WRITER, THEATRE SCHOLAR, AND DRAMATURG
Magda Romanska is a Visiting Associate Professor of Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism at Yale School of Drama and Associate Professor of Dramaturgy and Theatre Studies at Emerson College. She is also a Research Associate at Harvard University’s Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies and Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. In the past, she has been Visiting Associate Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures and Visiting Associate Professor of Dramatic Arts at Harvard University.
After receiving her bachelor’s degree from Stanford University’s honor program in Modern Thought and Literature, Romanska earned her Ph.D. from Cornell University’s Department of Theater, Film, and Dance in 2006. While she was a graduate student, she was a special student at Yale School of Drama and visiting scholar in the Department of Comparative Literature at Yale University.
Fields: Dramatic Theory, Dramaturgy, Theatre and Transmedia Studies, Posthumanism, Disability Studies, and Polish Studies.
Magda Romanska’s scholarship has been recognized with two international awards: the Gerald Kahan Scholar’s Prize from The American Society for Theatre Research and the Aquila Polonica Article Prize from The Polish Studies Association. She is the author of five books: The Post-traumatic Theatre of Grotowski and Kantor (2012), The Routledge Companion to Dramaturgy (2014), and Boguslaw Schaeffer: An Anthology (2012). Her Reader in Comedy: An Anthology of Theory and Criticism (co-edited with Alan Ackerman), and The Theatre of Tadeusz Kantor (co-edited with Kathleen Cioffi) are both forthcoming in 2016.
She has published dozens of articles / essays / book chapters on theatre and performance. Her book chapters are anthologized in International Women Stage Directors (2013), Re-writing Chekhov: The Text and Its Mutations (2012), The Sacred Tropes (2009), The Cultural Politics of Heiner Muller (2008), and Ghosts, Stories, Histories (2007). Other contributions include entries for The Oxford Encyclopedia of African American History (2009), The International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest (2009), and The Columbia Encyclopedia of Modern Drama (2007).
Romanska’s current research project, The Bionic Body: Technology, Disability and Humanism, focuses on the idea of dignity as a dramatic and narrative concept in the context of posthuman aesthetics. The project investigates our perceptions of what is and isn’t a ‘human’ body—and challenge even the very need for such a category (within both secular and sacred discourses). Drawing on interdisciplinary research from philosophy, law, art, film, performance, theatre, and disability studies, the project grapples with fundamental questions of what it means to be (and to perceive oneself as) human (or unhuman): ontologically, aesthetically, philosophically, and dramaturgically. The project also examines how the voluntary cyborg-like enhancements of the human body redefine previous categories of what is and isn’t a disabled body. These types of representations cross boundaries at the very foundations of Western man’s self-perception, whereas the disabled body becomes a palimpsest on which the centuries of our culture have etched their aesthetic, religious, ethical, philosophical, scientific, and technological forces and tensions.
Romanska is also editing a collection of essays titled Postcolonial Approaches to Central and Eastern European Theatre, which analyzes Central and Eastern European theatre and history through the prism of colonial theory. This anthology aims to address this new direction in Slavic and Theatre studies, examining the limits and possibilities of this shift, particularly for theatre and performance studies.
In the past, Romanska has served on the editorial boards of Theater Magazine, the Yale Journal of Law and Humanities, the Journal of Law and Theatre, 2b, An International Journal of Ideas, an interdisciplinary bilingual journal of socio-political theory and humanities, and Diacritics, a review journal of criticism and theory. She was also a founding editor of Palimpsest: Yale Literary and Arts Magazine. Currently, she’s on editorial boards of European Stages, Dramaturgies, The Cosmopolitan Review, Polish+Studies.Interdisciplinary, and The Polish Theatre Perspectives.
Romanska’s scholarship has been widely praised and reviewed including in New Theatre Quarterly, Theatre Journal, Theatre Research International, Theatre Survey, Theatre Annual A Journal of Performance Studies, Theatre Research International, American Theatre, Performer, Theatralia, The Cosmopolitan Review, Choice, and others.
You may follow her research on Academia.edu
Magda Romanska is the author of The Routledge Companion to Dramaturgy (2014). With 85 articles by 90 leading theoreticians, practitioners and scholars, it is the most comprehensive anthology of dramaturgy to date, hailed as “exquisitely curated,” “monumental volume.” Click here to read the reviews.
