Danielle Adair is an artist-writer, performer, and scholar. Her works have premiered in exhibition, screening, theater and concert venues. She is the author of five artist books, including From JBAD: Lessons Learned (Les Figues Press) based on her time as embedded media with US Forces in Afghanistan and for which she created the feature-length video-performance, FIRST ASSIGNMENT. Her second feature-length work And I Think I Like It. is a collection of 13 video-song-poems with an accompanying artist book (Edition Solitude). As part of her three-part video-performance Caution, bomb, Adair created and premiered her experimental opera Caution Baum with the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Stuttgart. Adair is a California Community Foundation Visual Arts Fellow, a Center for Cultural Innovation – ARC Grantee, the recipient of The Louis Sudler Prize in the Performing and Creative Arts, and Fellowships at Akademie Schloss Solitude, Digital Arts Studios Belfast, and I-Park Foundation, among other distinctions. She holds her MFA in Critical Studies and in Studio Arts from California Institute of the Arts with her BA with Honors in Human Development and in Visual Arts from The University of Chicago.
Adair’s scholarship focuses on the intersections of media and performance, with attention to the environment and feminist sound studies. danielleadair.com
Marlon Ariyasinghe (he/him) is a writer, editor, theatre practitioner and researcher from Sri Lanka. He is a master’s graduate in English from the University of Geneva and received his BA (honors) in English from the University of Peradeniya. He served as the secretary of the Sri Lanka Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies and has organized multiple international literary conferences from 2010-2023. He was the co-editor of Mise en Abyme: International Journal of Comparative Literature and Arts (VIII, Issue 2), a special edition on Sri Lankan Combative Art, Angampora.
He was the Senior Assistant Editor at Himal Southasian, a regional magazine of politics and culture. His rapportage has been featured in Reuters, DW, BBC World, WION, The Washington Post, NPR, and other outlets worldwide. Marlon has directed plays for Emmet Theatre Company in Geneva and published a collection of poetry Froteztology in 2011.
Marlon’s research interests include Southasian theatre and historiography, performing blackness, Southasian antiblackness, cognition and performance, theatre pedagogy, and decolonizing actor-training methodologies. His research has been published in The Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, Mise en Abyme: International Journal of Comparative Literature and Arts, and Phoenix: Sri Lanka Journal of English in the Commonwealth.
He tweets at @exfrotezter. Click here to access his artistic profile.
Karishma Bhagani, from Mombasa, Kenya, is pursuing a PhD in Theater and Performance Studies at Stanford University. She graduated from New York University (NYU) with a B.F.A in Theatre and a B.A. in History. In her capacities as a director, producer and scholar of the performing arts, Karishma is keen on contributing to the development of a sustainable creative economy within East Africa. Karishma currently serves as the Associate Artistic Director for the Tebere Arts Foundation in Uganda and Associate Producing Director for the Nairobi Musical Theatre Initiative in Kenya. She is also a fellow at the Georgetown Lab for Global Performance and Politics. While at NYU, Karishma was the recipient of the Richard Hull Fellowship, the Bevya Rosten Memorial Award, the CTED Development Impact Fellowship and the Presidents’ Service Award. She was also the Tisch bachelor’s representative at NYU’s All-University Commencement ceremony.
Yutsha (she/her) is a researcher, writer, and artist from Nepal. After completing her Bachelor’s from the University of Delhi and a Master’s in Arts and Aesthetics from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Yutsha worked as a research associate at Nepal Picture Library, a digital photo archive in Lalitpur, Nepal.
During her undergraduate years, as the co-president of the English Theatre Society, The Ariels, she collaboratively directed, acted, and produced plays like The Maids by Jean Genet, Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood, and The Bald Soprano by Eugène Ionesco. More recently, her artistic endeavors have been rooted in digital archiving, field research, and photographs. She has been part of two exhibitions at Nepal Picture Library: The Public Life of Women: A Feminist Memory Project (2018) and The Skin of Chitwan (2020).
Her research interests intersect embodied citizenship, political identity, representation, and visual media/culture.
Sariel Golomb (she/her) is a dancer and writer who researches representations of the body at the intersections of performance theory, biopolitics, race/coloniality, and medicine. She is interested in the politics of contemporary dance, as well as the possibilities and limitations of applying choreographic analysis to the body in non-aesthetic settings: from public science museums, to mass migration, to existence under climate change. Her dissertation addresses the status of the human body as an “absolute” anatomical and morphological object through case studies in contemporary choreography and visual art, which reveal its enduring ideological and rhetorical potency towards often contradictory political projects.
