Wayne State University

Wayne State theatre and dance professor receives grant from Michigan Humanities Council

DETROIT - Billicia Charnelle Hines, director of the black theatre program and assistant professor of theatre and dance in Wayne State University’s College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts, has received a $19,400 grant from the Michigan Humanities Council’s Heritage Grant Program for the project, “Detroit 1967: From Page to Stage.”

The project aims to engage high school students in a year-long creative project that will promote learning and understanding of the unique experiences of African Americans during the Detroit uprisings of 1967. Faculty and students from Wayne State’s Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance will work with students from the Old Redford Academy High School, in collaboration with the Wayne Theatre to use Dominique Morisseau’s play Detroit ’67 as a tool to teach and perform the history of the Detroit rebellion.

“The students will be guided by Wayne State teaching artists to read the play and conduct research into the history of the time period,” said Hines. “The project will be enhanced by field trips to the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Detroit Historical Museum and the Detroit Institute of Arts.”

Hines aims for these field experiences to bring history to life for the students, and to encourage them to create a personal interest in processes of historical research and interpretation.

“In the winter of 2017, the students will use oral and written histories from individuals with stories and memories about the unrest in July of 1967, collected from the Detroit Historical Society’s Detroit 1967 online archive,” added Hines. "They will ultimately develop and perform a theatrical piece that will reflect how the 1967 rebellion affects them today. It will be performed at their high school, at Wayne State and at local museums."

Before joining Wayne State, Hines was director of theatre at Elizabeth City State University. She received her B.F.A. in professional theatre from the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, North Carolina, and her M.F.A. in acting from the University of Missouri at Kansas City. She is a certified teacher of the Michael Chekhov Technique from the Great Lakes Michael Chekhov Consortium.

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About Wayne State University

Wayne State University is one of the nation’s pre-eminent public research universities in an urban setting. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, state of Michigan and throughout the world. For more information about research at Wayne State University, visit research.wayne.edu.