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When the Tony Awards ceremony highlighted the year’s best work in the theater on Sunday, a Duke alumna walked away with one of the most prestigious awards. Danya Taymor (T’ 10) won the award for Best Direction of a Musical, for her work on “The Outsiders.” The play, based on the classic novel by S.E. Hinton and the movie by Francis Ford Coppola, follows working-class teen Ponyboy and his friends in 1967 Tulsa as they struggle against an affluent rival gang. It was the first nomination for Taymor. In winning the directing… read more about Duke Alumna Danya Taymor Wins Tony Award for Direction »

Hannah Haverkamp, Lecturing Fellow of Theater Studies in the Department of Theater Studies at Duke, immerses herself in the performing arts on campus. In her role, she oversees the costume shop, making garments alongside work-study students, while also teaching the fundamentals of theatrical construction. The costume shop is responsible for creating garments for annual main stage productions as well as faculty led projects. Haverkamp, who recently finished her first academic year in the department, brims with excitement… read more about A Duke Workday: Working Hand in Hand with Students to Create Theatrical Performances »

Ben Davies is a graduating senior with majors in Italian Studies and Theater Studies and has served as a Trinity Ambassador for the Department of Theater Studies. Trinity Ambassadors are student volunteers, nominated by their departments, to serve in this unique and important role. We asked a few of the ambassadors from the Class of 2024 to share their favorite memories from Duke. The below interview has been slightly edited for clarity. What was one of the most impactful classes you took during your time at Duke… read more about Class of 2024: Ben Davies »

Emi Hegarty’s distinction project, Biology, Movement and Theater, is a true synthesis of the senior’s four years at Duke. It encompasses not just what she’s learned in her undergraduate career, but also the connections she’s made between her two majors, Theater Studies and Biology. The idea for the project was born when Hegarty was introduced to the concept of Umwelt in Professor Stephen Nowicki’s Mechanisms of Animal Behavior class. Umwelt, she explained, is a notion that Baltic-German… read more about Using Biology to Build a Character’s World »

“As a playwright, you have the freedom to tell the audience what kind of world they are experiencing,” said Isa Mellody, “but the rules have to be well thought out and specific.” Mellody, who is graduating with a major in Theater Studies, spent her senior year developing rules for the world she built for her distinction project, Do I Know You?, an original play written under the direction of Professor Neal Bell. "Do I Know You? is about a college student, Kat, who's in the often painful, often… read more about Discovering the Playwright Within: Isa Mellody Asks Do I Know You? »

This spring, students in Chauntee’ Schuler Irving's course Acting for the Camera: On Location had a very specific location in mind: The Hunger Games arena. With funds made possible through the David L. Paletz Innovative Teaching Fund, Irving rented a studio and hired a professional director, director of photography and makeup artist for the filming of a scene from The Hunger Games. The experiential learning and innovative teaching methods Irving deployed in the course helped… read more about Student Reflections on Acting for the Camera: On Location with Chauntee’ Schuler Irving's Course »

The Department of Theater Studies is proud to announce the student award winners for 2024. To learn more about these awards, visit the student awards and grants page.   Harold Brody Award for Excellence in Musical Theater Sam Carpenter John M. Clum Distinguished Theater Studies Graduate Award Emi Hegarty and Isa Mellody The Dale B.J. Randall Award in Dramatic Literature Not Awarded 2024 Award for Excellence in Directing Khiyali… read more about Congratulations to Our 2024 Student Award Winners »

Are memories — unflinching reminders of who we used to be and what we used to love — a blessing or a curse? This is a central question in Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice, the Department of Theater Studies’ Spring 2024 Mainstage production. Poster for Duke Theater Studies’ Spring 2024 production of Sarah Ruhl’s “Eurydice." (Miel Creative Studio) Directed by Jules Odendahl-James, Eurydice offers a modern examination of the classical Greek story of doomed lovers Orpheus and… read more about Sarah Ruhl’s “Eurydice” Tackles Love and Loss »

The Department of Theater Studies is hiring for the position of Lecturing Fellow, full-time nontenure track union position specialized in design & theater technology. The candidate filling the position will need to meet the following requirements: an MFA in Theater or a related field at the time of hire teaching up to three courses per year in the area of Design and Theater Technology, focused on sound or video or projection design or some combination of the three designing sound and/or video and/or… read more about Job Announcement: Lecturing Fellow »

