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Richard Schechner

Adjunct Professor; Professor (Retired)

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Richard Schechner, one of the founders of Performance Studies, is a performance theorist, theater director, author, editor of TDR and the Enactments book series, University Professor, and Professor of Performance Studies. Schechner combines his work in performance theory with innovative approaches to the broad spectrum of performance including theatre, play, ritual, dance, music, popular entertainments, sports, politics, performance in everyday life, etc. in order to understand performative behavior not just as an object of study, but also as an active artistic-intellectual practice.  He founded The Performance Group and East Coast Artists.  His theatre productions include Dionysus in 69, Commune, The Tooth of Crime, Mother Courage and Her Children, Seneca's Oedipus, Faust/gastronome, Three Sisters, Hamlet, The Oresteia, YokastaS, Swimming to Spalding, and Imagining O. His books include Public Domain, Environmental Theater, Performance Theory, The Future of Ritual, Between Theater and Anthropology, Performance Studies: An Introduction, and Performed Imaginaries. As of 2014, his books have been translated into 17 languages. His theatre work has been seen in Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America. He has directed performance workshops and lectured on every continent except Antarctica.  He has been awarded numerous fellowships including Guggenheim, NEH, ACLS, and fellowships at Dartmouth, Cornell, Yale, Princeton, and the Central School of Speech and Drama, London.



Tulane University

PhD 1962

New Orleans, Louisiana


University of Iowa

Master of Arts 1958

Iowa City, Iowa


Cornell University

Bachelor of Arts 1956

Ithaca, New York


• Performance theory

• Experimental performance

• Asian performance

• Intercultural performance

• Ritual, play, and performance

• Theories of directing

• Broad spectrum of performance

• Globalization and performance

• Performance in everyday life

• Popular entertainments


• Performed Imaginaries

• Performance Studies -- An Introduction  (also translated into Spanish and Polish, with other translations in press)

• Performance e Antropologia (Portuguese)

• Essays of Richard Schechner (Chinese)

• Performancia: teórie, praktiky, rituály (Slovak)

• Performance: Introducere si teorie (Romanian)

• Performance: Expérimentation et théorie du théâtre aux USA (French)

• Over Under and Around: Essays on Performance and Culture Performance Theory

• Interculturele Puzzels  (Dutch)

• Environmental Theatre (also translated into Chinese and Spanish)

• Performance: Teoria & Practicas Interculturales  (Spanish)            

• Przyszlosc Rytualu (Polish)

• Magnitudini della Performance (Italian)

• Performance Studies: Where Theatre Meets Anthropology (Japanese)

• Between Theatre and Anthropology (Korean)

• Environmental Theater, expanded addition   

• The Future of Ritual

• Ka Postmodernom Pozoristu (Serbo-Croatian)

• Theater-Anthropologie (German)

• A Performance (Hungarian) 

• The Engleburt Stories (with Samuel MacIntosh-Schechner)

• La Teoria della Performance (Italian)

• Performative Circumstances from the Avantgarde to Ramlila

• The End of Humanism

• Makbeth, after Shakespeare

• Theatres, Spaces, and Environments (with Brooks McNamara and Jerry Rojo)

• Public Domain

Professional Distinctions - Awards & Distinctions

• Oslo National Academy of the Arts

• University of Messina, Italy, PhD Program in Performance Studies, University of Messina, Italy named in honor Schechner

• Thalia Prize, International Association of Theatre Critics (IATC)

• Odznake Honorowa: Zasluzony Dla Kultury Polskiej, Poland

• Lifetime Career Achievement Award, American Theatre in Higher Education

• Lifetime Achievement Award, Performance Studies International