Lydia Abel is a PhD candidate
specializing in contemporary American drama and avant-garde
theatre of the twentieth-century. Her dissertation, entitled
The Expansion of Media: Collage Culture and the (New)
American Theatre, interrogates the function of collage
techniques and practices in twentieth century American
theatre history, centering around avant-garde theatre from
post-World War II to the present. She holds an MA from Miami
University of Ohio, where she studied Soviet theatre and
popular culture. Her master’s thesis was titled, "Jester To
His Majesty The People" Or Jester To His Majesty The
Soviets: Politics Of Clowning During The Russian Civil War.
In addition to having presented research at conferences such
as the American Society for Theatre Research, The Space
Between Society, and The Louisville Conference on Literature
and Culture Since 1900, Lydia has also benefitted from
participation in the Mellon School for Theatre and
Performance Research at Harvard in 2015.
Daniel Ciba is entering his fourth year as Ph. D. Candidate
in Drama. He received his M.A. in Theatre from Villanova
University in 2012, where he served as dramaturg for Marina
Carr's Woman and Scarecrow.
He has presented research on, Tennessee Williams, memory
studies, adaptation theory, and queer performance at the
Indiana University's Graduate Theater Symposium, the
Philadelphia Theatre Research Symposium, the Association of
Theatre in Higher Education, the Humanities Education and
Research Association and, most recently, at the South
Eastern Theatre Conference Theatre Symposium, where he
presented a paper on Lee Breuer's French production of A
Streetcar Named Desire. Last year, he served as the
Chair of Student Life for the Graduate Student Council,
mentored undergraduate teaching artists as the Theatre Arts
Education Instructor for the Boston Shakespeare Project, and
received the Most Valuable Tutor Award for his work as a
Time Management Consultant with the Academic Resource
Ibby Cizmar is a PhD candidate writing her dissertation on Ernie McClintock's Jazz acting technique,
which explores the intersection of acting theory, culture, and politics from 1966 to present day.
A trained actor with an MFA from the Actors Studio Drama School, she has professionally acted directed
and produced in NYC for the past 15 years in theatre, film and television. She is an Associate
Faculty member at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts where she teaches acting, acting for musical
theatre and theatre history. This fall she is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the department of theatre
& dance at Bucknell University where she will teach theatre history. She is looking forward to directing
Jose Rivera's "Marisol" as Bucknell's Fall 2016 mainstage production.
Nicholas Coccoma is a first-year Ph.D. candidate at Tufts, with
research interests in medieval theater, dramatic theory,
film, and modern drama. He is particularly drawn to the
intersection of religion and drama; philosophies of
catharsis; American film from the late Sixties through early
Seventies; and Eugene O'Neill. Nick graduated from the
College of the Holy Cross in 2006, where he studied dramatic
literature and acting. A native of Cooperstown, NY, he has
lived in Boston for over eight years, where he has worked as
a teacher, actor, movie critic, and chaplain. He holds
Masters degrees in both Philosophy and Theology from Boston
Steve Drum is a third-year PhD student 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. He 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
Emma is a Ph.D. candidate at
Tufts University. She 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 Masters 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. In
2015, she served as the graduate dramaturg for the
department's mainstage production of Richard III and
is looking forward to working as the dramaturg for the
upcoming mainstage production of Desire Under the Elms.
In addition to her academic pursuits, she also works at
ArtsBoston, a performing arts nonprofit geared towards
audience development and arts promotion in the Greater
Boston area. She is currently working on 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.
Jenny Herron is entering her fourth year as a Tufts Drama graduate student.
Having recently earned her Master's degree in Drama 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.
Beck Holden is a Ph.D. candidate in Drama. His primary research area is black theatre in America,
and his dissertation examines the oeuvre and the afterlife of the early black musical comedy ensemble
the Williams and Walker Company from roughly 1900 to 1930 through the lens its important but overlooked
members Jesse Shipp and Alex Rogers. He has presented his research at ASTR, ATHE, the Comparative
Drama Conference, the Mid-America Theatre Conference, and the Tufts Graduate Humanities Conference.
His first peer-reviewed article was recently accepted to 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 Huang
Yizhou Huang is entering her fourth year as a Ph.D. student in the Department of Drama and Dance.
She received her B.A. in English literature from Beijing Foreign Studies University in 2013 and
her M.A. in Drama 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
Theresa Incampo is a first year master's 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,
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 articulating
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 the Comparative Drama
Conference, Mid-America Theatre Conference, and ASTR. He is
a fellow at the Center for Humanities at Tufts and has
previously received the Tisch Library Graduate Humanities
fellowship. Prior to his arrival at Tufts, he worked as an
actor and literary manager in Chicago, and teaches acting
with a particular focus on Viewpoints training.
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 Boston Center for the Arts.
Amy received BAs in Theatre and English from Connecticut College and an MA in
Drama from Tufts. At Tufts, she teaches for the Academic Resource Center and
the Experimental College. She is currently a Lecturer in Theatre at Boston College.
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. Last year, he won the Tufts Graduate Student Research
Award, which he used to travel to Tehran to conduct archival
and ethnographic research. 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.
Currently he is an adjunct instructor at Emerson University.
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 Drama from
Michael Leonard Kersey Morris
Michael 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.
Jessica Pearson is a first year Ph.D. candidate 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.
Tiffany Pounds-Williams is an ABD doctoral student currently writing
her dissertation: "Forgotten Figures: The Rhetorical Function of Tecmessa,
Chrysothemis, and Ismene in Tragedies of Sophocles and Selected Adaptations."
She received her Bachelor's Degree in Theatre Arts at California State University,
Bakersfield where she worked as the assistant in the Technical Theatre Department.
