Jeff Turner

Professor - Theatre Arts; Administrative Head (Arts, Media, and Culture); Department Chair - Theatre and Dance
Work space: St. Paul Main Campus > Drew Residence Hall > Drew Residence Hall DRH 70

Professor Turner began his career in academia after earning an AB in English from Centre College, a master’s degree in Theatre: Critical Studies from the University of California at Los Angeles, a second master’s degree in education from Appalachian State University, and a PhD in Theatre Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Professor Turner considers himself an ever-evolving student of artistic expression and creative problem-solving, and he continues to explore the possibilities of theatrical storytelling as it evolves and changes with the times. Fascinated by all modes of performance, he recognizes how lucky he is to live and teach in the Twin Cities and enjoys seeking out dynamic theatrical experiences both on and off campus. Professor Turner has published essays on the American musical, Broadway theatre during the Great Depression, and representations of childhood and youth in theatre and film. Additionally, he has worked as a production dramaturg in the Twin Cities theatre scene.

As an advisor and instructor, Professor Turner invites students to delve deeply into their creative processes. Based on a thorough understanding of dramaturgical forms and performance conventions through the ages, students are invited to broaden their foundation of knowledge in order to inform and deepen their own theatrical work in the present. With a particular interest in the critical study of live theatre, as well as film and television, Professor Turner works in tandem with students and faculty to hone performance skills and critical frameworks. He welcomes discussion and dialogue within his classes and hopes to facilitate opportunities for students to develop their skills as audience members, critics, designers, directors and performers. 

“We are born in terror and trembling. In the face of our terror before the uncontrollable chaos of the universe, we label as much as we can with language in the hope that once we have named something we need no longer fear it. This labeling enables us to feel safer but also kills the mystery in what has been labeled, removing the life and danger from what has been defined… 

“The artist’s responsibility is to bring the potential, the mystery and terror, the trembling back.” – Anne Bogart