Samuel Yates

  • Assistant Professor, Theatre Studies
  • Crip/Queer Theory

  • Critical Disability Studies

  • Contemporary Dramatic Literature

  • Dramaturgy

  • Music Theatre History

  • Performance Theory

124 Theatre Building

Samuel Yates


Samuel Yates, Ph.D., is a deaf artist and researcher who is a resident dramaturg and Assistant Professor of Theatre at Pennsylvania State University. Their writing on topics such as disability aesthetics in the performance, the triple-threat as an economic unit for Broadway musicals, theatrical accessibility practices, and pedagogy is published or forthcoming in The Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, Music Theatre Today, Studies in Musical Theatre, and Medicine and Literature, as well as many edited volumes such as The Matter of Disability (U Michigan), A Cultural History of Disability in the Modern Age (Bloomsbury), Monsters in Performance: Essays on the Aesthetics of Social Disqualification (Routledge) and Radical Contemporary Theatre Practices by Women in Ireland (Carysfort Press). They previously were on faculty at Millikin University, American University, University of Maryland-Baltimore County, and The George Washington University (GWU). Samuel received their Ph.D. in English from GWU, where their dissertation research earned the American Society for Theatre Research’s Helen Krich-Chinoy Dissertation Fellowship and the Dean’s Dissertation Completion Fellowship. Samuel is a Humanity in Action Senior Fellow and a George J. Mitchell Scholar. They completed an M.Phil in Theatre and Performance Studies from Trinity College Dublin and a B.A. from Centre College as a John C. Young Scholar.

Samuel’s current monograph project, Cripping Broadway: Producing Disability in the American Musical, concerns disability aesthetics and accessibility practices in Broadway musicals, and asks how our notions of disability and the able body inform and transforms theatrical performance. Cripping Broadway wields the polemics of “crip”—an affirmation of disability as a valuable and marginalized identity at the intersection of race, gender, and sexuality—and mobilizes it as an analytic tool for thinking with a theatrical industry that seems, on its surface, to have a contentious relationship to disability. Research Cripping Broadway has been supported by ATDS and, most recently, the ASTR Grant for Researchers with Heavy Teaching Loads. Samuel is also co-editing Writing in Theatre and Performance Studies: An Instructor’s Guide, currently under contract with Palgrave. This textbook bridges Writing Studies curricula to Theatre and Performance Studies classrooms. Focusing on cross-field “Writing in the Disciplines” and Critical University Studies approaches, this volume asks, What does disciplinary writing in Theatre and Performance Studies look like? How do our curricula, research, and pedagogy enable or hinder student flourishing? Writing in Theatre and Performance Studies features chapters from scholars teaching at a range of institutions surveys both undergraduate and graduate TaPS classrooms for best practices and common pitfalls in writing instruction; provides practical lessons for teaching students the mechanics of research methods, editing, and revision; and offers course assignments and policies to support instructors seeking to enhance student writing within classes where composition and rhetoric may not be designated as explicit course topics or within its education goals.

As a dramaturg, they have collaborated with companies such as the Abbey Theatre, Woolly Mammoth, The Huntington, the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, The Samuel Beckett Centre, and Gala Hispanic Theatre. Selected dramaturgy work: La Casa de la Laguna at Gala Hispanic Theatre (world premiere), Care: The Musical (3Arts/Art Institute of Chicago), Teenage Dick (Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Pasadena Playhouse, The Huntington Theatre), Fairview and Violet (Millikin U), Historias (Rainbow Theatre). Recent disability/artistic consulting includes She Kills Monsters (UMBC), Into the Woods (U Mass-Amherst), and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime (Penn State), and Great Plains Theatre Commons. Beyond the stage, Samuel has worked as an arts and accessibility consultant with Gensler Architecture, the NEA, and 3Arts Chicago.