She then received her Master's in Theatre Education at Emerson College, where
her thesis was "The WOW Café Theatre: The First Ten Years." She founded the
preschool theatre company "Let's Pretend: Tiny Tots Theatre," which is in its
third season and most recently taught the drama course for kindergarten and
first graders at Fayerweather Street School's summer camp.
İrem Seçil Reel Şen
İrem Seçil Reel Şen, a theatre scholar/artist, has worked as a director, dramaturg,
and theatre educator. She is in her third year in the PhD program and studies
phenomenology, cross-cultural performance, gender, labor, and diaspora. She
currently works as the editor of the first English language edition of Yula's
anthology Unofficial Roxelana and Other Plays by Özen Yula, slated for
publication in January 2017 by The University of Chicago Press. She
received fellowships from the Turkish Ministry of Culture and the Turkish
Culture Foundation for her production and direction of Ambling Riders.
She presented her research on sema, a religious rite of Mevlevis
(whirling dervishes), at the ASTR and PSi. She recently participated in the
Mellon School of Theater and Performance Research at Harvard University, to
further expand her research about religion, theatre, and secularism.
Hanife Schulte is a first-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
Arts Meet Research at the University of Hildesheim in
Germany (2013), LMDA
Conference at Emerson College in Boston (2014), and
at the Oxford University (2016). Her research interests
include dramaturgy, German theatre and drama, postdramatic
theatre, Bertolt Brecht, and Frank Castorf.
Hesam Sharifian is a doctoral candidate in the
Department of Drama and Dance. He holds a bachelor's degree
in Dramatic Literature from Tehran University and a master's
degree in Theatre History from the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign. He is currently working on his
dissertation, entitled "Americanizing Shakespeare in Print:
Nineteenth-Century American Illustrated Editions of
Shakespeare as Representations of National Identity," an
iconographical study of the first American editions of
Shakespeare’s works. He has presented his research in
several national and international conferences, including
the American Society for Theatre Research, the Francologie
Conference at Tehran University, the Humanities Education
and Research Association, and the Comparative Drama
Conference. His latest paper entitled, "Werner Egk’s
Gynt: Anti-Semitism in the Work of Komponist des
Wiederaufbaus" (co-authored with Sarah Henneböhl) will
appear in the next issue of the New England Theatre Journal.
In Spring 2015, he served as a Visiting Instructor of
English at Wheaton College (M.A), and is currently working
with Tufts University’s newly established program of Film
and Media Studies. Beyond academia, he has worked for many
years as a theatre critic and translator for several
prominent Iranian newspapers and news agencies. 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
Deleah Silva is a first-year doctoral student. She received her
bachelor's degree in theatre from the University of Southern
California, along with a minor in cinema-television production.
Upon graduating, she worked in post-production in Southern
California before returning to theatre at Brigham Young
University, where she earned a master's degree in theatre
history and criticism in 2012. Deleah has presented at the
Mid-America Theatre Conference and served in various capacities
for ASTR's Graduate Student Caucus during her time at BYU. At
Tufts, Deleah plans to continue focusing on her research
interests, which include Samuel Beckett, Modern Irish Theatre,
and Irish Cinema.
Peter Spearman is a first year MA student from
Charleston, SC. In 2015 he received his BA in English and
Theatre Performance from the College of Charleston. He has
presented research at the International Conference on
Romanticism on Lord Byron and disability in
The Deformed Transformed. He has also spent the last two years in
arts management as part of a group called Pop-Up Charleston
where he organized Pop-Up concerts all over the city. In
2015 he participated in the College of Charleston's Spoleto
Festival series, Stelle di Domini, as an actor in Keith
Huff's A Steady Rain and as a director for Arthur Miller's
The Crucible. His research interests include Romanticism, disability studies,
and reading graphic novels as drama.
Katie Swimm is a PhD Candidate currently writing her dissertation,
"Theatre of the Mind: Towards A Dialogue between Mental Health and Theatrical
Practice in Nineteenth-Century Britain." Her work examines performances of
madness in the broader context of nineteenth-century medical discourse. Her
other academic interests include British theatre in the Regency and Victorian Eras,
religion in performance (particularly American Spiritualism and Evangelicalism),
the performance of science, and musical theatre. Katie has taught courses in
Acting at Tufts and Public Speaking at Dean College. This fall, she will teach
The History of Mental Illness on Stage and Screen at the Tufts Experimental College
as a Robyn Gittleman Graduate Teaching Fellow and a course in Performance Studies
at Dean College. She works as a Graduate Writing and Public Speaking consultant
for the Academic Resource Center and was a fellow at the Tufts Graduate Institute
for Teaching in the Summer and Fall of 2015. Katie also works as an actor and
director in the Boston area. She earned her MA in Literature from Northwestern
University, and a BFA in Theatre Performance/BA in English from Niagara University.
Catherine (Katya) Vrtis
Catherine (Katya) Vrtis is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of
Drama and Dance at Tufts University. Her dissertation, "Black,
White, and Red: The Radical Drama of Langston Hughes," considers the
writer's plays from his first, Mulatto, to the last written before
World War II, the six short plays in the Limitations of Life set.
She is interested in the history of radical thought in America, the
form and function of propaganda, Russian drama, and the early 20th
century artistic avant garde. In 2010 she received the Tufts
Graduate School Summer Initiative for Doctoral Studies in the
Humanities fellowship to support her dissertation research.
Tara Brooke Watkins is a third year PhD student. 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.
Her research interests include finding intersections between
community history, African-American drama and performance,
religion, August Strindberg, and sexuality.
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.