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E.J. Westlake

E.J. Westlake

E.J. Westlake

Chair and Professor of Theatre, Film, and Media Arts
she/her or they/them


468 Theatre, Film, and Media Arts Building
1932 College Road
Columbus, OH 43210

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Areas of Expertise

  • Performance, gender, theory, and practice
  • Theatre pedagogy
  • Devising theatre about science
  • Postmodernism
  • Ethnography
  • Performance studies
  • Postcolonialism and nationalism
  • 19th- and 20th-Century European and American drama


  • PhD University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • MA Portland State University
  • BIS University of Minnesota-Minneapolis

E.J. Westlake is the author of Our Land is Made of Courage and Glory: Nationalist Performance in Nicaragua and GuatemalaWorld Theatre: The Basics, and co-editor of Political Performances: Theory and Practice. She is working on a book-length study and new translation of El Güegüence, the national dance drama of Nicaragua, due out on Southern Illinois University Press in 2022. Westlake's articles have appeared in Theatre AnnualLatin American Theatre ReviewTDR, and Youth Theatre Journal, on everything from theatre history pedagogy to the performance of the self on Facebook.

Chapters have appeared in numerous books, most notably in Sporting Performances (2020), Theatre, Performance, and Change (2017), Theatre Historiography: Critical Questions (2010), and the Oxford Handbook on Dance and Theatre (2015). Westlake was recently the editor of Theatre Journal and Treasurer of the American Society of Theatre Research. Westlake was a Fulbright grantee for the 2011-12 year and has twice received the American Society for Theatre Research Fellowship.

Westlake has taught performance theory, theatre history, dramatic literature, playwriting, directing, acting, devising, theatre pedagogy, world theatre, and cultural anthropology. She most recently taught theatre history and performance theory at the University of Michigan.

Before coming to academia, Westlake cofounded and managed Stark Raving Theatre in Portland, Oregon. She worked in Portland as a director and playwright and won the Oregon Book Award in 1992 for her play A.E.: The Disappearance and Death of Amelia Earhart. She continues to write and adapt plays, including plays for young performers.

Westlake hails from the Birthplace of Aviation, Dayton, Ohio, where she attended the Colonel White High School for the Performing Arts. She was a loyal Reds fan until her loyalties followed Sparky Anderson to the Detroit Tigers. She enjoys attending parades, festivals, memorials, baseball games, and other performative events. She has also (very slowly) finished several marathons, orienteering races, and triathlons.

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