Doug Grissom / Drama

The “Plurality of Privacy Project in Five-Minute Plays” is a groundbreaking transatlantic theater project focused on the value of privacy. In cooperation with the Goethe-Institut Washington, theaters across the U.S. and Europe have commissioned playwrights to write five-minute plays exploring the central question, “What does privacy mean to you in the digital age?” The results will be presented in different formats by a network of theaters between January 2017 and June 2018. These performances, staged readings, and community forums will create an artistic and cultural dialogue centered on American and European understandings of privacy.

UVA is one of only seven universities in the U.S. selected to produce this event.  Universities have wide latitude in project implementation, from simple cold readings to fully mounted multi-media productions. We plan to fully stage the plays and to augment the performance with several films of the plays. 

Sixteen commissioned plays were considered, but I found that they didn’t often address digital privacy issues that our students encounter on a regular basis.  I asked the Goethe-Institut if we could substitute plays by UVA students.  Goethe agreed and were excited by this prospect. I continue to solicit privacy plays from my playwriting students; I already have several promising drafts. Our UVA project will consist of eight commissioned plays, and 4-6 new student plays.

As the director of this project, I will work with student playwrights on rewrites and preparing scripts for performance. I will work with student designers and cast UVA students as actors. I will then rehearse and direct the plays. The full production will be presented in Helms Theatre on October 27 & 28, 2017.


Combined expenses for making copies of scripts, buying props and costume pieces, possibly filming the event, and paying for other assorted expenses in mounting the production, will be within the $3,000 budget.