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Jeanmarie Higgins

Head, Theatre Studies; Associate Professor
Penn State Associate Professor of Theatre Jeanmarie Higgins

A new works dramaturg in dance and theatre, Jeanmarie’s current focus is in community-based devising as the dramaturg for the national #HereToo Project, which amplifies the voices of youth activists through performance. She publishes widely on the intersection of theory and practice, including essays about her studio work with dance trio AGA Collaborative, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, and the Martha Graham Dance Company. Jeanmarie’s scholarly research addresses domestic space in contemporary performance. She is the editor of Teaching Critical Performance Theory in Today’s Theatre Classroom, Studio, and Communities (Routledge 2020).

Jeanmarie embraces a team-based approach to scholarship, studio work, and teaching, and is most energized when co-creating. In 2020 she co-founded Prompt: a journal of theatre theory, practice, and teaching with two Penn State design grads; she is co-editing a new performance pedagogy collection with School of Theatre colleague, Elisha Clark Halpin, Teaching Performance Practices in Remote and Hybrid Spaces. Before joining Penn State in 2017, Jeanmarie developed a team-based dramaturgy program at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Prior to UNC, Jeanmarie taught playwriting, critical theory, and post-colonial studies at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle where she was resident dramaturg for new works.

  • Education
    • BA from Drew University
    • MFA from the University of Virginia
    • PhD from the University of Washington
  • Courses Taught
    • Dramaturgy
    • Devising
    • Performance Theory
    • Theatre Pedagogy
    • Performance & Society
    • Research Methods
  • Expertise
    • Performance criticism
    • Domestic space in performance
    • Dance dramaturgy
  • Publications & Presentations

    2021

    • “Dancing Haunted Legacies: Diana Szeinblum’s Alaska” in Theatre and the Macabre. Kevin Wetmore and Meredith Conti, Editors. University of Wales Press.

    2020

    • Editor, Teaching Critical Performance Theory in Today’s Theatre Classroom, Studio, and Communities, Routledge.
    • “Deep Thought: Teaching Critical Theory to Designers” with Michael Schweikardt. In Teaching Critical Performance Theory in Today’s Theatre Classroom, Studio, and Communities, Routledge.

    2017

    • “AGA Collaborative: Walking in the Academy.” Essay. SDC Journal.

    2016

    • “Rehearsal Skirts: Undergraduate Research and Hamletmachine’s Chorus of Dead Ophelias,” PARtake: The Journal of Performance as Research.
    • “The Youngest People in the Room: Dramaturgy in Undergraduate Theatre Programs.” Howlround.

    2015

    • “Iconicity and the Archive: Martha Graham’s Imperial Gesture 1935/2013.” Review: Journal of Dramaturgy.
  • Service & Affiliations
    • Co-Editor, Prompt: a journal of theatre theory, practice, and teaching
    • Advisory Board, Etudes: an online theatre and performance studies journal for emerging scholars
    • Pre-conference planner, Theory and Criticism Focus Group, Association for Theatre in Higher Education