Claire Syler - Doctoral Candidate



Claire Syler is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Theatre Arts and holds an MFA in Directing from the University of Memphis. During her time at Pitt she has cultivated a dual focus in Theatre & Performance Studies and the interdisciplinary field of the Learning Sciences. She is interested in articulating how performance practices afford cognitive, imaginative and affective learning opportunities. Through a classroom ethnography, her dissertation work empirically studies performance learning over time, examining the register of actor coaching as critical to the induction of both performance and learning.

Claire’s additional research interests include Applied and Community-Based Theatre, Shakespearean Performance and Historiography, and Directing and Devised Performance. These secondary interests are often fueled by her practical background as the Education Director for the Nashville Shakespeare, as well as a professional director (The Tempest, The Two Gentleman of Verona, Pride & Prejudice, Shakespeare’s Case, A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and actress (Dividing the Estate, Mother Courage, Richard III, Twelfth Night, Hamlet). 

Claire’s 2012 Theatre Topics article, “Personal Narratives: A Course Design for Introduction to Theatre” offers an instructional sequence for the basic theatre course, which is currently being employed at a range of institutions, including: University of Kansas, College of Charleston, James Madison University, and Belmont University. In addition, she has published reviews for Modern Drama, Journal of Dramatic Theory & Criticism, Theatre History Studies, and the Teaching Artist Journal. This spring she looks forward to directing Ionesco’s Rhinoceros for the Department of Theatre Arts. 


Review. Shakespeare's Medieval Craft: Remnants of the Mysteries on the London Stage by Kurt A. Schreyer. Theatre History Studies 34 (2015): in press. 

Review. Performance and Community: Commentary and Case Studies edited by Caoimhe McAvinchey. Modern Drama 58.1 (2015): 142-145. 

Review. Cognition in the Globe: Attention and Memory in Shakespeare's Theatre by Evelyn Tribble. Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism 27.2 (2013): 199-201. 

"Personal Narratives: A Course Design for Introduction to Theatre." Theatre Topics 22.2 (2012): 173-181. Peer-reviewed. 

Resource Review. “Redefining Ratso Rizzo: Learning from the Arts About Process and Reflection” by Jessica Hoffman Davis in Phi Delta Kappan. Teaching Artist Journal 4:2 (2006): 144. 


“Casting the Curriculum.” Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE). Annual Meeting. Montreal, Canada. August 2015. 

“Dialogic Reflections of Will Power to Youth.” Articles-in-Progress Symposium, Mid-America Theatre Conference (MATC). Annual Meeting. Kansas City, MO. March 2015. 

Performance of Hecuba. Class Acts: Exploring the Role of Classics in Modern Performance. University of Pittsburgh Interdisciplinary Conference. March 23, 2014. 

“Challenging Theatre Pedagogy through the Learning Sciences.” Pedagogy Symposium, MATC Annual Meeting. St. Louis, MO. March 7, 2013. 

Performance in Buried Alive. Playwrighting Symposium, MATC Annual Meeting. St. Louis, MO. March 8, 2013. 

Direction of Understanding. Playwrighting Symposium, MATC Annual Meeting. St. Louis, MO. March 9, 2013. 

“Education Salute.” Shakespeare Theatre Association of America (STAA) Annual Meeting. Nashville, TN. January 7, 2006.