Claire Syler is a scholar/artist who joins the MU Theatre faculty after earning a PhD in Theatre & Performance Studies (with an emphasis in the Learning Sciences) at the University of Pittsburgh. Her dissertation, “Actor Coaching: Talking Performance into Being,” uses sociocultural learning theory and cognitive theatre studies to analyze how actor coaching induces performance through scaffolded learning opportunities. Claire’s scholarly and creative interests include Applied and Community-Based Theatre, Shakespearean Performance and Historiography, and Directing and Devised Performance.
As a theatre practitioner, Claire has more than ten years professional experience creating theatre for, and with, young people. During her tenure as the Education Director for the Nashville Shakespeare Festival, she helped secure and carry out three NEA Shakespeare in American Communities grants, which brought professional productions of Macbeth, Hamlet, and The Tempest to over 4,500 students in Middle Tennessee. In addition, she frequently directed for the Nashville Shakespeare Festival (The Two Gentleman of Verona, Shakespeare’s Case, The Tempest) and designed performance-based curricula for the company’s Apprentice Company program. As a Teaching Artist, Claire has worked in countless classrooms and consulted for a number of cultural institutions, including the Nashville Children’s Theatre, TN Performing Arts Center, Big Machine Records, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, and Attack Theatre.
Claire’s 2012 Theatre Topics article “Personal Narratives: A Course Design for Introduction to Theatre” offers an instructional sequence for the basic theatre course, and has been employed at a range of institutions, including: University of Kansas, College of Charleston, James Madison University, and Belmont University. She has published reviews for Journal of Dramatic Theory & Criticism, Modern Drama, Theatre History Studies (in press)and the Teaching Artist Journal.
Education & Training
- PhD - Theatre and Performance Studies, University of Pittsburgh
- MFA - Directing, University of Memphis