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Graduate Students

Graduate Students in Theatre and Performance Studies
Bárbara Casseb Bárbara Casseb
Bárbara Casseb is an M.A./Ph.D. student interested in the psycho-physical training of the actor’s body and racialized performances of androgyny. She is originally from Brazil, but has been based in Albuquerque, NM since the fall of 2013, where she has had the opportunity to work creating performance in the Circus and Theatre arts in over twenty productions. Her work as a practitioner is focused on physical schools of performative training and those align with her academic interests. This fall she'll be working as dramaturg for the department's production of Lysistrata. Bárbara spends her summers working for the National Hispanic Cultural Center's summer institute as the Assistant Director for the Circo Latino program, and a collaborating artist and performer in the yearly devised performance of the Circo Radical program. Previously, she worked with Tricklock Company's during the 17th annual Revolutions International Theatre Festival as the assistant Artist Liaison and Social Media Coordinator. Over the past three years she’s been involved in this festival in a number of different capacities and had the great opportunity of taking short workshops with artists from all over the world. Barbara received her BA in Theatre from the University of New Mexico on the spring of 2016.
Steve Drum Steve Drum
Steve Drum is a PhD candidate at Tufts. His research interests include celebrity performance, film history, and LGBTQ popular entertainments. He has presented his work at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, the International Celebrity Studies Conference, the Southwest Popular/American Culture Association, and the Northeast Modern Language Association. Steve works as a Writing and Public Speaking consultant for the Academic Resource Center at Tufts. He also serves as chair for the Academic and Career Development committee in Tufts' Graduate Student Council. He earned a BFA in Drama from New York University and an MA in Cinema Studies from Savannah College of Art and Design.
Stephanie Engel Stephanie Engel
Stephanie Engel is a Ph.D. student focusing on Cuban-American relations through dramatic performance. Stephanie received her BA from Allegheny College where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude with a dual degree in Theatre and History. Her senior thesis, which investigated the 1969 off-off-Broadway production of Che!, received commendations including the Outstanding Senior Major Theater Prize, as well as the Don M. Larrabee History Prize for Best Historical Thesis. Stephanie has also studied at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom as part of a six-month independent study of European theatrical practices. In addition to her studies, she has presented at conferences like the National Undergraduate Honors Conference for Communication and Theatre and is a member of the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs Association. Prior to commencing graduate study at Tufts, Stephanie worked in literary development for the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center and the Guthrie Theater. Stephanie has also worked extensively with Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis where she operated as a freelance dramaturg, led post-show discussions for the entire 2016/2017 season, and conducted outreach work under the theater's Radical Hospitality mission, a program which provides no-cost access to theatre for underrepresented populations across the Twin Cities.
Emma Futhey Emma Futhey
Emma Futhey is a Ph.D. candidate who received her B.A. in Theatre Studies from the Pennsylvania State University in 2006. In 2013 she graduated with a Masters in Theatre Education from Emerson College. Her Master’s Thesis entitled, "Trauma and the Theatrical Aesthetic: Post 9/11 Trauma Theory in Contemporary British Documentary Theatre," received the Emerson College Performing Arts Department Graduate Award. She has presented papers at CDC, MATC, ATHE, and LMDA. At Tufts, she served as the graduate dramaturg for the department's mainstage productions of Richard III and Desire Under the Elms and dramaturg for 3P's production of Stop Kiss. She previously worked at ArtsBoston, a performing arts nonprofit geared towards audience development and arts promotion in the Greater Boston area, and as the Program Assistant for the Office of Scholar Development, which assists Tufts students and alumni in the process of applying to special programs such as Fulbright. Currently she works as a graduate writing consultant and the Program Assistant for the Subject Tutoring program at the Academic Resource Center. She is a Summer 2018 Tisch Library Fellow. She is finishing her dissertation, "'Born for Universal Sway': Women and Performance Culture in Boston, 1785-1861," a cultural exploration of the performance of womanhood in Antebellum Boston.
