Chair, Division of Theatre, Head of Theatre Studies, Associate Professor
Dr. Smith is a playwright, theatre historian and performance studies scholar. Her primary research areas include popular and court performance in England and France during the 17th and 19th centuries; she focuses on the cultural influences of gender, spectacle, identity, and urbanism. She is currently at work on a study of the Actress as cultural icon during the second half of the 19th century in Paris.
Her publications include The Performance of Male Nobility in Molière’s Comédies-Ballets: Staging the Courtier (Ashgate) and “Aurore Dupin Dudevant and Jean-Baptiste Poquelin: George Sand Reconstructs Molière” in Author as Character (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press). She has presented papers to the American Society for Theatre Research, the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, the International Federation for Theatre Research, the Society for French Studies, the American Literature Association, the Society for French Historical Studies, the Western Society for French History, the Nineteenth Century French Studies Colloquium and other national and international conferences. As a playwright her work has been performed in various cities including New York and Athens; her writing interrogates the idea of history, biography, gender, and identity. She is engaged in translating several of Molière’s comedies-ballets into English performance texts.
Since 1995, she has been the mentor and producer of New Visions, New Voices, staging original plays written by BFA students. Plays and playwrights from NVNV have gone on to production in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Seattle, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Austin, Miami, and Washington, DC.
Dr. Smith is an active mentor in SMU’s Engaged Learning program, working with over 25 students on projects centered in Dallas, New York, Seoul, Paris, Madrid, Berlin, Moscow and London. In 2013 she received Engaged Learning’s Excellence in Mentoring Award. She is also active in SMU’s Study Abroad program, having taught and led programs in London and Oxford since 2003.
Ph.D., Theatre, Indiana University, Bloomington
M.F.A., Playwriting, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
B.A., English, The College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, Va.
- Early theatre history from Greece’s Golden Age to Baroque France
- Gender in Performance
- American Drama & the Citizen
- Ritual, Festival & Theatre
- Playwriting I-IV