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Honors Program

Monica Stufft, PhD

Assistant Professor, Theatre Arts and Performance Studies

Monica Stufft is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Theatre where she teaches courses in Theatre and Performance Studies and is involved in production work, both as a director and dramaturg. Her specializations include popular culture, theatre historiography as well as cultural, gender, and performance theory. Her research focus is on the intersections of performance and pedagogy in the classroom with a particular interest in the theoretical and philosophical implications of collaboration and collaborative theatre making.


Monica Stufft received her B.A. in English and Theatre from Muhlenberg College, and her Ph.D. in Performance Studies from the University of California, Berkeley.

Scholarly and Creative Work

Dr. Stufft’s work is on the intersections of performance and pedagogy, such as on the ethical implications of collaboration as a central focus for undergraduate theatre programs. She is currently collaborating with Dr. Sruti Bala (University of Amsterdam) on a book project that explores how the intertwining of performance and pedagogy carries profound philosophical and theoretical implications while also raising very practical questions related to the enterprise of teaching. The manuscript will be a collection of essays exploring the epistemological shift that occurs when Performance Studies intersects Performance Theory as well as shorter pieces on particular classroom teaching examples. Dr. Stufft recently published an article entitled “Putting Collaboration Front and Center: Assessment Strategies for Theatre Departments” in the March 2013 issue of Theatre Topics in which she questions a focus on individuated modes of assessment in the field of theatre, details her development of collaboration based assessment tools, and shares insights from the implementation of those tools in the evaluation of collaboration during a production that she directed at USD. Dr. Stufft also co-wrote an article with USD graduate Michael Frederick Ahmad entitled “Performances that Matter: Theory and Practice on a Catholic University Campus” for the spring 2011 volume of Ecumenica in which they explore two performance pieces Ahmad created while enrolled in Stufft’s Performance Studies course.

At USD, she most recently directed “TBD,” a collaboratively-devised theatre piece created from scratch by students enrolled in the Spring 2013 course, THEA 494: Collaborative Theatre Making. The show featured live music and explored how Disney princesses have shaped ideals as well as wants and needs by drawing from the personal stories of the participants. The students were interested in the journey to happily ever after, what it takes to get there, and in both celebrating and troubling the characters and narratives offered by Disney. She has also directed Naomi Iizuka’s “ANON(ymous)” as well as Charles Mee’s “The Mail Order Bride” using collaborative theatre making methods. She has served as dramaturg on shows such as “Cabaret,” “An Experiment with An Air Pump,” “The Country Wife,” “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,” “The Saint Plays,” “Picasso at the Lapin Agile, “ and “First Lady Suite.” In addition to directing and dramaturging projects at the University of California, Berkeley, Professor Stufft served as Assistant Director for numerous productions at the Aurora Theatre Company (Berkeley, CA), where she worked as a dramaturg and a member of the Directors Board for the Global Age Project. She has also been involved in projects at The Magic Theatre (San Francisco, CA) and at St. Mary's College (Moraga, CA).

Dr. Stufft is currently the co-chair of the Performance Studies international Performance and Pedagogy working group with Dr. Sruti Bala. She is also the co-chair for ATHE’s Professional Development’s subcommittee on Pedagogy and Assessment with Dr. Travis Malone. She recently served as the chair of the Collaborative Research Award Committee and as a member of the Domestic Exchange Program Committee of the American Society for Theatre Research, sat on the board of Performance Studies international, and was the Membership and Finance Officer of the Susan Glaspell Society. She is a member of ASTR, ATDS, ATHE, and PSi.

Teaching Interests

In all of her courses, Dr. Stufft focuses on the various relationships between the aesthetic and the everyday, the real and the represented, and between the self and the other. Her courses are designed to facilitate and highlight the active interchange between theory and practice, between scholar and artist. At USD, she offers undergraduate courses in Performance Studies, Theatre History, Contemporary Theatre, Acting 1 and Theatre & Society as well as the Special Topics course on Collaborative Theatre Making.