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Rebekah Maggor is a theatre artist and scholar. She directs, devises, adapts, translates, and researches theatre that questions entrenched power structures and pushes the boundaries of our contemporary political conversation. Maggor’s approach to creating and writing about theatre brings together experience and expertise in acting, directing, voice and speech, and translation. She is interested in the ways that actors use their voice and body to dramatize collective storytelling. She has been influenced by the many directors she has worked with including Anthony Page, Robert Woodruff, Anne Bogart, Karin Coonrod, Peter Sellars, János Szász, Andrei Serban, and Roman Kozak. As a voice, speech and dialect specialist, she has coached on Broadway, in regional theatres and consulted for film and television.
Her research centers on political theatre and drama in translation, with an emphasis on recent Arabic drama from Egypt, Palestine, and Syria. She is particularly interested in significant new dramatic works that have emerged during the “Arab Spring” uprisings of 2011 and their immediate aftermath. Her research interrogates these plays as literary works, attending to themes, forms, and genre. More broadly, however, she situates these works in their social and historical contexts, looking to understand both the dramatists – their backgrounds, training, sources of inspiration, artistic and political objectives – and the dense ecosystem in which they operate, including social networks, artistic collaborations, cultural institutions, public venues, sources of funding, and audiences. To this end, she conducts research on dramatists and theatre companies through interviews, informal conversations, and observation of performances, discussions, and rehearsals. She combines this embedded perspective with artifacts from performances such as program notes, photographs, videos, promotional materials, reviews, news articles, and interviews in various media outlets.
She co-edited, co-translated and wrote the introduction to the anthology Tahrir Tales: Plays from the Egyptian Revolution (Seagull Books), which received a Literature in Translation Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. As a Fulbright scholar in the Middle East and North Africa Regional Research Program she studied Palestinian theatre and performance. She is currently working on an anthology of new Palestinian drama, Theatre Between Home and Exile: New Plays from Palestine, co-edited with Marvin Carlson and Mas’ud Hamdan (Martin E. Segal Theatre Center Publications). Maggor has received grants and commissions from the Fulbright Program, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Doris Duke Foundation Building Bridges Program, the Mellon Foundation’s TCG Global Connections Program, the Radcliffe Institute, the Huntington Playwriting Fellows, the Einaudi Center for International Studies, the Catalyst Collaborative @ M.I.T., the Foundation for Jewish Culture, and the Middle Eastern Theater Project.
Maggor has directed her translations at the PEN America World Voices Festival, the Huntington Theatre Company, the ReOrient Festival, the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University, the Segal Theatre Center, Vanderbilt University, and Cornell University. Her recent productions include Hamlet Wakes Up Late, a biting political satire of Shakespeare's tragedy by renowned Syrian poet and playwright Mamduh Adwan, and Desert of Light a black tragicomedy by Palestinian-Syrian writer Rama Haydar, which reveals the tragic absurdity of the Syrian cival war.
As a theatre artist and scholar who loves to teach, Maggor has given considerable thought to how theatre techniques can improve pedagogy across various disciplines. She has devised approaches to integrating performance techniques into the classroom and given numerous workshops and courses on the dynamics of classroom discussion, the lecture as performance, and the role of the physical voice in student learning. From 2006-2010 she was Founding Director of the Program in Speaking and Learning at the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning at Harvard University, where she worked with professors from over thirty departments to improve their teaching.
- Performing and Media Arts
- Performing and Media Arts
- Near East Studies