Joanna Settle Appointed as New Associate Arts Professor of Theater

Portrait of Joanna Settle

Press Release

NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) has named Joanna Settle as Associate Arts Professor of Theater in the Arts and Humanities division. Settle will join the NYUAD theater program from September 1, 2017, bringing 20 years of education experience as well as her extensive career as a theater director to the position.

Settle recently directed the world premiere of Stew and Heidi Rodewald’s new musical The Total Bent in a twice-extended run at New York’s Public Theater. Other Public Theater credits include, Winter Miller's In Darfur and the Finale of Suzan-Lori Park's 365 Plays/365 Days. She also directed the world premiere of Heather Raffo’s celebrated Nine Parts of Desire at Manhattan Ensemble Theater, and for subsequent productions at theaters and art museums around the US.

She has two prominent world premieres set for the stage in 2018, including NOURA by Heather Raffo, a new play about an Iraqi immigrant family living in New York that will premiere at the Shakespeare Theater Company in Washington D.C. in February 2018, and a new opera with Opera Philadelphia set to premiere September 2018.

Of her appointment Settle said: “Each conversation on my way to considering this appointment found a deeper resonance between the mission of NYU Abu Dhabi and the motors driving my own work as an artist and educator. I seek environments, in my creative practice and classroom, that force new paths for discovery by incorporating the unexpected. NYU Abu Dhabi has gathered extraordinary intergenerational voices from around the globe — students, faculty, and staff — to engage each other toward a deeper understanding of the world around us.”

NYUAD Dean of Arts and Humanities Robert Young said: "I am delighted to greet Joanna into the NYU Abu Dhabi family. Her contribution to cultivating a local approach to theater performance, which will serve both international and local artists and audiences, is a thrilling addition to the Theater Program."

Affiliated Faculty/Theater Program Head, NYU Abu Dhabi and Associate Arts Professor, TSOA Department of Drama, Experimental Theatre Wing, NYU Tisch School of the Arts Catherine Coray, said: “The addition of Professor Settle to the NYUAD Theater Program promises an exciting and welcome expansion of the curriculum, particularly in the area of directing. Her training (as part of the inaugural Graduate Directing class at the Juilliard School) and her experience directing and collaborating on the development of world premiere productions of classics, new plays and musicals, as well as interdisciplinary collaborations in opera and cabaret, enable her to offer students an enormous range of perspective on making theater.”

Settle served as the Artistic Director of Chicago’s Division 13 Productions from 1998 to 2004 and directed and adapted 15 of D13’s 17 projects, including BLOOD LINE: The Oedipus/Antigone Story, two plays by Sophocles, Macbett by Ionesco, and several Samuel Beckett shorts including Cascando and Play. She served as Artistic Director of Shakespeare on the Sound 2009 to 2012, where she directed free outdoor Shakespeare productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Othello, Much Ado About Nothing, and Romeo and Juliet for audiences of up to 2,000 people per night. 

Settle completed her graduate studies at The Juilliard School and holds a BA in Theater Directing and Design from Hampshire College. She has taught and guest directed at Bard College, Williams College, Juilliard, Cornell, Stanford University’s PhD Program, and served as Director of the Ira Brind School of Theater Arts at the University of the Arts from 2014 to 2016.

NYUAD’s theater program engages in the practice and study of theater and performance to critically evaluate and demonstrate historic and contemporary social and cultural relations across the globe. Embedded as it is in our global network, the major uses global theater and performance practices to imagine and exhibit ways to enact these relations differently — and hopefully, for the better — believing when enacted, plays and performances are events that transform all its participants.

Additional information on the theater program:

About NYU Abu Dhabi

NYU Abu Dhabi is the first comprehensive liberal arts and research campus in the Middle East to be operated abroad by a major American research university. NYU Abu Dhabi has integrated a highly selective undergraduate curriculum across the disciplines with a world center for advanced research and scholarship. The university enables its students in the sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities, and arts to succeed in an increasingly interdependent world and advance cooperation and progress on humanity’s shared challenges. NYU Abu Dhabi’s high-achieving students have come from over 115 countries and speak over 115 languages. Together, NYU's campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai form the backbone of a unique global university, giving faculty and students opportunities to experience varied learning environments and immersion in other cultures at one or more of the numerous study-abroad sites NYU maintains on six continents.