Jodi I. Kanter

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Jodi I. Kanter

Professor, Theatre



As a scholar, Jodi has been trained to apply the theoretical lens of performance to everyday practices and so, while her methodology is consistent, the subjects of her work vary wildly—from, for example, end of life health care to contemporary dramatic literature to the American Presidency.

As an artist, her focus is on strengthening communities through theatrical improvisation, oral history collection, writing and performance. To this end, over the last twenty-five years, she has created dozens of workshops and performances in a wide variety of settings, including prisons, hospices, libraries and community centers. She is a trained facilitator of Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed.


Current Research

Jodi is currently working on two scholarly articles, one on first ladies of the U.S. and the other on the history of the concept of role in mental health practices.  She is also engaged in community-based performance work in partnership with several nonprofit partners in the health / mental health space.



Books (from Theatre in the Americas Series):

  • Presidential Libraries as Performance, Southern Illinois University Press, 2016
  • Performing Loss: Building Communities Through Theater and Writing, Southern Illinois University Press, 2007

Selected Articles:

  • “State of Play:  Theatre Education at a Crossroads.”  Theatre Topics, vol. 30 no. 3, 2020
  • Text and Presentation: “What are you doing in my hallucination?”: Immigration, Hospitality and Transformation in Angels in America, McFarland & Co., 2016.
  • “Asking Good Discussion Questions”, The Routledge Companion to Dramaturgy, Routledge, 2014, Magda Romanska, ed.
  • “Character-in- Chief: Performing the American Citizen at Two Presidential Libraries.”, Text and Performance Quarterly, Vol. 32 No. 4, October, 2012

Selected Dramaturgy (Theatre Research for Live Performance):

  • Voices from a Changing Middle East Festival, Mosaic Theatre, April 2017
  • Rapture, Blister, Burn, Roundhouse Theatre, 2015
  • Awake and Sing!, Olney Theatre, 2014
  • Hammock, The Dance Exchange, 2011



BA in English Literature, Harvard University
MA in Communication Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
PhD in Performance Studies, Northwestern University

MA in Counseling and Drama Therapy, Lesley University


Professional Organizations

  • Association for Theatre in Higher Education
  • National Communications Association
  • North American Drama Therapy Association