Each academic year, the NYU Abu Dhabi Theater Program welcomes leading artists, practictioners, and scholars to present workshops, lectures, and productions for students, providing them unique access to leading talent in performing arts.

Jane Arnfield

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Jane Arnfield has been a member of three ensemble companies: Mike Alfreds Method & Madness, The David Glass Ensemble especially Lost Child Project in South East Asia, South America and Europe, and the Northern Stage Ensemble. Arnfield has worked with a range of international theater directors including Richard Gregory from Quarantine, Mike Alfreds at Hampstead Theatre, The Young Vic and Shakespeare's Globe in London, and with Mark Ryland who directed her as Imogen in Cymbeline. Specializing in the transformation of first-hand witness testimony into theatrical landscapes, Arnfield’s recent research includes autobiography and biography in relation to the subjects of the Holocaust and the Cambodian Genocide.

Joseph Daly

J. Edmond Daly trained in South India under K.P. Kittappa Pillai, fifth-generation decendant of the renowned Tanjore Quartet and as a choreographer, following initial traditional Bharatanatyam repertoire work with Kittappa. He also trained in the US with Gina Lalli, a student of Chokkalingam Pillai, one of Kittappa's uncles. He is an occasional guest instructor for university workshops in traditional Bharatanatyam and improvisational polyrhythm work. He has guest-taught at NYU's Experimental Theater Wing, at NYU Florence, at the University of Ohio, Columbus, and in Havana, Cuba.

Anna Deveare Smith


Smith is said to have created a new form of theater. She has created over 18 one-person shows based on hundreds of interviews, most of which deal with social issues. Twilight: Los Angeles, about the Los Angeles race riots of 1992, was performed around the country and on Broadway. Her most recent one-person show, Let Me Down Easy, focused on healthcare in the US.

Fritz Ertl

Fritz Eertl was co-founder of the award-winning BACA Downtown New Works Project in 1989. He has directed and produced new American plays by Mac Wellman, Paula Vogel, Neena Beber, Erik Ehn, and Allan Havis at HOME, BACA Downtown, Hudson Guild Theater, Moving Target Theatre, and the Berkshire Theatre Festival. Most recently he directed Franz Xavier Kroetz’s Mensch Meier at the Hudson Guild Theatre, and Severity's Mistress at New York University.

Matthew Francis


Matthew Francis is a graduate of Stanford University, where he developed a one-man show under the tutelage of Anna Deavere Smith entitled She Just Stopped Breathing, which concerns the loss of his mother at age 13. He was subsequently awarded a Golden Grant from Stanford to create a one-person docudrama about twins and Twinsburg, Ohio (he is an identical twin himself). For House Arrest, Ms. Smith’s docudrama exploring the relationship between the press and the presidency, Mr. Francis traveled with Ms. Smith through the South to conduct interviews about black church burnings and with the Christian Right at the Republican National Convention. He is featured in her books, Talk to Me: Travels in Media and Politics and Letters to a Young Artist. He was also Ms. Smith’s first teaching apprentice at New York University.

Trajal Harrel

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Trajal Harrell’s work has been presented at many venues including The Kitchen, Danspace Project, Dance Theater Workshop, P.S. 122, Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) Boston, Dance Mission (San Francisco, CA), the former San Francisco Institute of Choreography, Cornell University’s Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts, Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX), Snug Harbor Cultural Center, and CUNY’s Martin Segal Theater and Proshansky Auditorium, among others. Internationally, his work has toured to festivals in France, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, Brazil, Germany, Poland, Croatia, and Mexico including prestigious festivals such as such as Rencontres Chorégraphiques-Paris, Festival d’Avignon, Impulstanz-Vienna, Tanzim August- Berlin, and Panorama Festival, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Brian Herrera

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Brian Herrera's "I Was the Voice of Democracy" received its world premiere presentation as part of SoloFest 2010 at The Filling Station in Albuquerque (where it was selected as the Festival's closing night "Encore Presentation"). Subsequently, "I Was the Voice of Democracy" has been presented at New York's Dixon Place, Taos's Metta Theatre, Seattle's Annex Theatre, at Albuquerque's The Kosmos ArtSpace, at the University of California at Los Angeles, at the University of Kansas, and at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill). The show has also been featured as part of the 2012 Revolutions International Theatre Festival (ABQ), the 2012 NoPassport Theatre Conference (Arizona), at Cornell's 2012 Resoundingly Queer Conference (Ithaca) and as the Keynote Performance of the LGBTQ Pre-Conference of the 2011 annual meeting of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education. A radio version of the show premiered on KUNM’s Radio Theatre in June 2011 and has since been heard coast to coast on public radio stations in the United States and Canada via Public Radio Exchange.

