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Alex Baines

Alex Baines received a BA in English Language and Literature from the University of Oxford and an MA in Text and Performance from Birkbeck, University of London and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. His research examines the community function of reconstructed, repurposed, and historically resonant aesthetic and performance spaces, particularly in contexts of Britain and empire. He has lived and worked as an educator and theatre maker in various places around the world including Cambridge (UK), Moscow, rural south-west England, and Shanghai. Alex is affiliated with the British Studies cluster and is the recipient of a Mellon Interdisciplinary Cluster Fellowship.

Will Bixby

Will Bixby holds a BFA in Theatre and Dance from Missouri State University and an MA in English from George Washington University. Will is a puppetry practitioner and scholar whose current research interests focus on puppet performance, materialism, affect studies, and gender. Will is also a trained actor and has performed and directed for a number of companies.

Jooyoung Cho

Jooyoung Cho (she/they) is a theatre scholar, dramaturg, media and theatre artist, and educator. She received her BA in English literature with a Secondary School Teacher’s Certificate in English and a minor in Media Interaction Design at Ewha Womans University. Her MA in English literature, also at Ewha, holds a concentration in modern British and American drama. Her master’s thesis, which received an Ewha Outstanding Graduate Thesis Award, dealt with Tom Stoppard’s unique utopianism projected onto the landscape garden in Arcadia (1993). Her article on the ecodramaturgy of Carla and Lewis (2010) has been published in The Journal of Modern English Drama. Her research interests include multi-/interspecies performance, connecting veganism with animal plays and animal liberation movements as a performance/ritual, ecodrama(turgy), the ecopolitics of poetics in drama, theatrical aesthetics, and everyday performances that illuminate humans’ mutual enmeshment with the nonhuman world. She is particularly interested in analyzing dramatic text as well as contemporary theatre and performance through the intersection of environmental humanities with affect, race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, food, disability, and transnationalism. Before joining IPTD, she served as an actor, educator, dramaturg, director, designer, and interpreter/translator in numerous productions, and as a writer/reviewer/editor for theater publications in South Korea. At Northwestern, she dramaturged Imagine U: Me…Jane: The Dreams & Adventures of Young Jane Goodall at the Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts. She believes that theatre, where we constantly transform ourselves and where tomorrow’s performance awaits, is an imminent utopia that is not yet real but immanent in the present.

Deon Custard

Deon Custard completed BAs in English and Theatre (Directing) at Bates College in Lewiston, ME before beginning at Northwestern in the fall of 2021. Current research interests are focused on Shakespeare’s plays (as literature and as malleable performance texts), the carnivalesque and other comic theories, the racialized body in performance, and how radical joy can be used to re-examine existing institutions. In addition to his work as a PhD student, Deon is a freelance director, lighting & sound designer, dramaturg, and teaching artist.

Ana Díaz Barriga

Ana Díaz Barriga is a puppetry practitioner and scholar interested in the application of cognitive science approaches and methods to the study of puppetry and spectatorship. She is the recipient of a Cognitive Science Advanced Research Fellowship and a Mellon Cluster Fellowship in Science Studies. Her current research investigates the sophisticated ways puppeteers guide viewers’ minds and bodies to make meaning of contemporary puppetry performance using methods from both cognitive science and theatre studies. Ana has presented her work at IFTR and ASTR. In addition to her research, she is also a CIRTL Scholar and a Graduate Teaching Mentor at the Searle Center for Advanced Learning and Teaching. Ana has a BA in Drama from the University of Glamorgan (UK) and an MA in Advanced Theatre Practice from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (UK).

Suzi Elnaggar

Suzi Elnaggar is an Egyptian-American performance scholar, freelance dramaturg, and theatre-maker. She was a 2021 Kennedy Center Dramaturgy Intensive Fellow and works as both a developmental and production dramaturg. She holds an M. A. in Theatre Studies from Baylor University, where she researched the work of Heather Raffo through the lens of trauma studies. She has been published in Asian Theatre Journal, Arab Stages, and Theatre Times. Her research interests include recontextualizing Greek tragedy, post-colonial theatre contexts, theatre of social change, the intersection of trauma and performance, and work that centers around SWA/MENA (Southwest Asian/Middle Eastern and North African) experiences. Her scholarship and practice center community, collaboration, and context.

Raunak Ghosh

An arts writer, curator, and photographer from New Delhi, India, Raunak’s writing and research is situated in the overlap between Indian expressionist performance(-filmography) and pop-culture(s) with reference to critical studies of communalism, caste, queerness, and race. They hold a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi, and an M.Phil in Film and Screen Studies from the University of Cambridge — where they were the recipient of the Joan Simms Prize for Academic Excellence. As a doctoral student of Interdisciplinary Theatre and Drama at Northwestern, Raunak will also be affiliated with the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program as a Mellon Foundation Interdisciplinary Cluster Fellow.

