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Theresa J. May
207 Villard Hall

MFA in Acting from the University of Southern California; PhD in Theatre History and Criticism from the University of Washington.


Basic and Advanced Acting, Embodiment, Environmental Theatre, Postcolonial Theatre/theory, Ecodrama/ecocriticsm, Native theatre, Latino/a drama.

Pedagogical approach

I am a follower of Paulo Freire’s educational model in which we are all collaborative learners at every step; in the acting studio this means listening to our emotional intelligence and embodied knowledge; in the seminar room, it means sharing knowledge and lived experience to decolonize our minds.

Research interests

Ecodramaturgy/Eco-theatre, Native/Indigenous Drama, Environmental Humanities, Environmental Justice, Community-based Performance, Theatre for Social Change, Sustainable Theatre Management.


Co-founder, exec director of Earth Matters on Stage (EMOS) ecodrama playwrights festival.

2014 Faculty Project Award CSWS for Women and Rivers Project; KCACTF Semi-Finalist David Mark Cohen Award for Salmon Is Everything; 2011 Oregon Humanities Center Grant for Salmon Is Everything; 2009 College of Arts and Sciences Special Project Grant for EMOS.

Fun Facts: Theresa was part of Grotowski’s Mountain Project in 1978; she worked as a clown after college, co-wrote the first book on sustainable theatre, and ran two site-specific theatre companies, one in LA and one in Seattle.

Publication highlights


Salmon Is Everything: Community-Based Theatre in the Klamath Watershed. Oregon State University Press, 2014.

Readings in Ecology and Performance, co-edited with Wendy Arons. New York: Palgrave McMillan, 2012 (paperback 2015). 256p.

Greening Up Our Houses: A Guide to an Ecologically Sound Theatre (with Larry Fried). New York: Drama Book Pub. , 1994. 132 p.

Current book project: Ecodramaturgy: Greening American Theatre.


“Meditations on the Pain of Others: Theatre Squad’s Site-specific Protests.”  Theatre Topics (March 2012): 23-37.

“Kneading Marie Clements’ Burning Vision.” Canadian Theatre Review 144 (Fall 2010): 5-12.

“Beyond Bambi: Toward a Dangerous Ecocriticism.” Theatre Topics 17:2 (2007):95-110.

“’Consequences unforeseen . . .’ in Raisin in the Sun and Caroline, or Change.” Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism XX:2 (2006): 127-144.

“Greening the Theatre: Taking Ecocriticism from Page to Stage.” Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies 7(1) (Fall 2005): 84-103.

“The Ecology of Willy Loman.” New England Theatre Journal 14 (2004):63-76.

“(Re)Placing Lillian Hellman.” Journal of American Drama and Theatre 11:2 (1999):17-41.

“Frontiers: Environmental History, Ecocriticism and The Kentucky Cycle.” Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism XIV:1 (Fall 1999):159-178.

“Bahktin on Site: Chronotopes in Theatre in the Wild’s Dragon Island.” On-Stage Studies (1999) 22:19-38.

“Taking the Cage Out of the Gaze: Perception, Wilderness and the New Zoo.”  Theatre Insight (1999) 10(2).


“Ecodramaturgy and/of Contemporary Women Playwrights” with Wendy Arons  in Contemporary  Women Playwrights, Lesley Ferris and  Penny Farfan, (eds.) (New York: Palgrave MacMillian, 2013): 181-196.

“Indigenous Theatre in Global Times: Situated Knowledge and Ecological  Communities in Salmon Is Everything and Burning Vision,” in The World  a Stage:           Performance in Behalf of the Environment.” Richard Besel, Jnan Blau, (eds.). (New York: Rowen and Littlefield Publishing Group, 2013): Ch. 8. 18p.

“Toward Communicative Democracy: Developing Salmon Is Everything.” Community Performance: A Reader, Petra Kuppers and Gwen Robertson, (eds.). (London: Routledge, 2007): 153-154.

“Remembering the Mountain: Grotowski’s Deep Ecology.” Performing Nature: Explorations in Ecology and the Arts, Gabriella Giannachi and Stewart Nigel (eds.), Bern, (Switzerland: Peter Lang, 2005): 345-359.