Shilarna Stokes

Shilarna Stokes's picture
Lecturer Theater and Performance Studies
+1 646-724-0161

Shilarna Stokes is a theatre/performance scholar and director of Indian origin. She holds a BA in Literature and Theater Studies from Yale University as well an MFA in Directing and a PhD in Theatre from Columbia University. She joins Yale after serving as an Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Theatre at Ohio State. Most recently she was the artistic director of Be the Street, a site-specific, community-devised performance project, two years in the making, that featured thirty residents of Columbus, Ohio, working with an interdisciplinary team of thirty graduate students and faculty. She has directed more than thirty new plays and musicals for companies including Cherry Lane, Soho Rep, Boston Theatre Works, Epic Theatre, and the Lark Play Development Center. Other major directing credits include The Comedy of Errors, The Ghost Sonata, Hedda Gabler, The Philadelphia Story, and Escape from Happiness. She has been awarded residencies and fellowships from Second Stage Theatre, Williamstown Theater Festival, the Ontological-Hysteric Theatre, the Women’s Project, Geva Theatre, and the SSDC. She has directed undergraduates for the Yale Dramat (Bat Boy, the Musical), at Hampshire College (Under Titanic), at SUNY-Brockport (Getting Out), and both graduate and undergraduate students at Ohio State (The Coast of Illyria and One Man, Two Guvnors). Her work as a director informs her writing projects, which examine how mass spectacles, pageants, and festivals give shape to ideas about public space and collectivity. Her most recent essay, on staging crowds and landscapes in Edwardian pageants, is forthcoming in Theatre Notebook. Her current book project, “Playing the Crowd: Mass Pageantry in Europe and the United States,” combines archival research, theater and performance theory, and contemporaneous “crowd theory” to analyze large-scale political pageants performed during the first half of the twentieth century in England, the US, Russia, and Germany.