Kelly Howe, Ph.D.
Title/s: Associate Professor of Theatre
Specialty Area: Theatre Theory, History, and Criticism
Office #: Mundelein 1305
Dr. Kelly Howe teaches courses in theatre theory, history, criticism, and dramaturgy. She is a scholar/teacher/artist/activist whose research and practice focus on the following areas of study: Theatre of the Oppressed; histories of theatre for social change; activism and protest as performance; feminist, queer, Marxist, and critical race theories; critical pedagogy; dramaturgy, devising, and new play development.
Howe collaborated with Julian Boal and Scot McElvany to co-edit Theatre of the Oppressed in Actions: An Audio-Visual Introduction to Boal’s Forum Theatre (Routledge 2015; a DVD and accompanying collection of short essays), and she is co-editing a new companion to Theatre of the Oppressed with Julian Boal and José Soeiro. Howe’s research currently follows two core lines of inquiry: the first examines radical performances for reproductive justice in the US post-2010, and the second considers the challenges and contradictions of Theatre of the Oppressed practice under neoliberalism in the US. Howe’s writing also appears in Theatre Journal, Theatre Topics, Text and Performance Quarterly, Comparative Drama, etc.
Howe served two terms as President of Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed, Inc. (PTO) and remains on PTO’s board of directors. She has co-chaired and organized three of PTO’s international conferences: Austin 2010, Chicago 2011, and Chicago 2015. She is the Vice President for Conference 2016 for the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE), and will chair ATHE’s 30th anniversary conference, “Bodies at Work: Performance, Labor, and ATHE @ 30,” in Chicago in 2016. She has served as the secretary for ATHE’s Theatre and Social Change focus group and presented often with ATHE’s focus groups in Women and Theatre (WTP) and Theory & Criticism. She presents frequently on activist performance at the conferences of the American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR) and is an advisory board member of the recently-founded Jana Sanskriti International Research and Resource Institute, West Bengal, India.
Howe is Resident Dramaturg and Director of New Play Development at The Other Theatre Company (Chicago), where she recently dramaturged Anna Deavere Smith’s Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 and directed the development workshop for Bryan Renaud’s The Hole. She was a consulting dramaturg on A Broken Umbrella Theatre’s Freewheelers (New Haven, CT). As a director, she has worked on the following plays, among others: Gertrude Stein’s Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights, Ellen McLaughlin’s Iphigenia and Other Daughters, Juan Mayorga’s Way to Heaven, Brecht and Weill’s The Threepenny Opera, George Brant’s Elephant’s Graveyard, Martín Zimmerman’s Phoenix Unforgiven, Sarah Myers’ The Realm, and The Eye & Tooth Project (co-directed with Kathleen Juhl).
Howe previously taught in the theatre department at North Central College (where she was the coordinator of the Gender and Women’s Studies Program and faculty coordinator of the Safe Zone LGBTQIA ally education program) and at the University of Texas at Austin.
Ph.D. in Performance as Public Practice (Theory/History/Criticism), University of Texas at Austin
M.A. in Performance as Public Practice (Theory/History/Criticism), University of Texas at Austin
B.A. in Theatre and English, Muhlenberg College