Phoenix Gonzalez

Phoenix Gonzalez earned her B.A. in Religion from Princeton University, with Certificates (minors) in Theater and Medieval Studies. After several years in New York City as a tech startup product manager by day, actor by night, and all around frequent Met Cloisters museum patron, she attended Yale Divinity School and the Institute of Sacred Music to study the intersection of Christian ritual and theater in the Middle Ages. There, she received her Master of Arts in Religion and continued on the medieval drama wagon out to Chicago. The recipient of a Mellon Cluster Fellowship in Medieval Studies, at Northwestern, her research centers medieval drama then and now, and she is committed to merging her scholarly pursuits with her practice as an actor and director in staging these fascinating plays today.

Brandon Greenhouse

Brandon Greenhouse (he/him) is from Louisiana by way of Texas. He received his BFA in Musical Theatre from College of Santa Fe in New Mexico and an MFA in Acting from Northern Illinois University. His research focuses on the lineages of Black performativity. He explores 19th century orators and ministerial figures to excavate lexicons of sound, movement, and meaning making. He is also interested in how these early engagements with religious performance laid the groundwork for future iterations of Black theatricality. Extending from a long line of Southern ministers, Brandon grounds much of his work in his foundational religious experiences. Working with familial archives and first person encounter, he weaves experiential knowledge and historical record to track the evolution of Black performance both inside and outside of the church.

Heather Grimm

Heather Grimm holds a BA in Theatre and Economics from Denison University and an MA in Theatre and Performance from Queen Mary University of London. Her research interests include the history of popular entertainment, comedy studies, ethnographic methods, historiography, and audience studies. Heather’s dissertation is an ethnographic study of bluegrass music in the Midwest that applies methods from theatre studies to popular music performance. At Northwestern, Heather serves as a Graduate Writing Place Fellow and is affiliated with the Critical Theory Cluster.

Gillian Hemme

Gillian Hemme received her BA in Theatre from Grinnell College and her MA in Theatre and Performative Practices from University College Cork. Her work uses embodied practices and autoethnography to investigate transgenerational carceral trauma. Gillian’s recent research has focused on Catholic Church-run carceral institutions, including Ireland’s Mother and Baby Homes. She has served as the director of Piven Theatre Workshop’s EPIC (Ensemble Play in Corrections) program at Cook County Jail since co-founding it in 2016. She is a recipient of a Mellon Cluster Fellowship in Gender and Sexuality Studies. Gillian is also a performer, playwright, and director. She invites you to learn more about her work at

Claudia Kinahan

Claudia is a scholar-artist from Co.Clare in Ireland. Her doctoral research examines how ‘virtual women’ like female-gendered robots, avatars and Barbie dolls perform gendered and racialized scripts of embodiment and develop meaningful human-nonhuman relations. She has presented her work at venues such as the Society of Cinema and Media Studies, the American Society for Theatre Research, and the Volkenburg Symposium at the Chicago International Puppet Theatre Festival. Claudia is the recipient of the Herman Diedrich and Richard Johnson Families Scholarship and the Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship from NU and the Arts and Humanities Council Prize from the University of Texas at Dallas. From 2023-2024 she will serve as the Graduate Assistant for the Public Humanities at the Kaplan Institute. She holds a First Class Hons. BA with a Gold Medal in Drama and Theatre Studies from Trinity College, Dublin.

Claudia also maintains a creative practice and as an award-winning theatre maker has directed, written, and performed for numerous stages and companies in her native Ireland including Smock Alley Theatre, The Abbey Theatre, The New Theatre, The Samuel Beckett Theatre, and RTÉ Television. In her new home of Chicago, she has worked with Remy Bumppo Theatre Company, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Rough House Theatre, and the American Music Theatre Project. Claudia is passionate about practice-based-research and often bridges her scholarly and artistic pursuits through her creative work. She invites you to find out more about her work at

Alex Knapp

Alex Knapp is a PhD student in Northwestern University’s Interdisciplinary PhD in Theatre and Drama. Alex’s research interests focus on contemporary performance, materialism(s)/material culture, and aesthetic theory with respect to ecology, affect studies, human-nonhuman relations, and political history, theory, and economy. His essay “Breathing Bricks: Nut Brother’s Dust Project and the Politics of Particulate Matter” won the 2021 TDR Student Essay Contest. Alex is also a trained actor.

Chloë Jackson

Chloë Jackson (she/they) earned her B.A. in Theatre and Performance and English from Spelman College (May 2021). Her academic work surrounds questions of how Black life is experienced, documented, and performed, using 20th-century Black theatrical and literary works as frames of analysis. Particularly, they maintain an investment in Black women, queer folk, and the American South. Chloë’s recent research explored Black Southern matriarchs as moral authorities within and beyond the Harlem Renaissance. Alongside her academic work, she is a dramaturg and educator.

Liz Laurie

Liz Laurie received her BA in Classical Civilization from New York University and an MA in Theatre from Hunter College. Her dissertation project explores representations of gender and sexuality in cosplay at fan conventions in the United States. Her research interests include popular culture, digital humanities, and fan practice as performance. She is affiliated with the Gender and Sexuality Cluster and is a fellow at Northwestern’s The Writing Place.