Sariel holds a BA in English and Dance, with departmental honors, from Columbia University. She completed Stanford PhD minors in Feminist, Gender & Sexuality Studies and Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity.
As a dancer, Sariel has performed works by Diane Frank, amara tabor-smith, Gesel Mason, Trisha Brown, Gwen Welliver, Alexandra Beller, Pam Tanowitz, Sam Kim, and Heidi Henderson. Her evening-length work Bone Brain appeared at the Nitery Experimental Theater in 2020.
Sariel’s writing has appeared in TDR: the Drama Review, Dance Research Journal, The Brooklyn Rail, and ODC.Dance.Stories, and is forthcoming in Theatre Journal and the anthology The Articulate Body: Dance and Science in the Long-Nineteenth Century (University Press of Florida). She is also a co-editor of The Articulate Body and Editorial Fellow for Dance Research Journal. Sariel is the recipient of a Selma Jeanne Cohen Award for excellence in graduate dance scholarship (2022), TAPS’s Carl Weber Memorial Fellowship with TDR (2021-2023), and a Mellon Dissertation Fellowship through the Stanford Humanities Center (2023-2024).
Emma Humphris (she/her) is a PhD candidate in Performance Studies and Master student in Education at Stanford University. Her research employs the lens of performance studies to examine and assess security sector reform initiatives, specifically in the context of police training and capacity development programs. She has an overarching interest in the performance of state violence and its modes of reproduction through training, gestures, discourse and representation. Her jurisdictions are the United States and France, where she works with police academies and the French Gendarmerie Mobile. She holds a Msc In Criminology and Criminal Justice from Oxford University and a degree in political science from Sciences Po Paris and Philosophy from la Sorbonne Paris (IV).
Emma’s research interests have shaped her creative practice in and outside of the academic world. She has written and created a short dance film entitled Bala Sabab while working in the Lebanese criminal justice system. She has also devised Women in Waiting, a play about women’s experiences in immigration detention centers. She is now using similar material to develop an exhibition at the VBKO museum in Austria in September 2021.
Daniel Jackson works in live performance and digital media at the intersection of technology, interactivity, and identity. His work interrogates the possibilities that new technologies provide for creating surprising experiences that question our understanding of the world. His recent work includes An Old Ruinous Vault, With A Strong Grated Door, Through Which The Moon-Beams Are Gleaming, exhibited as part of San Antonio’s CAM Perennial group art show, and Basement Complex Suite 102 at Jump-Start Performance Co. He holds an MFA in Video for Performance and Integrated Media from the California Institute of the Arts.
In addition to creating and producing his own work, Daniel has spent time working as an artist and technician with Andrew Schneider, Young Jean Lee, Radiohole, The Wooster Group, and Jump-Start Performance Co.
Daniel’s research interests include algorithmically generated performance, the execution of code as performance, performance in virtual spaces, and contemporary American experimental theater.
Marina Johnson (she/they) is a fourth-year PhD candidate in the Theater and Performance Studies Department at Stanford University, also pursuing PhD minors in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. She was a 2021-2022 Graduate Public Service Fellow with the Stanford Haas Center and the 2022-2023 co-artistic director of the Nitery Experimental Theatre on Stanford’s Campus. Marina has a BA and a BS from Penn State University and received her MFA in Directing from the University of Iowa. She is the co-host of Kunafa and Shay, a podcast produced by HowlRound Theatre Commons. Johnson is a member of Silk Road Rising’s Polycultural Institute and is a dramaturg with Golden Thread Productions’ 2023 ReOrient Festival. She has trained with the SITI Company and in the Kennedy Center Directing Lab. Prior to beginning her PhD, she was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Beloit College for three years.
