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Theatre History

There’s so much to be learned from history, and theatre is no exception. If you’re looking to dive into theatre’s past, the Theatre History Podcast is the perfect place to start.

The Latest

I Write What Comes Up in My Body: Robbie McCauley's Theatre
Podcast
I Write What Comes Up in My Body: Robbie McCauley's Theatre
by Leticia Ridley, Jordan Ealey
24 August 2022
The Anti-War Play to End All War Plays: The Last Days of Mankind, 1922 to 2022
Essay
The Anti-War Play to End All War Plays: The Last Days of Mankind, 1922 to 2022
by Joel Schechter
16 August 2022
When and Where We Enter: Black Feminist Theatre
Podcast
When and Where We Enter: Black Feminist Theatre
by Leticia Ridley, Jordan Ealey
20 July 2022
Daughters of Lorraine Podcast teaser.
I Write What Comes Up in My Body: Robbie McCauley's Theatre
Podcast

I Write What Comes Up in My Body: Robbie McCauley's Theatre

24 August 2022

In this episode, Jordan Ealey and Leticia Ridley look at the life and legacy of playwright Robbie McCauley, who recently passed away. They discuss her work as a pioneer of solo performance as a Black woman and how she impacted the world of Black feminist theatre.

Two book covers side by side.
The Anti-War Play to End All War Plays: The Last Days of Mankind, 1922 to 2022
Essay

The Anti-War Play to End All War Plays: The Last Days of Mankind, 1922 to 2022

16 August 2022

Theatremaker Joel Schechter explains the importance of Karl Kraus’s The Last Days of Mankind and why he believes its anti-war message is still relevant today.

When and Where We Enter: Black Feminist Theatre
Podcast

When and Where We Enter: Black Feminist Theatre

20 July 2022

In this episode, Leticia and Jordan finally explain what they mean when they say Black feminism, especially in theatre and performance. They engage Lisa M. Anderson’s tenets of Black feminist drama, alongside other contemporary scholars and artists expansion of Black feminist theatre. They discuss Black feminist theory, black feminist practice in creative work, and black feminist theatre theory.

Daughters of Lorraine Podcast teaser.
Working Her Own Tune: Revisiting the Life, Legacy, and Work of Micki Grant
Podcast

Working Her Own Tune: Revisiting the Life, Legacy, and Work of Micki Grant

6 July 2022

This episode honors the life and work of composer, writer, and performer Micki Grant, who passed away in August 2021. Grant was the first Black woman to write and compose a musical that made it to Broadway, and she is also the subject of Jordan's dissertation.

Creating a Space for Black Theatre Audiences
Podcast

Creating a Space for Black Theatre Audiences

With Addae Moon

29 June 2022

This episode is an interview with Addae Moon, the associate artistic director at Theatrical Outfit in Atlanta, Georgia. We discuss his journey as a theatre artist; his playwright development lab, Hush Harbor Lab; and his own artistry and creativity.

Singin' a Black Girl's Song- Ntozake Shange and for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf
Podcast

Singin' a Black Girl's Song- Ntozake Shange and for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf

22 June 2022

This episode explores the recent revival of Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf, directed and choreographed by Camille A. Brown. Hosts Leticia Ridley and Jordan Ealey contextualize the production, its ongoing relevance and legacy, and its resonance in Black feminist theatre, dance, and performance.

sepia photo of a man at a desk looking at a paper.
Book Talk: Negotiating Copyright in the American Theatre: 1856-1951
Video

Book Talk: Negotiating Copyright in the American Theatre: 1856-1951

With author and Stanford Center for Law and History Fellow, Brent Salter

Thursday 5 May 2022
United States

The Stanford Center for Law and History and the Department of Theater and Performance Studies, Stanford presented a conversation around the book Negotiating Copyright in the American Theatre: 1856-1951 livestreaming on the commons-based peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Thursday 5 May 2022 at 12:40 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 2:40 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 3:40 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4).

A crowd of people watching a makeshift dragon and horse in the street.
Returning to the Streets: Street Theatre in Modern Society
Essay

Returning to the Streets: Street Theatre in Modern Society

26 April 2022

Sebastiano Spinella explores the importance of street theatre and the modern significance it still holds.

Close on the faces of  three actors staring into the camera.
The Fight for the Right to Vote
Essay

The Fight for the Right to Vote

13 January 2022

Carlyle Brown’s Down in Mississippi is a celebration of a movement that gave birth to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Brown sat down with Todd London in October 2020 to discuss the creative process, historical context, and contemporary resonance of his play.

Imagining a New Federal Theatre Project with Corinna Schulenberg and Dr. Elizabeth A. Osborne
Podcast

Imagining a New Federal Theatre Project with Corinna Schulenberg and Dr. Elizabeth A. Osborne

24 November 2021

As a part of the New Deal, the Federal Theatre Project of the 1930s funded theatre in the United States at an unprecedented level, providing paid work for trained theatremakers and low-cost performances to audiences all around the country. Corinna Schulenberg and Dr. Elizabeth A. Osborne discuss the history of the Federal Theatre Project and its potential to act as a model for a New Federal Theatre Project formed in conjunction with racial justice, climate justice, and Land Back movements.

Going Beyond Shakespeare
Podcast

Going Beyond Shakespeare

with Rob Crighton

17 November 2021

Shakespeare looms large over both the American and British theatre scenes. But his outsize influence means that we’ve long neglected a dizzying array of fascinating and brilliant theatre written by other early modern England dramatists. Robert Crighton and the Beyond Shakespeare Company are working to remedy this, and Robert joins us for this episode to discuss how they’re trying to expand our awareness of the theatre of this era.

