Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Joan Herrington

Second Advisor

Mark Liermann


There is a large lack of discussion and writing concerning the intersections of queer theory, theatre as an art form, and student direction. My thesis attempts to add to this small amount of work. Using historical evidence, I define radical queer theory and its implications for art. I contextualize my own work in the rehearsal room with the piece Screaming, Humming by Hannah Manikowski with this framework, and speak to my experience of casting and rehearsal.

As a student director whose acting collaborators are also students, there are additional considerations to be taken into account. This experience also serves as an educational endeavor for my actors, as well as myself, and in this way, I am also an educator. A common factor in the work of a director and director who is also an educator is in the shared goal to lead the process towards a production that all parties consider artistically sound and valuable. To be artistically sound and valuable when working with queer narratives means, to me, the ability to emphasize difference, both of the characters from the world around them, and also of my experience from more traditional directorial work.

Often, what society believes to be the “other” can create a discourse that benefits the population at large. It is in this way that queer works have value to the greater community in which they are created. The tension created by the existence of difference can lead to innovation and the restructuring of societal norms. Using a queer lens, I examine the rehearsal process of this piece in full, as well as how the production and performance of queer theatre impact those who watch it, especially queer audience members. The process of sharing a story, physically in the same space as actors who embody difference in their characters’ wants, desires, and actions, serves to not only humanize these characters and the real people like them, but also to create much needed visibility for those who do not get to see their narratives in popular culture. This thesis serves as a personal reflection, and also as an encouragement to theatre artists to see the importance of queer narratives.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access