Project Team


MarlisSchweitzer1_2013Marlis Schweitzer is Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre at York University. She is the author of When Broadway Was the Runway: Theater, Fashion and American Culture (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009) and Transatlantic Broadway: The Infrastructural Politics of Global Performance (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) and co-editor (with Joanne Zerdy) of Performing Objects and Theatrical Things (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) and (with Marina Moskowitz) Testimonial Advertising in the American Marketplace: Emulation, Identity, Community (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009). Between 2013-16, she was General Editor of Theatre Research in Canada/ Recherches théâtrales au Canada.

Marlis’s work has appeared in a range of scholarly journals including Theatre JournalTheatre SurveyTheatre Research International, TDR, Performance Research, Canadian Theatre ReviewTheatre Research in Canada, and the Journal of American Drama and Theatre. She has also published chapters in several collections, including Producing Fashion: Culture, Commerce, Consumers (ed. Regina Blaszczyk), Performance and the City (ed. Kim Solga, DJ Hopkins, and Shelley Orr), and Feeling Photography (ed. Elspeth Brown and Thy Phu. Marlis has held research fellowships from the John W. Kluge Centre, Library of Congress, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Harry Ransom Centre (University of Texas-Austin). The research represented in this website was made possible by a SSHRC Insight Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada.


barkerphoto2Roberta Barker is Associate Professor and Associate Director (Theatre) in the Fountain School of Performing Arts at Dalhousie University. A practicing director and dramaturge of theatre and opera, she is also the author of Early Modern Tragedy, Gender and Performance, 1984-2000: The Destined Livery (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), co-editor with Kim Solga of New Canadian Realisms: Plays and New Canadian Realisms: Essays (Playwrights Canada Press, 2012), and General Editor of the series “New Essays in Canadian Theatre” at Playwrights Canada Press. Her current book project, Symptoms of the Self: Tuberculosis and the Birth of the Modern Stage, is under contract with the University of Iowa Press.


Thea Fitz-James is part academic, part journalist, and part theatre practitioner. She holds an undergraduate degree in Drama/Theatre from McGill (Montreal) and Journalism from University of King’s College (Halifax) and a Masters in Theatre and Performance Studies at York University (Toronto). Her performance work and research interests focus on contemporary feminist theatre, explicit body art, performance art, and textiles in performance. When not in the library or on stage, Thea teaches and directs youth theatre. She is currently working on her PhD in Theatre and Performance Studies at York University. Project involvement: 2013-14.

Heather Fitzsimmons Frey is a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies. She has published in Canadian Theatre Review and Youth Theatre Journal, and has a chapter in Nationalism and Youth in Theatre and Performance (2014). She is also editing a volume of plays with unusual creation stories for Playwrights Canada Press called Ignite: Illuminating Theatre Creation for Young Minds (2015), and, with Art Babayants, she is co-editing a collection of essays called Theatre and Learning: Reflecting, Risking, Re-Imagining (2015). Her dissertation research is focused on middle-class Victorian girls in England, at-home theatricals, and ways performance intersects with issues of girlhood, agency, and identity, and girls imagining possible futures for themselves. Project involvement: 2013-14.

Anna Griffith received her PhD in Theatre & Performance Studies at York in 2014. Project involvement: 2013-14.

signy-paula-photoSigny Lynch holds a BA Honours in Drama with a minor in Psychology from Queen’s University, where she served as artistic director of Vagabond Theatre from 2012-2014. In 2015, she received her MA in Theatre and Performance Studies from York University. Her research focuses on direct address in contemporary Canadian performance, modes of performative address, and the rhetorical and artistic framing of the theatrical encounter by scholars and artists. She is also interested more broadly interested in ethnography, political theatre, and spectatorship. She is currently a PhD student at York University where she received the 2015-2016 Don Rubin Dissertation Award, and is member of the Centre for Spectatorship Studies at the University of Toronto. Project involvement: 2015-16.

HeadshotMarjan Moosavi is a doctoral student at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies. Marjan is originally from Iran, but her life, work, and studies have taken her across to, China, US and Canada as teacher and translator. As a Fulbright grantee and graduate student, she has lectured and published on contemporary Iranian theatre and dramaturgy including authoring a book chapter for Routledge Companion to Dramaturgy (2014). Her current studies move between theory and praxis of theatre’s interventionist power in effectuating change in societal, cultural and political conditions in Iran. Her professional work is rounded out with dramaturgy, dramatic translation, project-based arts research and administration, and sessional work as an instructor of Persian at York University. Project involvement: 2014.

IMG_4887Marlene Mendonça is a doctoral student in Theatre and Performance Studies at York University. Fascinated by archival research, she has come across an array of unpublished plays by female playwrights writing in both Canada and the U.S. at the turn of the twentieth century. More recently, her work examines the evolving and shifting image of young female fan practices between 1890-1920. She has presented papers on the New York City matinee girl of the early twentieth century as well as on early feminist theatre in Canada. Project involvement: 2013.

Julie Matheson is a doctoral student in Theatre and Performance Studies at York University. She recently completed the MA in Theatre and Performance Studies at York, and previously received an MA in Contemporary Art, Design, and New Media Art Histories from OCAD University. Her undergraduate degree in Theatre (Technical Scenography) comes from the University of King’s College/Dalhousie in Halifax. Her research interests draw on her interdisciplinary background, and have recently been focused on the restorations of historic theatre buildings. Project involvement: 2014-16.

 bio-photoRhys Naylor is a fourth year undergraduate student in York’s Theatre Studies program, as well as the Department’s Playwriting series of courses. Originally from Brandon, Manitoba, Rhys initially moved east to study Physics at the University of Toronto, before finding his place in Theatre at York. In addition to his studies, Rhys studies and performs improvisation at The Second City, and is thrilled to be able to work on this research project, exploring the fascinating link between child performance and Empire.

14724153_10154551115607305_716492019_oRebecca Tran is a student of Theatre and Performance Studies and Playwriting at York University. As a Vietnamese-Canadian, she is interested in learning more about Asian Theatre. She hopes to have the opportunity to study the history of Asian Theatre and popular acting styles in Asia. As a writer, she is interested in exploring the narratives of the Asian community and hopes to be able to create a production that strongly resonates within the Asian community by representing their culture and showcasing their rich history.


Molly Thomas is a third year undergraduate student in York’s Devised Theatre program. She is also a student of Dramaturgy, Directing and Design, and is a member of York’s Theatre Student Association. After receiving her vocational dance training in Red Deer, Alberta, (along with training stints in Edmonton, Kelowna, Detroit, Boston and New York), Molly ventured to Toronto in search of an intense and diverse education in all things performance-related. She was thrilled to find this in York’s Department of Theatre, and is now thoroughly excited to be involved in this research project, as the history of theatre is of great personal interest. She hopes this work will enrich the research environment surrounding 19th century child performers, and shed light on their many roles (both theatrical and social) within the societies of their era.

Anthony Sansonetti is a student of Theatre and Performance Studies and English Literature at York University. His pioneering essay on the cultural politics of transgender children’s artwork will be published by Demeter Press in 2017. In his spare time, Anthony enjoys reading about dead poets, entomology and Greek mythology.



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