A Theatre for the Oppressed? Dr. Amy Richlin on Slavery and Plautus
Podcast

A Theatre for the Oppressed? Dr. Amy Richlin on Slavery and Plautus

10 November 2021

The ancient Roman comedies of Plautus have inspired playwrights from Shakespeare to Sondheim. But they've also been seen as grim reminders of the oftentimes horrifying world of ancient Rome, where violence and slavery were commonplace. Dr. Amy Richlin joins Mike Lueger to talk about her book Slave Theater in the Roman Republic, which explores how Plautus's plays gave voice to enslaved persons during this era.

A portrait of Tana Wojczuk.
Lady Romeo: Learning About Nineteenth-Century Actress Charlotte Cushman with Tana Wojczuk
Podcast

Lady Romeo: Learning About Nineteenth-Century Actress Charlotte Cushman with Tana Wojczuk

3 November 2021

In the nineteenth century, Charlotte Cushman became United States’ first celebrity actress. Tana Wojczuk, who has written a new biography of Cushman, joins the Mike Lueger to talk about the actress’s remarkable life both on stage and off.

Introducing the University of Pittsburgh's August Wilson Archive
Podcast

Introducing the University of Pittsburgh's August Wilson Archive

With Dr. Sandra Shannon and Bill Daw

27 October 2021

As the University of Pittsburgh prepares to make August Wilson’s archive publicly accessible, Dr. Sandra G. Shannon and William Daw join Mike Leuger to discuss Wilson’s flourishing legacy.

event poster for the prelude festival 2021.
Prelude 2021: Start Making Sense!
Video

Prelude 2021: Start Making Sense!

An array of short performances, readings, and screenings, plus conversations with artists across the United States

Monday 25 October to Friday 29 October
United States

The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center at the Graduate Center, CUNY presented its 2021 PRELUDE festival, "Prelude 2021: Start Making Sense!," livestreaming on the commons-based peer produced HowlRound TV network from Monday 25 October to Friday 29 October 2021.

Passing Into History
Podcast

Passing Into History

Dr. Megan Sanborn Jones on Pageants and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

13 October 2021

In this week’s Theatre History Podcast, Dr. Megan Sanborn Jones discusses the history of Mormons in theatre and the pageant tradition in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Through her deep research on these pageants, Dr. Jones explores the unique fusion of faith, history, and performance in Mormon pageantry.

Learning About the History—and Future—of Stand-up Comedy
Podcast

Learning About the History—and Future—of Stand-up Comedy

With Rachel Blackburn

29 September 2021

Michael Lueger is joined by director, performer, and educator Dr. Rachel Blackburn to discuss diversity and intersectionality within the stand-up comedy world and how comics are engaging with social issues and movements.

Outline of iran with Quote
Iranian Blackface Clowns are Racist, No Matter How You Sugarcoat Them in Obscure Archaic Mythology
Essay

Iranian Blackface Clowns are Racist, No Matter How You Sugarcoat Them in Obscure Archaic Mythology

A Fragmented Argument in Five Acts

10 May 2021

Hesam Sharifian reflects on how the blackface mask of the Hāji Firuz and Siāh-Bāzi clowns in Iran is reminiscent of an ugly past and should not be used in performance today.

A picture of puppets on stage.
La Máquina Real / La Máquina Real
Essay

La Máquina Real / La Máquina Real

Reviving a Baroque Puppet Tradition / Recupera los títeres de una tradición perdida

8 April 2021

Emilio Williams sits down with Jesús Caballero to talk about the lost puppetry genre called la máquina real and Jesús’s company in Spain that works to reimagine this Baroque art form. / Emilio Williams entabla una conversación con Jesús Caballero sobre un género de teatro de títeres olvidado de nombre la máquina real y los esfuerzos de Jesús y su compañía en España por recuperar esta tradición barroca.

protestors at the people's climate march
Puppets in Protest
Essay

Puppets in Protest

6 April 2021

Sarah Plummer discusses how puppets aid socially engaged groups during protests in three key ways: amplifying tension, creating accessible messaging, and evoking solidarity.

an actor onstage
Write the Software and Let the World Have It
Essay

Write the Software and Let the World Have It

Forty Years of Internet Performance

14 January 2021

In this article for the Performing the Internet series, Miller Puckette and Onyx Ashanti get together for a conversation about the changing landscape of multimedia technology in the arts, how technologically mediated performance practices have taken on new relevance in the post-COVID era, and more.

black and white photo of a large group with one person at a microphone
Beyond the Raisin: The Incredible Brief Life of Lorraine Hansberry
Podcast

Beyond the Raisin: The Incredible Brief Life of Lorraine Hansberry

Daughters of Lorraine Podcast Episode #7

9 September 2020

The Daughters of Lorraine Podcast returns for another episode where hosts Jordan Ealey and Leticia Ridely discuss Lorraine Hansberry's life, legacy, and other works of theatre and literature.

madeline sayet holding a paper shakespeare mask
Interrogating the Shakespeare System
Essay

Interrogating the Shakespeare System

31 August 2020

Madeline Sayet argues that promoting Shakespeare as the best writer of all time is a dangerous and white supremacist viewpoint, and she believes it’s time to interrogate the Bard’s placecent as the pinnacle of theatrical achievement.

scan of a vintage text
The New Antitheatrical Prejudice
Essay

The New Antitheatrical Prejudice

18 August 2020

Seth Wilson argues that the relatively low reputation of the study and pursuit of theatre is the primary way antitheatricalism manifests itself today.

two actors onstage
Female Playwrights, Hispanic Comedia
Essay

Female Playwrights, Hispanic Comedia

A Jubilee Primer

16 March 2020

Barbara Fuchs and Rafael Jaime argue that beyond the English-language theatrical canon lies a rich corpus of classical work that remains remarkably hospitable to women, focusing their discussion on two playwrights: Ana Caro and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz.