Southern Theater for Social Change

Document Type

Book Contribution

Publication Date



When Bob Leonard started The Road Company in 1975 in the mountains of East Tennessee, he aimed to create plays with local people and their stories.1 He was interested in changing the cultural and social landscape. He was not the only one tracing small town routes-or roots-in the 1970s. His vision was part of a theater and arts movement fueled by the politics of the time and some government funding. Would people embrace, or even come see, an experimental theater company dedicated to shaking things up? Would they be changed by the experience? That would be the challenge to the theater companies.