Select recent directing credits include: The Shroud Maker (International Voices Project), Shakespeare’s Sisters (Stanford), The Palestinian Youth Monologues (Stanford), Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche (Beloit College), and In the Next Room (Beloit College). Additionally, she was the dramaturg for Julius Caesar (Stanford, 2022), assistant director and dramaturg on As Soon As Impossible (Stanford, 2021), dramaturg for Two Rooms (Penn State, 2021), and dramaturg and assistant director for Twice, Thrice, Frice (Silk Road Rising, 2019). Her work has been published in MATC’s Theatre/Practice, Eumenica, and in Arab Stages. Marina-Johnson.com
T. SHACON JONES II
Shacon Jones II is an artist-scholar-activist and doctoral candidate in the Department of Theater and Performance Studies, with PhD minors in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. His research interests focus on race, performance of masculinities, aesthetics of risk, pleasure, & funk, dance studies, and technology. Primarily interested in the Black male body in undervalued citizenship-making and life-sustaining practices, his dissertation employs ethnographic and visual methods to examine mundane and spectacular choreographies of Black men engaged in radical pleasure in the United States and abroad.
At Stanford, Shacon has served as a graduate fellow for the Black Community Service Center, Hope House Scholars Program, and the Haas Center for Public Service. He has also worked for Stanford Career Education as the Program Coordinator for the Humanist-at-Large Fellowship, and in the Office for Inclusion, Belonging and Intergroup Communication (IBIC) as a DEI Facilitator. Currently, Shacon is a Mellon Foundation Teaching Race Fellow, Diversifying Academia, Recruiting Excellence (DARE) Fellow (D16), and a Point Foundation Flagship Scholar.
Before coming to Stanford, Shacon was a senior-level administrator for New Haven Public Schools and Bronx Community College. He has trained at the Ailey School, Atlanta Ballet, the British American Drama Academy (BADA), and the Shanghai Theater Academy. Shacon holds a Certificate in Critical Consciousness and Anti-Oppressive Praxis from Stanford, a M.A. in Education from Stanford Graduate School of Education, an M.F.A. in Theatre Management and Producing from Columbia University, and a B.A. in English and Dance from Morehouse College. Outside of research and teaching, he is involved in foster youth advocacy, American Sign Language (ASL) acquisition, and is pursuing certification as an intimacy consultant for live performance and TV/film.
Connor Lifson is a director of live, devised, and multimedia performance. Alongside his artistic work, Connor’s scholarship and practice-based research examine how the genres of science fiction and fantasy can serve as a catalyst to rehearse new realities: not to hold up a mirror to society, but a shimmering looking glass — not to reflect our world’s reality, but its fantastic potential. In service of this mission, Connor engages across disciplines and forms, drawing on cinematic vocabularies in his onstage work through live video cameras, dynamic video projections, and various forms of puppetry. He is currently developing a highly collaborative process for devising performance, called Worldbuilding, which integrates methodologies of world-building popular among speculative fiction writers with critical frameworks of worldmaking, phenomenology, and posthumanism.
Connor is a proud graduate of Northwestern University’s Department of Performance Studies, where he studied adaptation, toy theater, and directing under the department’s scholar-artists. Remaining at Northwestern, he worked as an Assistant Producer, supporting student-driven performances. He also served as a guest lecturer/teaching assistant, running workshops on adaptation and object performance.
Currently, Connor is creating a shadow puppetry short film for Lookingglass Theatre Company’s 50 Wards: A Civic Mosaic, entitled “The Garden of the Phoenix.” In addition to his own directing work, he has assistant-directed at many Chicago theaters, most recently for Mary Zimmerman on The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci at Goodman Theatre. For more on Connor’s work, please visit www.connorlifson.com
eli melgar is a first-generation scholar and playwright from Sihuatehuacan (Santa Ana, El Salvador), which means place of feminine wisdom and vitality in Nahuatl. Their current work situates forms of migration and environmental justice in conversation with critical theories of race and performance studies. Other interests include Central American studies; indigeneity and decolonial feminism; avant-gardes in the Global South; queer theory and Marxism; theatre and philosophy; and ethics and poetics. Before coming to the ancestral land of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe (Stanford), they studied playwriting under the mentorship of Jorgelina Cerritos.