Rajiv Joseph

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Rajiv Joseph's Bengal Tiger in the Baghdad Zoo is a haunting play, set against the backdrop of the Iraq War. It's told from multiple perspectives: a Bengal tiger is the chief narrator, but there are also two American soldiers, their Iraqi translator, and a host of spirits. The dead have just as much voice as the living, maybe more. It's a complicated work, with surreal elements, highly theatrical, and deeply imaginative. In 2010, Bengal Tiger at the Bagdad Zoo was named a finalist for the Pultizer Prize in Drama.

Olivier Kemeid

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Olivier Kemeid is was one of the founding members and is co-artistic director of the theater company Trois Tristes Tigres. He has written, among other plays, Bacchanale (2008), created at the Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui and The Aeneid (2007), his adaptation of Virgil’s epic poem, that he directed himself. The play is published in French by Lansman editor, and translated in English by Judith Miller, in German by Frank Heibert, and in Hungarian by György Kassai. The Aeneid has been produced or read in France, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, and United States. In July 2008, The Aeneid was read at the celebrated Avignon Festival. Olivier Kemeid was also the artistic director of Théâtre Espace Libre in Montreal, from 2006 to 2010.

Allen Kuharski

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Kuharski provides a critical summary of the fifty-year professional history of contemporary French director Ariane Mnouchkine and her company the Théâtre du Soleil, with Kuharski's experience of teaching an honors seminar on theater history at Swarthmore College with Mnouchkine's work as the theme. Kuharski discusses Mnouchkine and her company as exemplars of experimental theater understood as research and development in the pursuit of best new standard practices and addresses the apparent contradictions of such a mission for a unique theatrical auteur. Transmission of the results of such performance research is addressed through a comparative discussion of Mnouchkine's relevance and influence in contemporary American and global theater practice.

Kofi Kwahulé


Koffi Kwahulé is an Ivorian writer, director, and actor, and is one of the foremost African playwrights in the world. He has written over 20 plays that have been translated into numerous languages and produced throughout Europe and North America. For his contributions to the artistic world of France, he is a recipient of the prestigious Edouard-Glissant prize.

Abhishek Majumdar


Abhishek Majumdar is a playwright and theater director based in Bangalore. He is the artistic director of the Indian Ensemble. His plays have been performed both nationally and internationally. Majumdar has trained in Delhi, Pondicherry, and Bangalore. He also is an alumnus of the London International School of Performing Arts. Abhishek Majumdar has received the Charles Wallace Trust Fellowship, the Inlaks Scholarship, the Lispa Scholarship, and the Robert Bosch Arts Grant. He is a member of the Young Vic Director’s network, London and was at the Lincoln Center Director’s Lab in 2012.

Phantom Limb Company

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New York City-based Phantom Limb Company is known for its work with marionette-puppetry and focus on collaborative, multi-media theatrical production and design.

Co-founded in 2007 by installation artist, painter, and set designer Jessica Grindstaff and composer and puppet maker Erik Sanko, Phantom Limb has been lauded for its unconventional approach to this venerable format. Phantom Limb includes a large rotating cast of friends, collaborators, artists, dancers, and puppeteers.

Nicholas Ridout

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Nicholas Ridout is Professor of Theatre at Queen Mary University of London. He is the author of Stage Fright, Animals, and Other Theatrical Problems; Theatre and Ethics; and most recently, Passionate Amateurs: Theatre, Communism, and Love.

Milla Riggio

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Professor Riggio will be giving a talk on Hosay and Carnival: Jumping up in Trindad. Hosay commemorates the slaughter of Hussein, the Prophet's grandson, on the plains of Karbala (today's Iraq) in the year 61 A.H. (680 C.E.). What has this Shi’a processional tradition imported into Trinidad from South Asia have to do with the ribald pre-Lenten Carnival? Trinidadians cross-celebrate their festivals — Hosay is celebrated by Muslims, Hindus, and Christians. Many South Asians participate in Carnival. Professor Riggio explores Hosay and Carnival to redefine the "Carnivalesque" as a festive ethos of individual and cultural identity enacting a dialectic of subversion and affirmation, respectability, and vagabondage.

Tim Supple

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Tim Supple has directed and adapted theater throughout the UK and in Europe, North and South America, and the Middle and Far East. He has worked regularly at the Royal National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company and was Artistic Director of the Young Vic from 1993 to 2000. He is currently co-director of Dash Arts.