Noah Marcus

Noah Marcus earned both his BA in Theatre and his MA in Theatre Theory and Dramaturgy from the University of Ottawa where he wrote his thesis on the performance of Jewish rituals in real life and their performance on the theatrical stage in The Dybbuk: Or Between Two Worlds. His research interests include Jewish theatre, Jewish rituals, and the performance of identity. He is interested in not only how Jewish identity is created and performed on the stage, but also how such theatrical performances of Jewishness interact with existing Jewish identities and/or create a new sense of Jewishness at both the individual and community level. Noah is affiliated with the Jewish Studies Interdisciplinary Cluster and is the recipient of a Mellon Interdisciplinary Cluster Fellowship.

Mariel Melendez Mulero
Mariel Melendez Mulero (she/her) is an ethnographer, artist, and educator. She obtained a BA in Anthropology from the University of Puerto Rico and an MA in Dance Anthropology from the University of Roehampton in London. She is also a classically trained dancer. As an undergrad and NIMH-Career Opportunities in Research Fellow, conducted research in the fields of Psychology, Sociology, and  Medical Anthropology. While in London, studied Voguing culture
through embodiment, documenting ways of empowerment and building community through performative acts. Upon her return to Puerto Rico, obtained her certificate in Montessori adolescent studies, and enjoyed working as a guide (teacher). Currently a PhD student in the Theater and Drama program at Northwestern University, her research interests are Puerto Rican dance and corporealities, construction of trans/national identities, memory, and the corporeal archive.
Gabrielle Randle

Gabrielle Randle received a BA in Drama and Sociology from Stanford University and an MA in Performance as Public Practice from The University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests include conscious dramaturgical interventions in the staging of protest and survival. Her research currently centers on the acts of testimony and witness in the performance of Black Women Revolutionaries. Gabrielle is affiliated with the Comparative Race and Diaspora Cluster and is the recipient of a Mellon Interdisciplinary Cluster Fellowship.

Sierra Rosetta

Sierra Rosetta received her BA from Northwestern College (Orange City, Iowa) in 2023 where she graduated summa cum laude as an outstanding senior with faculty and academic honors. An award-winning dramaturg, Sierra worked at the O’Neill Theater Center in Connecticut on their literary team as a dramaturg as well as the Kennedy Center. In 2022, she completed a Summer Research Opportunity Program through Northwestern University where she received an Early Admission Decision into IPTD. Her research includes South Asian Aesthetic Theory with an emphasis in Drama Therapy Methods. A member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Chippewa Nation, Sierra also studies Indigenous oral history traditions. With a heart for diversity, travel, and food, Sierra can say the phrase “I lost my taco truck” in 12 languages.

Rachel Russell

Rachel Russell, from Baltimore, MD, holds a BFA in Dance Pedagogy from Columbia College Chicago and a MA in Performance Studies from New York University. Her research includes understanding, documenting, and conceptualizing the present day history of Black Women dancers, choreographers and their predecessors. Rachel is affiliated with the Interdisciplinary Cluster in Gender & Sexuality and is the recipient of a Mellon Interdisciplinary Cluster Fellowship.

Caroline Shadle

Caroline Shadle received a BA in American Studies and English from Wesleyan University (CT) and an MA in Dance Studies from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, where she was a Dean’s Scholar. Caroline researches twentieth-century dance, with a focus on Chicago dance history. Caroline is also a freelance dance writer and has written for publications including Dance MagazineDance Teacher, and Fjord Review.

Emry Sottile

Emry Sottile is an active role-player, theatre practitioner, dramaturg, stage manager, and writer in the PhD program. Prior to their doctoral work, they received an M.A. in War in Society, a B.F.A. in Television Writing and Production, and a B.A. in History from Chapman University. Their research is situated within theatre, queer, and role-playing game studies and focuses on fantasy-based performance practices —including table-top role-playing games and Renaissance Faires— that push the limits of what can be considered ‘theatre’ and have utopian potential for participants in the face of digital age neoliberalism. Their secondary research interest focuses on musical theatre as a site of cultural memory in Western society that can make and break myths surrounding both national and personal identity and past research examines musical theatre representations of American war in East Asia from the 1940s to the present day and the evolution of Second World War memory on and off-Broadway.

Rebecca Turner

Rebecca Turner holds a BA in English (Drama and Theatre) and Jewish Studies from McGill University. Her research focuses on Yiddish women dramatists with the goal to document, understand, and uplift their writings from marginalized genres such as children’s theatre and shund [trash] musicals as well as “high art” and political dramas. Her research interests also include conceptions of Yiddishkeit, Jewish female immigrant identity, and “radical” political alignment on and off the pre-WWII Yiddish stage. Rebecca is affiliated with the Jewish Studies Interdisciplinary Cluster and is the recipient of a Mellon Cluster Fellowship. She is also a director, playwright, and translator.

Elena Weber

Elena Weber received her BA and MA in Media Studies, Theater Studies and Art History from the University of Cologne. Her research interests include ethnographic methods, urban studies, spatial practices, and the performative reproduction and reenactment of history. Elena’s dissertation is a mixed-method, ethnographic and archival project on public performances in Rome’s historic center. It creates a genealogy centralizing performances in the formation and perpetuation of ideology.