shaped the works of Maryam Fatima Foye (Seeking Serenity), Marita Phelps, (Baggage of Beauty), Alma Davenport (The Macro Evolution of Morgan Jeffries), Jacqui Brown (Bedlam in the Pulpit), Jim Bruns (Street People).

In addition to teaching at Howard University, she has taught at American University and Duke Ellington School of the Arts. A graduate of Howard University’s BFA Acting program, she also holds an MFA in Playwriting from Sarah Lawrence College and has studied comedy writing at Second City and comedy acting at Upright Citizens Brigade.

Hart is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, The Dramatist Guild, The Playwrights Forum, Literary Managers and Dramaturges of the Americas, Black Theatre Network, Association of Theatre in Higher Education, Black Theatre Association, American Society of Theatre Research, Theatre for Young Audiences and serves as the Production Review Editor for Continuum: The Journal of African Diaspora Drama, Theatre and Performance.

In her spare time, Hart likes her fair share of solitude to feed her voracious reading habit and spending time laughing and chatting about how to make the world a better place. She also finds time to paint and explore the world around her. Her son Julian is her pride and joy.

CONTACT: Email:; Cell: 202-321-0779;

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Wendy Racquel Robinson Eric Roberson Debbie Allen Carl Anthony Payne Lynda Gravatt Isaiah Washington Taraji P. Henson Anthony Anderson Phylicia Rashad
Department of Theatre Arts College of Arts and Sciences Division of Fine Arts