Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Aaron Anderson

Second Advisor

Dr. Keith Kirk

Third Advisor

Dr. Jesse Njus


In my experience as a queer theatre practitioner, performer, and student, I have always had questions of ownership and authenticity when it comes to LGBTQIA+ narratives on the contemporary theatre stage. The question of: “Who is allowed to tell what story?” and the many complex ideas that this leads to, is what has inspired this thesis and my own pedagogy of intersectionality and inclusivity.

The purpose of this thesis is to investigate the relationship between authenticity and queerness on the contemporary stage in order to develop a methodology for how all theatre practitioners—no matter their identity—can effectively tell queer-identifying stories on stage genuinely and respectfully.

The methods of research utilized in this thesis include foundational expertise found in academic articles and journals by a variety of scholars across fields including theatre and performance studies, and testimonials from interviews conducted with cast members of a professional production of The Inheritance.

The key findings of this study supported my assertion of what I have chosen to call, “A Methodology of Paradoxes,” that advocates for inclusive access to queer narratives under the notion that the instability and intersectionality of queerness itself rejects the notion of a singularly correct way to express it. One primary conclusion made is that the radical and fluid nature of queerness justifies the embodiment for any identity to embrace and take part in contributing to the representation of LGBTQIA+ identities within contemporary theatre.


The purpose of this thesis is to investigate queer narratives in popular theatre through concepts like authenticity and ownership. Using available research this thesis has analyzed what it means when non-LGBTQIA+ individuals portray queer characters on the contemporary stage to develop a methodology that advocates for all identities to have the right to participate in queer narratives.


© The Author: Kendall Chase Walker

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission