Samuel N. W. Blake

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Samuel N. W. Blake ( is an artist/scholar/educator/activist and a PhD student in the Department of Performing and Media Arts at Cornell University. Sam continues his studies at Cornell after earning his MA in Performance as Public Practice from the University of Texas at Austin, where he also completed the certificate program in LGBTQ/Sexuality Studies. Originally from the suburbs of Detroit, he began graduate school after living and working professionally as a theatre artist in both Chicago and Michigan. Sam earned his BA from the University of Michigan with majors in both drama and English, as well as a minor in British history. He graduated with the Dean Robertson Award for achievement of excellence in theatre. 

While much of his theatre work has been as a director, Sam has also enjoyed being an actor, dramaturg, stage manager, and sound designer during his professional career. His most recent artistic work has focused on devised theatre including Emma When You Need Her, a biodrama on Emma Goldman, and String Up the Moon, devised from Gogul and Pushkin, and heavily influenced by the physical theatre teachings of Jacque Lecoq.

Sam’s research currently focuses on the queer youth theatre movement in the United States, with particular focus on how this movement facilitates queer youth to speak as authorities of their own experiences through performance. He has presented on his Master’s thesis (Re)Building Grandmother’s House: The work of Queer Youth Theatre Facilitators, Their Goals, Methods, and Practice at the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and at the American Society of Theatre Research. His other research interests include queer performance and theory, applied and community-based theatre, queer and embodied archives, performance ethnography, Shakespeare, Lecoq physical theatre, and clown.