Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Noreen Barnes


Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) was first discovered in 1981 and consequently changed United States history. Initially, it affected the gay community, and the United States Government did not actively combat the spread of the disease for the first four years of the epidemic. In response to a need for education, the theatre community took it upon itself to raise awareness about the disease. Artists such as Robert Chesley and Larry Kramer created pieces of theatre that helped society deal with AIDS. This thesis explores the AIDS theatre canon while focusing on two major works: Robert Chesley’s Night Sweat: A Romantic Comedy in Two Acts and Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart. I also created a class on AIDS theatre that I taught in the fall semester of 2008 at Virginia Commonwealth University. Information on the process of teaching the class as well as the class outcome is also addressed.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

April 2009