Jennifer HerronJennifer Herron
Jenny Herron is a doctoral candidate writing a dissertation on lesbian theatres of the 1970s. Having recently earned her Master's degree in Theatre and Performance Studies from Tufts, she is now pursuing her Ph.D. Her research interests include antebellum African American theatre, LGBTQ theatre, and theatre in the education sector. Before coming to Tufts, Jenny had the opportunity to work as a member of the stage management team with The New Group, an off-Broadway theatre company in New York City. She also had the privilege of working as a high school English teacher in rural North Carolina through Teach for America. Jenny currently works as Arts Coordinator and Theatre Director for Boston Collegiate Charter School.
Beck Holden Harry Hoke
Harry Hoke is an M.A./Ph.D. student from Richmond, Virginia, where he graduated from the University of Richmond with a B.A. in Theatre and Political Science. While at Richmond, he performed and directed with the Department of Theatre and Dance and held management/production internships at Arcola Theatre in London and Berkshire Playwrights Lab in Great Barrington, MA. His research interests lie in performance studies and queer nightlife, particularly in the connections between nightlife performance, ethnography, and a queer political agenda.
Beck Holden Beck Holden
Beck Holden is a Ph.D. candidate in Theatre and Performance Studies. His primary research area is black theatre in America, and his dissertation examines the oeuvre of the Williams and Walker Company and its influence on the later careers of some of its members from roughly 1900 to 1920. He has presented his research at ATHE, ASTR, the Comparative Drama Conference, the Mid-America Theatre Conference, and the Tufts Graduate Humanities Conference. His first peer-reviewed article was recently published Text and Presentation. Beck also holds a B.A. in Theater Arts with a concentration in Acting from Brandeis University and an M.F.A. in Dramaturgy from the ART/MXAT Institute for Advance Theatre Training.
Yizhou HuangYizhou Huang
Yizhou Huang is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies. Her dissertation examines Shanghai theatre between two world wars. She received her B.A. in English literature from Beijing Foreign Studies University in 2013 and her M.A. in Theatre and Performance Studies from Tufts University in 2016. Her research interests include political theatre, contemporary Chinese theatre, and intercultural performance between China and the West. Before coming to Tufts, she interned at National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing.
Javier Luis HurtadoJavier Luis Hurtado
Javier Luis Hurtado is a Ph.D. student who comes to Tufts after having had an active career as a playwright, director, and performer. He is a proud Lambda Literary Fellow in Playwriting, a GLUCK Foundation Theater Fellow, an alumnus of the NALAC Leadership Academy and the Maria Irene Fornés Playwriting Workshop. His plays and other performance work has been produced by El Teatro Campesino, BRAVA Theater Center, The National Queer Arts Festival, The Barbra and Art Culver Center, UC Riverside, SOMArts, and AS220. He is an active member of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and holds an MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts from the University of California, Riverside.

Theresa IncampoTeri Incampo
Teri Incampo is a Ph.D student. Originally from Denver, Colorado, she has called Boston her home since 2013. She received her B.A. in Theater and Dance from Trinity College (Harford), where she completed her thesis on the short dramatic works of Samuel Beckett. Her current research interests include postmodern and contemporary drama, phenomenology, and the utilization of theories of consciousness as tools in the praxis of performance. Teri is the Co-Artistic Director of the Boston-area fringe company Exiled Theatre. She is also an actor and director, having worked professionally in New York, Boston, and Northampton, MA.

Patrick King Patrick King
Patrick King is a doctoral candidate working in the area of musical theatre. His dissertation focuses on the role of early nineteenth-century Viennese spectacular musical comedy in generating and questioning imperial identity. His MA thesis explored the relationship between midcentury American musical theatre and the rise of LP cast recordings. His work has been published in Text and Presentation and Puppetry International, and he has presented his research at numerous conferences. He was a 2016-2017 fellow at the Center for Humanities at Tufts and has received the Tisch Library Graduate Humanities fellowship and the Kalman A. Burnim Prize.

