Christopher J. Staley

  • PhD Student

Christopher Staley is a third-year PhD student. MFA in Acting from the American Repertory Theatre/Moscow Art Theatre Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University; B.S. in Theatre and Psychology from Skidmore College.

Chris presented “Performing Through Deictic Axes: Indexical Embodiment in the Suzuki Method of Actor Training” at MATC this past Spring, as well as “Lorca’s Corpses and their Mothers: Death and the Maternal in the Rural Tragedies” for the Kristeva Circle 2017 Conference. His presentation of “Demonstrating the Actor’s Process: Empathic Projection in Sophocles’ Ajax” for the University of Pittsburgh Department of Classics Conference on “Empathy, Sympathy, and Compassion: The Dynamics of Other-Oriented Emotions” developed into a chapter contribution published in Empathy: Emotional, Ethical, and Epistemological Narratives (June 2019). 

As a theatre practitioner, he has performed at the American Repertory Theater, Indiana Repertory Theater, Moscow Art Theatre, Opera Carolina, and others. Proud member of Actors’ Equity Association. Training includes multiple SITI Company intensives at Skidmore College, master classes with Anne Bogart and Charles Mee, multiple summer trainings with the Suzuki Company of Toga in Japan, and participation with the Watermill Center International Summer Program. Chris directed Woyzeck for Pitt Stages Lab Season in Spring 2019, and in the Fall, he will be directing Dr. Faustus Lights the Lights.

Chris enjoys teaching acting and theatre movement. As a yoga instructor (RYT 200 from ISHTA Yoga), Chris has taught at studio, college, and correctional settings. TAPS classes taught at Pitt include Introduction to Performance and Introduction to Acting (through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute); in the Fall, Chris will be teaching “Olympic Stages: Theatres and Performances of Olympism” as part of the Contemporary Global Stages Curriculum.  

Research Interest Summary

Integrating cognitive science and social psychology, with an emphasis on mortality salience in performance.

Research Interests

Research  intersects theatre and performance studies with cognitive science, actor training methods, and existential psychology. Primary interests center on theories of deixis and acting pedagogy, with a secondary focus on social psychology and American deathway practices.

Education & Training

  • MFA - American Repertory Theatre/Moscow Art Theatre Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University
  • BS - Theatre and Psychology- Skidmore College
  • SITI Compnay Summer Intensive, 2009 and 2017
  • SITI Company Master Class Series (with Anne Bogart, May 2015 and December 2016
  • SITI Company Master Class Series (with Chuck Mee, December 2015; Alexander May 2015)
  • Pacific Performance Project Intensives, 2013, 2016
  • Watermill Center Summer Program with Robert Wilson 2010
  • Moscow Art Theatre Semester with Eugene O'Neill Center/National Theater Institute 2007
  • Suzuki Company of Toga Summer Intensive, August 2018