A.A., Secondary Education, LaGuardia Community College, CUNY
B.A., Spanish, The City College of New York, CUNY
M.A., Spanish, The City College of New York, CUNY
[photo credit: René Figueroa]
Rashi has an MA in Performance Studies from New York University, MA in Conflict and Peace Studies from Jamia Millia Islamia University and a Bachelors in Economics and Computers from Delhi University. Rashi was actively involved in Delhi University’s campus theatre where she was a member of, and later headed, Maitreyi College’s dramatics society Abhivyakti. She acted in various productions such as In The Name of Honour (a devised protest performance against honour killings in India), O Ibsen (based on Henrik Ibsen’s plays), Akka Amoli Anni (an adaptation of Munshi Premchand’s story ‘Bade Bhaisaheb’) and Eklavya Uvach (a satire on the prevalent caste system in India), which were performed at different university festivals in India. Amongst these the play O Ibsen was performed as part of the Norwegian Collegiate Theatre Festival in Delhi in 2010. She recently co-directed a devised experimental performance, based on Sadaat Hasan Manto’s partition stories, titled Enter At Your Own Risk. A seditious play in a few scenes showing sanity and insanity as performed by actors of National Paagalkhana — by order of Toba Tek Singh. She has also been associated with different socially and politically active theatre groups in Delhi in different capacities.
Her research interests include exploring the relationship between aesthetics, politics and performance; postcolonial studies; and representation & subjecthood of the subaltern in theatrical as well as every day performances. Rashi was a recipient of Gallatin Global Fellowship in Human Rights at NYU as part of which she explored the role of theatre in fostering the human rights discourse, specifically looking at theatre practices of Palestinian artists in the West Bank.
Westley holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Music with additional studies in German and Arts Management from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Westley’s scholarly interests lie at the intersections of performance studies, sound studies, gender studies, and Black studies. Current research interests include the role(s) of opera in Black identity development and performance; post-colonial, queer, and materialist approaches to the voice; and Tik Tok as a stage for the (sonic) performance of race and gender.
Westley is also a vocalist and multidisciplinary artist. Select operatic roles include Boy Sam (David Lang’s the difficulty of crossing a field), Ovlur (Bordin’s Prince Igor), and Benvlio (Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette.) Westley has also produced, curated, and dramaturged several new works and productions, including …Who I Am, an adaptation of Samuel Barber’s Knoxville Summer of 1915 addressing Black lived experience in the American South, and Afrika Singt, a collaborative work exploring depictions of Afro-Deutsch and Afro-American identity in Germany.
Pauline Mornet is a PhD student in TAPS at Stanford University. She holds a MA in Performance Studies from New York University and a BA in Political Humanities from Sciences Po Paris. Originally from France, Pauline has spent equal parts of her life bumbling between Hong Kong, Europe and Australia and cannot dissociate these migratory pathways from her work. She is interested in alternative community formations and how we host each other.
Pauline has a background in theater, co-writing and co-directing a play titled Titre Provisoire about performances of everyday life that toured in France at the Festival des Bourbons in 2019 and won the directorial award at festival Reims Monte en Scene.
Her piece Intimate Archives: Love Letters in Wartime Europe will be upcoming in peer-reviewed academic journal Performance Research. It explores an archive of love letters sent during the Second World War and uses practice-as-research techniques to engage with the archive.
MARÍA ZURITA ONTIVEROS
María Zurita Ontiveros is director, puppeteer and theatermaker born and raised in Mexico City, Mexico. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Duke University in Theater Studies and in History, and a minor in German. She has training in directing, playwriting, and performance from the National Theater Institute, the Mexican General Society of Writers, and the City Academy in London, UK. Her paper, Identity and Activism: What did La Raza mean for Los Siete? was published in the monograph of the 2020 National Association of African American Studies Conference. She has directed Euripides’ Medea, the musicals In the Heights and Title of Show, at Duke University, assistant directed Tender Age at the 2019 National Playwrights Conference, directed a collection of new work at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, and co-directed I Want to be Naked with the Who Are They Now Theater Collective, which she founded alongside other Duke Theater alumni. She performed as a puppeteer at the 2021 La Mama Puppet Fest, as well as building sets and puppets for the festival. She served as company manager for the Off-Broadway production of sandblasted by Charly Evon Simpson. She has also worked in Development and in the Literary Department of the Vineyard Theatre in New York. She has received numerous awards, including the University Scholars Program Scholarship at Duke University, the Benenson Award in the Arts, the Graywill Arts for Arts Leadership and Service, and the Award for Excellence in Directing. She is also a member of Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society.
She is interested in producing research and theatrical work around trauma and healing– particularly how theater traditions have been and continue to be used as outlets for communities to heal. Moved to this research because of the femicide crisis in Mexico, she seeks to create community-driven work to provide victims’ families ways to grieve and social justice theater to demand justice. Human resilience fascinates her, fills her with hope, and guides her art. Her artistic practice is based on community, healing, and endless curiosity.
