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Jennifer Holmes

Faculty and Staff Profiles

Jennifer Holmes

Visiting Assistant Professor

CG 311
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Personal Website: 
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Teaching Philosophy

Sociologist Erving Goffman has argued that life is like theatre. Teaching about theatre is teaching about life. My goal is to develop theatre artists who are aware of the social, cultural, and political impact of the theatre so that they can be both responsible and visionary in their own practices and their own lives.

It is important to me that my students feel empowered in the classroom. I believe that students and teachers co-learn and co-create. I see my classroom as a place to exchange ideas and explore possibilities. Theatre is for everyone. I believe that actors and directors are trained, not born. Discipline, flexibility, playfulness, a sense of humor and a courageous spirit are essential. I like my classes to be filled with risk-taking and discovery. I endeavor to create a safe space for daring exploration.

I learned not only about the material itself, but I gained insight into humanity as a whole and the relationships that we have with each other. That is knowledge that I apply in real life and carry with me forever. (Student Evaluation)

I am continually impressed with the creativity, passion, and dedication my students have shown towards their chosen paths. I hope to open up my theatre students to the variety of opportunities available to them after they graduate, supporting their growth as performers, designers, directors and educators. I encourage my students to develop as brave and skilled performers, informed critics, and compassionate citizens of the world.



Ph.D. in Educational Theatre, New York University, New York, N.Y. 2013
Dissertation: Performing Through Layers: Reading the World Through Theatre in Zanzibar

Master of Arts in Educational Theatre, New York University, New York, N.Y. 2006

Bachelor of Arts in Drama, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, N.Y. 2000

Courses Taught

Beginning Acting, Directing I, Intro to Theatre

Other Institutions (partial list):
Acting I & II, Intro to Theatre, Theatre of the Oppressed, Theatre History I & II, World Theatre, Physical Theatre, Senior Thesis Seminar.

Research Interests

My research interests include theatre for social justice, theatre devising techniques, arts-based research methods and theatre for development.

Additional Training/Professional Development

Mask and Physical Theatre, Deborah Hunt, Puerto Rico
Advanced Theatre of the Oppressed, Chris Vine, New York
Aesthetics of You, Anna Deavere Smith, New York
Theatre of the Oppressed/Rainbow of Desire, Augusto Boal, Rio de Janeiro
Applied and Devised Theatre, Ireland
Physical Theatre, Bread and Puppet Theatre, Puerto Rico
Advanced Workshops – Fiona Shaw, Ben Kingsley, Rosemary Harris, and Derek Jacobi


Acting Certificate, London Academy of Theatre, London, England
    Voice – Stewart Pearce
    Acting & Shakespeare – Richard Digby Day
    Historical Dance, Laban Technique, Dialects

Acting Certificate, British American Drama Academy, Oxford, England
    Acting – Earle Gister, Ian Wooldridge
    Shakespeare – Diana Quick
    Audition – Bill Homewood
    Ensemble/Movement – Mick Barnfather (Theatre de Complicite)


A Leaf is a Book, in Theatre for Social Justice, edited by Dr. Philip Taylor, forthcoming in 2014.

Blowing up the Drama, in Theatre for Change: Education, Social Action and Therapy, edited by Dr. Robert Landy & Dr. David Montgomery. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

Using Theatre to Cope with Calamity, Teaching Artist Journal, Issue 5(1), Newsbreak Section.

The African Literacy/Playwriting Project: Confronting Some Personal Ethical Concerns, International Journal of Learning, vol. 13, issue 2, pp. 1-6, 2006.

Additional Information

Professional & Academic Affiliations

Founder & Director: Global Empowerment Theatre (
Mission Statement: Global Empowerment Theatre is an applied and educational theatre organization empowering underserved young people around the globe. We provide a stage from which young voices, silenced by poverty and inequality, can be heard by peers, teachers, families, communities and the rest of the world. We use self-expression as a tool to educate, empower, and inspire young people to transform their lives and positively impact our global community.

Member: Actors' Equity Association
Member: Screen Actors' Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists
Member: American Alliance for Theatre & Education
Member: Theatre Communications Group
Member: Educational Theatre Association
Member: Association for Theatre in Higher Education
Member: National Communication Association
Member: Kappa Delta Pi

Professional Credits

Directing/Devising (partial list):
Changing the World, Bangalore, India
The Syringa Tree by Pamela Gien, Pace University, New York, NY
Yes We Can!, Zanzibar, Tanzania
Kiembe Samaki Students' Voices, Zanzibar, Tanzania
The Circumstances of Life, Zanzibar, Tanzania
The Heart of Community, The Soul of Tanzania, Arusha, Tanzania
Selected Scenes from New Plays by Youngblood, Ensemble Studio Theatre, New York, NY

Acting (partial list):
Rose, Rose, Provincetown Playhouse, New York, NY
Ensemble/co-creator, Home, Samuel Beckett Theatre, Dublin, Ireland
Stephanie (lead), Approaching Union Square, written and directed by Marc Meyer, also starring Christine Elise, The Sundance Channel, New York, NY
Katherine, Henry V, Black Box Theatre, NYU, New York, NY
Cordelia, King Lear, Oberon Theatre Company, New York, NY                
Sunny, Sunny, Ensemble Studio Theatre, New York, NY    
St. Joan, St. Joan, Lab Theatre, New York, NY
Emily Dickinson, The Belle of Amherst, dir. Christopher Grabowski, The Rose Parlor, Poughkeepsie, NY
Julia, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, London, England
Rosalind, Love's Labour's Lost, Oxford, England
Young Estella, Great Expectations, opposite Elizabeth Franz, The Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn, NJ

Conferences and Presentations

National Communication Association Conference, Orlando, FL
Innovative Theatre Applications in International Communities
November 2012.

International Education, University of Massachusetts
Using Theatre to Explore Identity and Teach English Literacy in International Communities. November 2010.

Theatre Applications, London, England
Using Playwriting and Dramatic Techniques to Teach Literacy and Explore Identity in Tanzania. April 2010.

National Communication Association Conference, San Diego, CA
Unconventional Acting Techniques. November 2009.

Shakespeare: Page, Stage, Engage, New York University, New York, NY
Committee member – Responsible for securing Roger Rees as the Keynote Speaker. April 2008.

Arts in Education, New York University, New York, NY
The Sorting Hat: A Closer Look at Drama in Education. March 2008.

Performing the World, Tarrytown, New York
Using Theatre to Investigate Culture. October 2007.

The International Learning Conference, Montego Bay, Jamaica
Using Playwriting and Dramatic Techniques to Teach Literacy and Explore Identity. June 2006.

Honors & Awards

Doctoral Convocation Speaker, New York University, May 2014.

Voiceover artist for four characters in the Blackwell Deception video game created by Dave Gilbert for Wadjet Eye Games.
AGS Award for Best Voiceover Work, Blackwell Deception.

Jury Prize - Best Ensemble Cast, Approaching Union Square, Idaho Panhandle International Film Festival. Awarded for portraying "Stephanie."

Kappa Delta Pi, Beta Pi Chapter, International Teachers' Honor Society, New York University.

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