Charlotte Canning

Performance as Public Practice


Historiography, theatre history, feminist theory, performance and cultural diplomacy, and many topics courses on the history of US theatre.

What you enjoy most about being a part of UT Theatre and Dance:

I like that we are comprised of students and faculty with different skills, expertise, life experiences, identities, and goals. I feel like I am always learning something from everyone I work with, students, faculty, and staff. Not many people in the world are fortunate enough to be able to say that about their working lives.

Favorite thing about Austin:

There is always something to do! Theatre, museums, festivals, hiking, swimming---almost anything you can imagine you can do. I think this is a great place to live and teach in because there are always too many options!

Current projects/research/interests/hobbies:

Writing my book on US theatre and internationalism, volunteering at my daughter's school, wasting time on Facebook, and reading as many novels as my busy life allows.

The biggest risk you have taken to date:

It may not be the biggest risk, but I love the daily risk of walking into the classroom. No matter how prepared you are, there are always surprises.

Something about yourself that we wouldn't know from reading your professional biography:

I like to read mystery novels, watch documentaries, and I am the worst soccer player in the family.

About Dr. Canning:

Dr. Canning received her doctorate from the University of Washington. She is the author of Feminist Theaters In The USA: Staging Women's Experience (Routledge, 1996) and The Most American Thing in America: Circuit Chautauqua as Performance (Iowa, 2005) which won the 2006 Barnard Hewitt Award for Outstanding Research in Theatre History. This award is given each year to the best book in “theatre history or cognate disciplines,” and Dr. Canning was the first member of the UT faculty to receive this prestigious award. Her most recent book is Representing the Past: Essays in Performance Historiography, co-edited with Tom Postlewait, (University of Iowa Press, 2010) and she is under contract with Palgrave Macmillan for her next monograph, On the Performance Front: US Theatre and Internationalism. The University of Texas Press has invited her to write a book on Texas theatre history for their nationally recognized series, Texas Bookshelf, capturing the history and experiences of Texas. She has published in many journals, including Theatre Topics, Theatre Research International, Theatre Survey, Theatre Journal, Theatre Annual, Theatre, and LIT: Literature, Interpretation Theory. Her work has also been included in such anthologies as Staging International Feminisms, Restaging the Sixties: Radical Theatres and their Legacies, Women Writing Plays: Three Decades of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, Land/Scape/ Theatre, Performing America: Cultural Nationalism in American Theater, Women, Theatre, and Performance: The New Historiographies, Twentieth Century American Drama, and Virtual Gender: Fantasies of Embodied Space and Subjectivity.

She teaches theatre/performance history and historiography, as well as feminist performance theory. Additionally, she heads the Performance as Public Practice MA/MFA/PhD Programs in the department and is the Head of the Oscar G. Brockett Center for Theatre History and Criticism. She serves as the Associate Chair for the Performance Studies and Pedagogy division of the department and is an affiliate faculty member in the Departments of American Studies, African and African Diaspora Studies, and the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies.

Dr. Canning has served as the book review editor for Theatre Journal, president of the Women and Theatre Program, and associate dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Fine Arts. She is a past president of the American Society for Theatre Research. Currently she serves as the Senior Editor for Theatre Research International, the journal of the International Federation for Theatre Research and Cambridge University Press’ most read performance journal title.