Esther Kim Lee, Frances Hill Fox Professor of Theater Studies, was awarded the 2023 Barnard Hewitt Award for Outstanding Research in Theatre History for her book Made Up Asians: Yellowface During the Exclusion Era.   The Barnard Hewitt Award is given annually to the best book in theater history or related disciplines and is widely considered the most significant prize in the field. The awardee is also given a $2,000 prize.   Lee’s book looks at how yellowface, the practice where white actors portrayed… read more about Esther Kim Lee Wins Barnard Hewitt Award  »

“I love origin stories,” Johann Montozzi-Wood said.  Montozzi-Wood (he/they), assistant professor of the practice in the department of Theater Studies, had just moved into a new studio and was settling in. Gentle music played, the fragrant scent of tea filled the air and large windows along one wall provided soft light.  In his latest project, Montozzi-Woods explores both personal and universal questions of place and belonging. (Photo courtesy of Johann Montozzi-Wood) In… read more about Embodying Our Ancestors: Johann Montozzi-Wood’s "Grandfathered In"  »

Tom Zhang thinks you have issues. In fact, Zhang believes all of us do. It’s just a matter of discovering them, digging deep and uncovering our unconscious (and not so unconscious) biases. Their new devised work, DEI: Discovering Everyone’s Issues (the title a play on the abbreviation for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives), encourages the audience to explore these biases through a combination of workshop and scripted performance. With five student actors, Zhang, artist-in-residence this year in the… read more about Tom Zhang’s New Show Challenges You to Discover Your DEI Issues »

James T. Lane, a Broadway veteran and creator of the hit Off Broadway show, Triple Threat, joined students from Duke and Durham Public Schools for a two-day Broadway masterclass in October 2023. “What students learned quickly about James, a singer, actor and dancer who has performed in over ten Broadway, Off Broadway, and West End productions along with roles in television and film, is that he is truly a triple threat in every sense of the word,” said Chauntee' Schuler Irving… read more about James T. Lane leads workshops with students from Duke and Durham Public Schools »

The course of Esther Kim Lee’s scholarship was set by a book that didn’t exist. When she accepted the 2023 Distinguished Scholar Award from the American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR) on November 11, Duke's Frances Hill Fox Professor of Theater Studies, International Comparative Studies and History recounted an experience from her days as a graduate student at The Ohio State University in the 1990s. While working on her dissertation, Lee searched the library for books about the history of Asian American theater. To… read more about Esther Kim Lee Wins American Society for Theatre Research’s Distinguished Scholar Award »

The Duke University Department of Theater Studies will present William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night as its Fall 2023 Mainstage production. English actor, teacher and director Jonathan Cullen, in residency at Duke this semester, will direct the all-student cast. Twelfth Night runs from November 9-18 in the von der Heyden Studio Theater in the Rubenstein Arts Center on the Duke University campus. Cullen's theatrical career in England has included major roles with the Royal Shakespeare… read more about Twelfth Night, Fall 2023 Mainstage Production, Opens November 9th »

Tom Zhang (they/them) is Duke Theater Studies’ Artist-in-Residence for the 2023-2024 academic year. Tom is an actor and theater-maker dedicated to creating performances that use humor to explore race relations and Asian American identity. As an actor, singer and writer, their works focus on telling stories typically left out of mainstream entertainment. Tom graduated from the California Institute of the Arts with a Master of Fine Arts in Acting, and is coming to Duke from Emory University, where they were an instructor… read more about Artist-in-Residence Wants You to Discover Everyone’s Issues, Including Your Own »

Theater Studies welcomes two new lecturing fellows who will enhance the department’s offerings in design and technical theater. Hannah Haverkamp is a costume designer and illustrator who is interested in the construction of identity through clothing, music and folklore. In addition to teaching, she will manage the Costume Shop, designing and constructing costumes for Theater Studies productions. Bill Webb is a lighting designer with over 200 productions to his credit. In addition to teaching, Bill will design lighting and… read more about New Lecturing Fellows Enhance the Curriculum in Design and Technical Theater »