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Gretchen Smith

Gretchen Smith

Associate Professor, Head of Theatre Studies

Gretchen Elizabeth Smith is a playwright, theatre historian and performance studies scholar. Her primary research areas include the history of popular and court performance in the 17th and 19th centuries, focusing on the cultural influences of gender, identity and urbanism on performers, playwrights and spectators. She is currently at work on a study of the actress as cultural icon during the second half of the 19th century in Paris.

Dr. Smith teaches courses in theatre history, playwriting and performance studies including Gender in Performance; American Dramatic Literature & The Citizen; and Ritual, Festival & Theatre. As well as teaching the playwriting sequence, Smith produces New Visions, New Voices, the Meadows Division of Theatre’s annual new play reading festival. Plays and playwrights from New Visions, New Voices have gone on to New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Minneapolis, Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Atlanta, Austin and Dallas. Smith taught in the SMU-in-Oxford program from 2003 to 2014 and is currently co-director of the SMU-in-London: Arts & Culture program.

Since 2012, Smith has been an active mentor in SMU’s Engaged Learning program, working with over 20 students on projects centered in Dallas, New York, Paris, Berlin, Moscow and London. In 2013 she received Engaged Learning’s Excellence in Mentoring Award.

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). Recently she gave a paper on George Bernard Shaw’s WWI plays at the University College-London; she has also presented 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.

At SMU she serves on the University Curriculum committee, the Meadows Exploration Award committee (student grants), the Education Abroad Council and the President’s Scholars Selection committee. She has been the education chair for Women in Film/Dallas and the chair and vice-chair of playwriting for Region VI for the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival, as well as the awards administrator for the Jane Chambers Playwriting Award (Association for Theatre in Higher Education/Women in Theatre Program).


Ph.D., Theatre, Indiana University, Bloomington
M.F.A., Playwriting, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
B.A., English, The College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, Va.


THEA 4381, 4382, 4383, 4384, 4385: Studies in Theatre, Drama and Performance
THEA 3331, 3332, 4331, 4332: Playwriting 1-4
THEA 3381: History of Western Theatre I


Areas of Study



Art History

Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship

Corporate Communication and Public Affairs

Creative Computation


Film and Media Arts




Undergraduate Studies

Graduate Studies

Classes (See Catalog)


Faculty and Staff

Opportunities for Non-Theatre Majors

Student Internships & Collaborations


Our Season


Actor Showcases

MFA Design Showcase