Mia LevensonMia Levenson
Mia is an M.A./Ph.D. student whose research explores the intersections of science and theatre. She received her B.A. in Theatre and her B.S. in Neurobiology and Physiology from the University of Maryland, College Park. During her time at UMD, Mia received the KCACTF Undergraduate Theatre Scholar Award for her paper, "A Tedious Theatre: The Spectacle of the Body in 17th Century Anatomy Theatres and in Webster's The Duchess of Malfi." She has previously worked as the Literary Fellow at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, DC. Research interests include the history of science and medicine, the performance of science, medieval and renaissance theatre, and performance of identity.
Amy MeyerAmy Meyer
Amy Meyer is a doctoral candidate whose research combines gender and dance theory with theatre history to analyze the ways that performing bodies communicate with audiences. Her areas of specialty are circus history and acrobatic acts, gender in performance, and risk in performance. Her dissertation looks at ground acts throughout the history of the western circus and explores how acrobatic bodies have long challenged dominant cultural conceptions of gender. As a theatre practitioner Amy is also interested in highly physical traditions. She does work in movement-based devised theatre, partner acrobatics, aerial silks, and flying trapeze. She is a longtime member of the IRNE-award-winning theatre troupe imaginary beasts, in residence at the Charlestown Working Theater. Amy received a BA in Theatre and English from Connecticut College and an MA in Theatre and Performance Studies from Tufts. As a Robyn Gittleman Graduate Teaching Fellow at Tufts' Experimental College, she designed and taught a course called Circus and Society. She also teaches writing and public speaking for Tufts’ Academic Resource Center. Amy is a Lecturer in Theatre at Boston College.
Reza MirsajadiReza Mirsajadi
Reza Mirsajadi is a doctoral candidate writing a dissertation on contemporary Iranian theatre, focusing on the direction of canonical Western plays in Tehran since 1997. He has written and presented on a variety of topics, from queer performance and African American theatre to North Korean censorship and documentary studies, and has a passion for finding interdisciplinary approaches to theoretical and historical research. Reza has worked closely with documentary theatre artists such as the Tectonic Theater Project, The Civilians, and Recorded Delivery, and his master's thesis, "Spectrums of Truth: Transcribing Reality in Documentary Musical Theatre," constructs a new analytical approach to performances of the real. He has presented his work at conferences for ASTR, ATHE, MLA, and CDC, and published in Puppetry International. He is currently an adjunct professor of African American Theatre at Emerson, and he has been awarded the Tufts Graduate Student Research Award, the Center for Humanities at Tufts Dissertation Fellowship, and a Graduate Institute for Teaching fellowship. Reza has also directed and musical directed in the Boston and Philadelphia areas, is an accomplished musical arranger, orchestrator, pianist, and playwright, and teaches acting at Tufts. He is dedicated to finding ways to use theatre as a mode of social activism and change, be it on the community level or global stages. He holds a B.A. in Theatre Arts from the University of Pennsylvania, and a M.A. in Theatre and Performance Studies from Tufts University.
Michael Leonard Kersey Morris Michael Leonard Kersey Morris
Michael Morris is a doctoral candidate who also received his M.A. at Tufts. He received an AB in Russian literature from Harvard University and an MBA with an emphasis in organizational behavior from Brigham Young University. His research interests include commercial theater as a cultural industry, the hybrid organizational identities of theater organizations, musical theater, and American and Russian theater and drama. Methodologically, he is intrigued by ethnography, case study, and content analysis. Michael has presented research at meetings of the American Society for Theatre Research, Mid-America Theatre Conference, Scenography and Theatre Architecture Working Groups of the International Federation for Theatre Research, American Conference of Irish Studies, Association for Slavic East European and Eurasian Studies, and the Western Academy of Management. Michael is also a performer in musicals, straight plays and opera who has performed with the Los Angeles Opera, San Diego Opera, Utah Opera and Hale Centre Theatre, and the Tufts Opera Ensemble. He is a proud member of Actors' Equity Association and the American Guild of Musical Artists.
