Professor of Theatre: Theatre History/Dramatic Literature

beckdc@jmu.edu

Contact Info

After attending the theatre conservatory at Webster University in St. Louis, Dennis received his BA (Theatre and Writing—double major) and MA (Theatre) at the University of Colorado.  He earned a PhD at the University of Texas, Austin, where he studied with Oscar G. Brockett, author of History of the Theatre.  Dennis's research concentrations include Czech theatre, experimental theatre in the USA and Europe, and acting theory and practice.  His work has been published in Theatre Journal, Theatre Survey, TheatreForum, Theater, The Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, Theatre Design and Technology (TD&T), Slavic and East European Performance, On-Stage Studies, Theatre InSight, Toronto Slavic Quarterly and in the books Alternative Theatre in Eastern Europe after the Fall of Communism (forthcoming); the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Actors and Acting (forthcoming); The Routledge Companion to Stanislavsky; Performing Freedom: Method Acting Reconsidered; Theatre and Performance in Eastern Europe; and To Teach/To Study Theatre at University: What For?.  He is currently working on a book about the dramaturgies of Czech alternative theatres and their role in preparing conditions for the democratic revolution of 1989.

For his research in the Czech Republic, Dennis earned a Fulbright Fellowship, a National Security and Education Program Fellowship, and a University of Texas Fellowship.  In addition to his scholarly pursuits, Dennis has worked as a professional actor on stage and film, having studied with Kristin Linklater, Sarah Barker, and Gavin Cameron Webb.

As a director, he has worked in Denver theatres professionally and at a number of universities.  Dennis has also worked professionally as a lighting designer for such groups as the National Theatre Conservatory at the Denver Center Theatre.

Dennis serves as co-editor of the English-language portions of volumes in the book series of the IUTA (International University Theatre Association) and has served as an editor of Theatre InSight and editor of ASTR News, the newsletter of the American Society for Theatre Research.  At James Madison, Dennis teaches theatre history and dramatic literature courses, performance analysis, theory and performance studies, contemporary theatre, and experimental theatre.  He is also Coordinator of the university’s General Education arts and humanities (Cluster Two) courses.

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