Zoe Ryu holds a BA in Economics from Korea University and an MA in English literature from Seoul National University. The main concentration of her current studies lie primarily on the intersection of race and gender in American theatre and literature. Her theatre practice focuses mainly on dramaturgy – in Seoul, where her work is based, she worked with prominent Korean theatre companies and produced plays such as Machinal by Sophie Treadwell and A Fortunate Day by Hyun Jin-geon both performed at the Yeohangza Theatre. Her future aspirations lie in intercultural performance that makes use of traditional Korean movements, dance and sound derived from Korean masked dance and traditional Korean opera.
Amani Starnes is an actress, dancer, writer, producer, and singer in Stanford’s PhD TAPS program. She graduated from Yale University, where she majored in Theater Studies with a concentration in Performance and African American Studies.
Her work focuses primarily on race and gender in performance and culture. Recently, Amani received critical acclaim in such publications as The Washington Post, Jezebel, The Jane Dough, Madame Noire, and Racialicious for a web series she wrote, produced, and headlined, The United Colors of Amani. In the tradition of Robert Townsend’s Hollywood Shuffle, the series explores Amani’s uncomfortable racial adventures in Hollywood.
In addition to her web presence, Amani is the face of several national commercials. She also sings, choreographs, produces content for networks like AOL and AMC, and performs in independent films, plays, concerts, music videos, rock operas and musicals. She has been a member of Tim Robbins’ The Actors’ Gang theater company for over a decade.
Adin Walker is a fourth-year PhD Candidate in Theater and Performance Studies with minors in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. Dissertation title: “Coming In: Queer Interiority in American Musical Theater 1996 – 2022”
Walker’s research, writing, and teaching center contemporary queer and trans performance and cinema. Forthcoming publications include “Lulu ‘Works the Trapeze’: Producing the Modern, Western Sex/Gender System in Nineteenth-Century Aerial Arts,” for the anniversary issue of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly; and, “Flowers, Concrete, Water: Care and Precarity in Tsai Ming-liang’s I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone (2006)” which was awarded the 2023 Chris Holmlund Graduate Student Writing Prize from the Society of Cinema and Media Studies’ Queer and Trans Caucus and will be published in New Review of Film and Television Studies. Walker is a Stanford R.A.I.S.E. Fellow for community-engaged research and serves as incoming managing editor for Occasion: An Interdisciplinary Journal in the Humanities published by the Stanford Humanities Center under the editorial leadership of Héctor Hoyos. Walker is also the graduate writing tutor coordinator for Stanford’s Hume Center for Writing and Speaking.
Walker is a frequent collaborator with the internationally-touring dance, puppetry, and climate-justice focused Phantom Limb Company, whose production Falling Out about the 2011 tsunami and radiation disaster in Fukushima premiered in BAM’s Next Wave Festival. Walker recently directed the world premieres of Yilong Liu’s PrEP Play, or Blue Parachute with the New Conservatory Theater Center and Adam Ashraf Elsayigh’s Data Queen for Golden Thread’s ReOrient Festival, both in San Francisco.
B.A. English from Princeton University. adinwalker.com
Emily Waters is a Brooklyn-raised interdisciplinary artist grounded in a Black theater tradition that explores the roles of witness and testimony in collective and intergenerational healing. Waters helped to roll out the first ever #MeToo curriculum with Girls for Gender Equity, focusing on joy and storytelling through theater. Emily was an Emerge Fellow 2019 with Hemispheric Institute where they presented their work in progress at Abrons Arts Center. Waters is also the recipient of the Peace and Social Change Fellowship with Columbia University where she supervised research on the healing capacity of theater for survivors of sexual assault. In December 2019, Waters was awarded the Mount Tremper Arts Residency. They have presented their original work at Jack Theater, the Apollo, the High Line, Novo Foundation Grantmakers of Color Conference, and Judson Church. Waters is a Performance Project Fellow alum and was a selected writer in Billie Holiday Theater’s annual 50in50 and Black Revolutionary Theater Workshop’s Revolution Now! Program. Emily Waters received a Drama League Award nomination for outstanding digital theater alongside the selected artists for All for One Theater’s Solo Short’s Series. Most recently, Emily presented their original performance, Look Back At It, at The Shed as part of the Open Call commission program for early career artists.
Emily’s current research interests African diasporic narrative healing modalities, folklore and religious studies, and the connections between contemporary Black performance movements and anti-violence work.