Manjari Mukherjee Manjari Mukherjee

Manjari Mukherjee is a Ph.D. student whose research interests include trauma studies, gender and citizenship studies, and race and minority studies in India. She completed her MPhil in Theatre and Performance Studies from the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi. Her dissertation focused on the legitimate and illegitimate performance practices the Anglo-Indians community between 1940 and 1950 in Calcutta and Bombay. As an academic, she has presented her research at the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR) and Indian society for Theatre Research (ISTR) and has published a part of her dissertation with the Theatre Research International (TRI). Manjari is a trained Kathak dancer and a theatre practitioner. Prior to joining the graduate department at Tufts, Manjari worked as an Arts Manager for Mojarto, India's largest curated e-commerce art portal. Manjari completed her bachelors (BA) in English Literature (Honours) from Presidency College, Kolkata; and masters (MA) in Arts and Aesthetics from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi.
Jo Michael Rezes Jo Michael Rezes

Jo Michael Rezes (they/them/theirs) is an M.A./Ph.D. student from Hunterdon County, NJ who received a B.A. from Vassar College in both Drama and English with queer studies and stage directing concentrations. There, Jo Michael began developing a skeleton-script devising format, started framing character liminalities in portraiture, and used contemporary performance praxis as a dramaturgical tool. Their undergraduate theses were the direction of Sarah Ruhl's Melancholy Play: a chamber musical and a research project entitled "Violent Defoliations" surrounding the transmasculine roots of Middle-American, post-Vietnam War family drama. Due to all-consuming synesthesia—and a propensity for radical, queer activism—Jo may conflate their creative and social justice work. Rezes advocates for prison abolition, the visibility of LGBTQ+ homeless youth, and arts education accessibility for lower-income students. As such, Jo is developing methods to direct socially conscious theatre in educational and commercial spaces. They are a member of the Dramatists Guild of America. johnmichaelrezes.com
Jessica Pearson Jessica Pearson
Jessica Pearson is a Ph.D. student at Tufts. She spent ten years in the Washington, D.C., area where she completed her B.A. in Drama and M.A. in History, Criticism, and Dramaturgy at The Catholic University of America and worked as the Lead Teaching Artist at Round House Theatre, a major regional theatre in Bethesda, MD. Her research interests include the 20th century American musical, and the agency and authorship of women in popular media.
İrem Seçil Reel Şen İrem Seçil Reel Şen
İrem Seçil Reel Şen, a theatre scholar/artist, has worked as a director, dramaturg, and theatre educator. A doctoral candidate in Theatre and Performance Studies Program, Seçil researches phenomenology, cross-cultural performance, gender, labor, and diaspora. She is the recipient of the Tufts Theatre and Performance Studies' 2018 Kalman A. Burnim Prize for Scholarly Excellence in Drama. Her work as an editor and translator appears in the first English language edition of Yula's anthology Unofficial Roxelana and Other Plays by Özen Yula, published by The University of Chicago Press. Her dissertation is a performance ethnography, in which she studies Turkish-American women's creative labor in practices such as cooking, philanthropy, and dancing. As an extension of her research, she has also carried on an auto-ethnographic performance project named #phdmama that documents her balancing act of motherhood and continuing her graduate education. As a theatre practitioner, she recently directed a reading theatre of Obstacle Course as part of Silk Road Rising's artistic director and co-founder Jamil Khoury's residency at the Tufts Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies. She received fellowships from the Turkish Ministry of Culture and the Turkish Culture Foundation for her production and direction of Ambling Riders.
Hanife SchulteHanife Schulte
Hanife Schulte is a second-year doctoral student. Prior to Tufts University, she received M.A. degrees in theatre from Ankara University and Emerson College. At Emerson Stage, she served as dramaturg for Anything to Declare? directed by Benny Ambush Sato. DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) awarded her with a short-term research grant to conduct research on Bertolt Brecht and Frank Castorf in Berlin in 2016. She is also the recipient of The Performing Arts Graduate Award in the recognition of her master's thesis at Emerson College. Hanife has presented papers at various conferences including Arts Meet Research at the University of Hildesheim in Germany (2013), LMDAConference at Emerson College in Boston (2014), and Recycling Brecht at the Oxford University (2016). Her research interests include dramaturgy, German theatre and drama, postdramatic theatre, Bertolt Brecht, and Frank Castorf.