She served as the dramaturg at Boston Lyric Opera, Yale Rep, and ArtsEmerson. Her recent dramaturgical credits include: consulting on The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Disney Theatricals/La Jolla Playhouse), Boston Lyric Opera’s La Boheme, The Love Potion, La Traviata, I puritani, Rigolleto, Lizzie Borden, Don Giovanni, Katya Kabanova, and The Magic Flute; Iphegenia at Aulis (Yale Rep), Marat/Sade, Hamlet, Macbeth, Amadeus, The Maids, The Three Sisters and Café Variation (a co-production of SITI Company and Arts Emerson, directed by Anne Bogart). Click here to view selected dramaturgy portfolio.
Romanska has taught a variety of dramaturgy courses at Harvard and Emerson, including Principles of Dramaturgy, Transmedia and Multimedia Dramaturgy, Literary Office Management, and Digital and Social Media Dramatugy. In 2008, she launched the Dramaturgy Program at Emerson College. From 2008 to 2014, Emerson students have won three LMDA/KCACTF National Dramaturgy Awards and four Regional KCACTF Dramaturgy Awards. The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) is a national theater program involving 18,000 students from colleges and universities across the United States.
In 2014, Romanska chaired the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of Americas (LMDA) Conference in Boston. The conference brought together over 160 international dramaturgs, who participated in a total of 21 panels and discussions. This was the largest conference gathering in the organization’s 30-year history. At the conference, she also chaired a special plenary session on Digital Networks. Below are some press articles about the conference:
“International Dramaturg Conference at Emerson” – Emerson College News
“LMDA 2014 Showcases Digital Networks” – TheTheatreTimes
“Dramaturgs Take Lead” – TheTheatreTimes
Romanska’s other press interviews and articles about dramaturgy:
“Building the Future for Opera in a Digital World” – In The Wings
“Meet the Dramaturg: Interview with Magda Romanska” – In The Wings
“Offstage, Dramaturgs Are Playing a Prominent Role” – The Boston Globe
“Interview with the Dramaturg: Magda Romanska” – APPEX
“Dramaturgs Hit Historical Note” – The Berkeley Beacon
Magda Romanska is the Executive Director and Co-Founder (with Beatriz Cabur) of TheTheatreTimes.com.
TheTheatreTimes.com is a non-partisan, global portal for theatre news. With more than fifty Regional Managing Editors around the world, we aim to be the most wide-reaching and comprehensive theatre news source online. In addition to our original content, The Theatre Times filters through more than eighty sources, around six hundred articles and thousands of pages of theatre news every day. Combining premium content with ease of use, The Theatre Times provides a high-performance experience that readers can trust. Curating a steady stream of the top theatre information, The Theatre Times is a leading destination for theatre audiences and professionals worldwide. Facilitating global, transcontinental collaborative models, and generating opportunities for interaction and creative development amongst a wide network of international theatre artists, The Theatre Times asserts the importance and impact of theatre as one of the oldest and most universal forms of human expression.
THE INSTITUTE FOR TRANSMEDIA ART AND PERFORMANCE
Magda Romanska is a Co-Founder (with Loudon Stearns) of The Institute for Transmedia Art and Performance, a Boston-based, inter-institutional research and performance lab focused on the intersection of new media technology, including video mapping and social media, and live, multi-location, and immersive events.
The Institute serves as a developmental hub for experimental multimedia performance as well as an academic research and teaching resource. The Institute’s core artistic and research groups consist of faculty and artists from Boston-based academic and artistic institutions, including Emerson College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Berklee College of Music, Harvard University, Tufts University, Boston University, and Boston Lyric Opera. Combining the human capital and resources from all participating institutions, the Institute aims to explore and contest interdisciplinary and transhuman boundaries and challenges involved in the growing interaction of human and technological worlds. The Institute’s goal is to focus solely on contemporary themes and subjects, through creative and research projects that tackle modern problems, philosophically, aesthetically, and dramaturgically. The increasing movement among contemporary theatre, dance and opera companies toward large-scale, site-specific and multi-site multimedia engagements underscores the Institute’s vital role in supporting the research and development of these types of productions.
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