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Courtney E. Colligan earned a PhD in Theatre and Performance Studies from Pitt, an M.A. in English from Virginia Tech, and a B.A. in Theatre and English Literature from Christopher Newport University. Her dissertation, “Weary of these Worldly Bars: The Praxis of Postcarceral Performance in the United Kingdom and the United States,” articulates the emergence of a new performance practice, postcarceral performance, that serves the formerly incarcerated population. This practice, indebted to prison theatre, focuses on the transient space among prison release and reintegration into society. She argues how these programs function as a means of employment and reconceptualizing of the self post-incarceration. This project highlights organizations that rewrite carceral narratives by centering those impacted by the criminal justice system.
Courtney’s areas of study include performances of social justice, Early Modern theatre and performance, contemporary productions race and gender in Shakespeare, and museum studies. In addition to her research, Courtney has served as a Humanities Engage Fellow for GirlGov and additionally serves as Humanities Engage’s career diversity champion for the theatre department. She also works as a summer archivist for Hillman’s Archives and Special Collections and is the co-founder and co-producer of the Archive Theatre Project, a group that reconceptualizes how the public uses public archives by constructing the archives into a narrative form. ATP’s inaugural performance, SALK: The Man Behind the Vaccine premiered in Spring 2019.
In the Department of Theatre Arts, Courtney has taught Introduction to Performance, Enjoying Performances, Global Stages: Museum Studies, and Introduction to Dramatic Art as well as assisting in Theatre and Collaboration, Acting III: Shakespeare, and the senior seminar on Shakespeare. At Virginia Tech, Courtney taught rhetoric and composition where she received the Hoffman Graduate Teaching Award.
Courtney has presented her research at the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, the Mid-Atlantic Theatre Conference, Women’s Studies Graduate Conference at the University of Maryland, the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate EXPO, and the Conference on Higher Pedagogy at Virginia Tech. Her work, “Face in the Sand: Cultural Reconstruction of the East in the West” won the 2018 Graduate Emerging Scholars Award at the Mid-Atlantic Theatre Conference.