Hesam Sharifian Hesam Sharifian
Hesam Sharifian is a PhD Candidate, currently working on his dissertation entitled, "Americanizing Shakespeare in Print: Nineteenth Century American Illustrated Editions of Shakespeare's Work as Representations of National Identity," under the supervision of Laurence Senelick. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Dramatic Literature from Tehran University and a master's degree in Theatre History and Criticism from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Hesam's paper entitled "Werner Egk's Peer Gynt: Anti-Semitism in the Work of Komponist des Wiederaufbaus" (co-written with Sarah Henneböhl) was published by the New England Theatre Journal. He has presented his scholarship in several conferences including, the Comparative Drama Conference, the American Society for Theatre Research, and the Humanities Education and Research Association. Recognized by the professional associations of the fields of Theatre and Performance Studies, Hesam won the Helen Krich Chinoy Dissertation Award and the Thomas Marshal Graduate Student Award from the American Society for Theatre Research. He has also won several grants and research competitions, such as the Jay and Deborah Last Fellowship in American Visual Arts from the American Antiquarian Society, and the Tisch Library Fellowship in Humanities. Recently, he inaugurated a new Research Group at the American Society for Theatre Research entitled (Re)presenting Muslim Bodies of Performance (co-convened with Claire Pamment). His areas of scholarly interest include theatre and opera iconography, American commercial theatre in the long nineteenth century, German expressionist theatre and opera, and multi-culturalism in theatre.
Peter Spearman Peter Spearman
Peter Spearman is a PhD student from Charleston, SC. In 2015 he received his BA in English and Theatre Performance from the College of Charleston. While in Charleston he worked as an actor and director for the College of Charleston, Spoleto Festival, and Village Rep. at Wolfe Street Playhouse. He was also a founding member and director of the arts management group, Pop-Up Charleston. His most recent conference presentation at the International Conference on Romanticism was entitled Always Becoming never Being: The Monsterless Gothic in Joanna Baillie's 'Count Basil'. He received his MA in Theatre and Performance Studies from Tufts in Spring 2018. His MA thesis, The Man Within, explores depictions of blackness in superhero film, television and video game adaptations. At Tufts, Peter served as assistant director for the staged reading and workshop of Jamhil Khoury's Obstacle Course, and he served as director for the 2018 production of Stephen Sondheim's Assassins. His scholarly interests include architecture as performance, British Romantic theatre, comics, film, television and video games.
Tara-Brooke Watkins Tara-Brooke Watkins
Tara Brooke Watkins is a doctoral candidate. She holds an MA from Emerson College and a BA from Eastern Nazarene College. Her master's thesis on the performance art of Robbie McCauley, "Her Body as Voice," received the Emerson College Graduate Award and she has gone on to present at the ATHE conference on the work of McCauley and recently directed her in a revival of her award-winning play Sugar. With a special interest in seeking out the connections between hidden histories and current trends within a community, Tara combines her theatre research with ethnography. Past research projects include: the evangelical response to Salem’s Halloween carnival, Cambodian genocide survivors and descendents' performance in the Lowell Angkor Dance Company, and, currently, the untold tale of the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921. A practicing director and playwright, Tara's original ethnographic play The Bible Women's Project was recently accepted to the New York International Fringe Festival. She also owns and operates South Shore School of Theatre, a theatre school for children in Quincy, MA. She currently acts as the artistic director at Eastern Nazarene College.
Irina Yakubovskaya Irina Yakubovskaya
Irina Yakubovskaya is a PhD candidate working on her dissertation on Il'khom theatre of Mark Weil, the first global theatre company in Soviet and post-Soviet Russia. Currently, Irina teaches various acting and interdisciplinary humanities courses. Originally from Saratov, Russia, she studied French, Spanish, literature, translation, pedagogy, and culture with a B.A., from Saratov State University. After working in student theatre, television, film, magazines, and translation, she continued her academic career. Irina received her M.A. in French, Literature, Cultures and Theatre from Colorado State University in 2012. Since 2010, she has been a member of the Centre de la Francophonie des Amériques, and also participated in the First World Congress of French Language. Her research interests include cognitive sciences in theatre education, Acting techniques, Russian theatre, La Belle Époque, issues of translation and adaptation, and interdisciplinary global theatre.