The Niceties

by Eleanor Burgess
January 22-February 7, 2021

A Virtual Presentation

Directed by Jen Uphoff Gray & DiMonte Henning

In The Niceties, Zoe, a Black student at a liberal arts college, is called into her white professor’s office to discuss her paper about slavery’s effect on the American Revolution. What begins as a polite clash in perspectives explodes into an urgent debate about race, history, and power.


Pictured: Samantha Newcomb (Zoe), Sarah Day (Janine), DiMonte Henning (Director), Jen Uphoff Gray (Director)

Scenic Designer: Lisa Schlenker
Lighting Designer: Greg Hofmann
Costume Designer: Jazmin Aurora Medina
Composer/Sound Designer: Christie Chiles Twillie
Film Editor: Kathy Wittman
Props Master: Pamela Miles
Stage Manager: Sarah Deming-Henes
Assistant Stage Manager: Abbi Hess


Thanks to our partnership with the UW Division of Diversity, Equity, and Educational Achievement, a panel of academic and community experts convened virtually for a special discussion about the themes in The Niceties on February 10th. This partnership resulted in over 200 community members attending the play, as well as the follow-up panel discussion. This creative experience allowed for attendees to witness and learn from compelling dialogue that addressed how issues of racial equity plays out between faculty and students on campus.


A behind-the-scenes look at the innovative process of creating The Niceties, with actresses Samantha Newcomb and Sarah Day.

'The Niceties' Review: No Time for Pleasantries
by Terry Teachout | The Wall Street Journal

Forward Theater grapples with slavery and blind spots in virtual production of ‘The Niceties’
by Ayomi Wolff | Madison365

Professor-student play 'The Niceties' remembers when we still tried to talk it out
by Lindsay Christians | The Cap Times

Learn about the process behind creating the soundtrack for The Niceties in this interview with Composer & Sound Designer Christie Chiles Twillie: