Dr. Megan Alrutz is Associate Chair and graduate advisor for the Department of Theatre and Dance, where she teaches in the Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities and UTeach Theatre areas. Her research and practice focus on creating new and interdisciplinary performance, storytelling (live and digital) and drama-based pedagogy.
A graduate of Arizona State University and Rutgers University, Alrutz works nationally and internationally as a theatre-maker, director and dramaturg. She creates and directs visually dynamic and poetic theatre for the very young and works as the dramaturg for award-winning author/illustrator, playwright and screenwriter Mo Willems. Alrutz’s most recent production work includes devising and directing an original theatre for the very young production called Gimme Please! (devised with Sam Provenzano and University of Texas at Austin students, premiered at the Alliance Theatre in partnership with the Paperboats Platform, showcased at TYA/USA Festival 2019), dramaturging and directing within Mo Willems’ suite of live productions at the Kennedy Center and serving as co-executive producer and dramaturg for Willems’ animated and live-action productions for HBO Max. Alrutz’s work has premiered at the Alliance Theatre, Arts on the Horizon, Metro Theatre, Orlando Rep, the Kennedy Center and presenting houses throughout the U.S.
As a thought leader in applied theatre with/for young people, Alrutz also leads interactive workshops and trainings in K-12 schools and higher education and with organizations focused on gender and racial justice, community engagement, professional development, digital storytelling and curriculum innovation. She created and co-directs two long-term applied theatre programs. In Patchwork Stories, co-directed with Fiona MacBeth, Alrutz devises and directs interactive, story-based installations that respond to and raise community questions through artistic frames and local stories. In collaboration with Lynn Hoare, Megan co-directs the Performing Justice Project, an applied theatre program that invites young people to devise original theatre as a way to explore, imagine and perform gender and racial justice in their lives and communities.
Alrutz is the author or co-author of three books: Devising Critically Engaged Theatre with Youth: The Performing Justice Project (Routledge 2020); Digital Storytelling, Applied Theatre & Youth: Performing Possibility (Routledge 2015) and Playing with Theory in Theatre Practice (Palgrave 2010). Her scholarship has also been featured in Research in Drama Education, Youth Theatre Journal, Teaching Artist Journal and Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship.
Areas of Expertise
Applied theatre, digital storytelling, devising, dramaturgy, theatre for young audiences, theatre with and for youth, theatre for the very young (ages 2-6), intersectional feminism and critical performance pedagogies
Applied Drama and Theatre, Creative Drama, Community Engagement, Digital Storytelling, Dramatic Literature for Youth and Families, Dramaturgy, Performing Justice Project, Practice-based Research, Theatre for the Very Young, Theatre for Young Audiences, Theatre and Social Justice, Research Methods, Storytelling for Presentation.
- Alrutz, Megan. Digital Storytelling, Applied Theatre & Youth: Performing Possibility. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, September 2014.
- Alrutz, Megan, Julia Listengarten, and Vandy Wood, eds. Playing with Theory in Theatre Practice. Basingstokes: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.
- Alrutz, Megan. "Playing at Praxis: Locating Youth Voices in History." The Reflexive Teaching Artist: Collected Wisdom from the Drama/Theatre Field, edited by Kathryn Dawson and Dan A. Kelin II. Intellect Books, 2014.
- Alrutz, Megan. "Sites of Possibility: Applied Theatre and Digital Storytelling with Youth." Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance 18.1: 44-57, 2013.
- Alrutz, Megan. "Performative Galleries: Integrating Applied Theatre and Digital Media into Museum Settings." Youth Theatre Journal 25:1-12, 2011.
Naked Mole Rat Get Dressed: A Rock Experience, Seattle Children's Theatre (2017)
Book and Lyrics by Mo Willems, Music by Debbie Wicks LaPuma, Directed by Linda Hartzell
Talkin' Trash, Metro Theater Company (2016)
Written by Nicholas Kryah, Directed by Julia Flood
Point A to Point B, Arts on the Horizon (2015)
Conceived by David Kilpatrick
The Good in Me / In My Skin, Mexican American Cultural Center (2015)
Devised with the Performing Justice Project, Co-directed by Lynn Hoare
What do you enjoy most about being a part of the UT Theatre and Dance community?
Our students are so smart and talented, and they care deeply about how the arts impact community. Working with both graduate and undergraduate students at UT is the best job I can imagine - we create beautiful performances, we positively impact spaces with young people, and we continue to imagine how stories just might change the world.
What is your favorite thing about Austin?
I love all of the hidden parks, trails and waterfalls. I also love the Kite Festival, the Outdoor Hope Gallery and the abundance of delicious coffee. Most of all, I love that I have so much chosen family on this campus and in this city.