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Laura Dougherty

Associate Professor - Theatre Arts

Laura Dougherty, a performance scholar, director, and voice and speech practitioner, teaches performance and theory as an artist/activist. She earned her Ph.D. from the Theatre and Performance of the Americas program at Arizona State University, as well as her Master of Fine Arts in Theatre, also from Arizona State University. She earned her BA cum laude and with honors in Theatre Arts from Drew University.

Her work on belonging and nation, performance and civic action is centered in theatre and social justice. Her research also explores race, gender, and sexuality in performance, performance and/as citizenship, voice and sound, as well as burlesque performance. Her work has been published in Theatre Journal, The Humanities Review, Playing with Theory in Theatre Practice (Palgrave Macmillan), and Performing Utopia (Seagull/U of Chicago). She has taught, voice coached, and directed productions at Drew University, Illinois State University, Arizona State University, Winthrop University and Susquehanna University.

It is my charge as a teacher to work with my students to better understand the intricacies of history, literature, narrative, and performance; and through these understandings commit ourselves to artistic and academic excellence and integrity, with responsibility to content and each other.

In my classroom, I am constantly urging my students to grapple with complexities: to question, to propose possibilities, to push through what might not work to get at something that will. I work to honor their individuality while challenging them to think critically. We hunt for and cross boundaries in history, in artistry, in disciplinary approach. We, in theatre, are particularly poised for such interdisciplinary.

For we traffic in lived stories, in embodied knowing. That kind of epistemology can provide artists previously un-accessed connection to voices or identities other than their own. I hope they get greedy for that embodied knowing, for the ability to navigate different topographies of understanding. We honor the intersectionality of identities while we learn with and for each other in our thinking and practice. For me--in my pedagogy, my artistic practice, my scholarship, and my service--I am fueled by radical empathy and focused on active advocacy. It is my charge to challenge, embolden, and agitate radical, imperfect, relentless, responsible, exquisite artists and scholars.