Nic Barilar - PhD Student


MA, English Literature, The University of Alabama, 2015

BA, English: Drama and Film Studies, Clarion University of Pennsylvania, 2013

BFA, Theatre: Acting, Clarion University of Pennsylvania, 2013


Nic is a third-year PhD student in theatre history and performance studies. His research interests include theatre censorship, twentieth-century Irish theatre and drama, and the politics of aesthetics. Nic is currently working on a project that investigates Samuel Beckett’s use of historically banned material as props in his plays. He has also written and presented research on the representations and dramaturgy of violence across multiple geographies, historical periods, and theatrical genres. In addition to his PhD, Nic is working towards a graduate certificate in Western European Studies.

Nic is a scholar/practitioner and has found that an engagement with practice is vital to his theoretical and historical scholarship. He has held a variety of production positions. He directed Beckett’s short plays Footfalls and Catastrophe and was the assistant director for Pitt’s production of Hair at the University of Pittsburgh. Nic was a Resident Artist with the Pittsburgh Festival Opera for their 2017 season where he served as assistant director for the original Rodgers and Hammerstein revue If I Loved You… and sang in their productions of The Marriage of Figaro and Xerxes. Nic is a proud member of Actors Equity Association and has performed professionally in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Alabama. Nic has also worked as a scenic painter for over two dozen productions. In 2010, he was recognized for outstanding achievement in projection design by The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for his work on Clarion University’s production of RENT. In 2014, he was the dramaturg for the University of Alabama’s production of Merrily We Roll Along.

At the University of Pittsburgh, Nic has taught and/or assisted with introductory courses in acting, theatre history, and performance studies. Prior to coming to Pitt, Nic taught courses in American and British literature and rhetoric/composition. Nic is the current Graduate Teaching Mentor for the department, and organizes a semesterly pedagogy colloquium. He has also led workshops on stage dialects, performing non-musical theatre songs in musical theatre settings, and using Shakespeare’s First Folio as an acting tool. Nic is also extremely proud to have founded the drama club at his high school which now presents a play every year for the community of Punxsutawney.

Invited Talks

“The Curious Case of the 1958 Dublin Theatre Festival: Irish Theatre ‘at Home’ and in the Diaspora.” The Pittsburgh Irish Festival. Hosted by the University of Pittsburgh European Studies Center. 8 September 2017.

Conference Organizing

Violent Bodies, Violent Acts Working Group. Co-convener with Vicki Hoskins. The American Society for Theatre Research. Atlanta, GA. 16-19 November 2017.

Conference Papers and Presentations

“Never Forget, Never Forgive: Violence and Audience Complicity in the 2005 Revival of Sweeney Todd.” The American Society for Theatre Research. Violent Bodies, Violent Acts Working Group. Atlanta, GA. 16-19 November 2017.

“‘Just genuine pure filth!’: Censorship, Sex, and the Queer Politics of Failure in Happy Days.” Samuel Beckett Society Conference. Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. 27-29 July 2017.

“Negotiating Local and Transnational Amateur Performance in the World Premiere of O'Casey's The Drums of Father Ned.The American Society for Theatre Research. Amateur Acts Working Group. Minneapolis, MN. 3-6 November 2016.

“Theatre of Terror: Re-thinking Foucault’s Spectacle of the Scaffold in Yussef El Guindi’s Back of the Throat.” Comparative Drama Conference. Baltimore, MD. 31 March – 2 April 2016.

“Beckett and Censorship; or, ‘It must mean something or they wouldn’t keep it.’” South-Atlantic Modern Language Association Conference. Samuel Beckett Society Panel. Atlanta, GA, 7-9 November 2014.