Current Team

Led by Dr. Kathleen Gallagher, we are an ensemble of University of Toronto graduate students, local and international artists, drama teachers, youth social service workers and young people who collaborate to explore the role and uses of drama in the lives of urban youth around the world.

Dr. Kathleen Gallagher

Dr. Kathleen Gallagher conducts research with drama and youth in urban schools, theatres, and other community spaces with a focus on questions of pedagogy, the arts, and the social contexts and relations of schooling. Her research projects and writing have provided international insight into urban youth culture.

Student Voices

Past Students & Projects

Learn more about some of Dr. Gallagher's previous students, their projects, and what they are doing now.

Rachel Rhoades Ph.D

Youth Artists for Justice: Confronting Neoliberalism & Racism with Collaborative Action Research & Ethnodrama in Toronto

Heather Fitzsimmons Frey Ph.D

Victorian Girls Private Theatricals: Performing and Playing with Possible Futures

Isabelle Kim Ph.D

Youth videomaking projects: a spoken word study

Anne Wessels Ph.D

Three Performances of the Postmetropolis: Youth, Drama, Theatre, and Pedagogy

Barry Freeman Ph.D

Toward a Postmodern Ethnography of Intercultural Theatre: A Case Study of the Prague-Toronto-Manitoulin Theatre Project

Kelsey Jacobson Ph.D

Feeling Real: Affective Dimensions of Reality in Contemporary Canadian Performance

Burcu Yaman Ntelioglou Ph.D

Drama Pedagogies, Multiliteracies and Embodied Learning: Urban Teachers and Linguistically Diverse Students Make Meaning

Art Babayants Ph.D

In Unknown Languages: Acting in/through/with Non-Dominant Languages

Dirk Rodricks (Ph.D)

Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning (Expected: 2019)

Born in India and by way of the United States, Dirk Jonathan Rodricks is a doctoral student in OISE's Curriculum Studies and Teacher Development program and an Ontario Trillium Scholar at the University of Toronto. He holds a BA in Theatre (magna cum laude) as well as a M.Ed. in Higher Education from the University of Vermont (United States) where he was recognized with the 2013 Kenneth P. Saurmann Memorial Award. He also served as Managing Editor (2012-2013) with The Vermont Connection - the oldest scholarly journal affiliated with a graduate program in higher education in the United States. With over ten years of professional experience in higher education student services, Dirk believes strongly in re-imagining the pedagogical relationship in the urban K-12 classroom as necessary to mitigate the challenge of access and agency for historically marginalized communities. His research interests include drama/theatre education specifically critical pedagogy in the urban school/student context and relations of schooling at the interstices of race, gender, sexuality, and national origin.

Scott Mealey (Ph.D)

Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies
(Expected: 2019)

Scott is in his third year of doctoral study at the Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies Centre, where he researches the applications of persuasive and social cognition models in understanding audience reception of theatrical events. He holds an honours degree in Theatre Studies from Dalhousie University as well an MA from the Drama Centre (U of T). He has in recent years presented on topics such as non-coercive theatre at Another World of Popular Theatre Conference (Newcastle, Australia), curating audience mindfulness at the Festival of Original Theatre (Toronto), and the role of the Elaboration Likelihood Model in audience assessment at the 2014 CATR Conference (Brock University). Scott worked professionally as an actor, director, playwright, and dramaturg in Atlanta Canada. He has also enjoyed nearly two decades as a theatre teacher/coach, notably as an instructor at Humber College and an adjunct professor in Theatre and Communications at Crandall University.

Nancy Cardwell (Ph.D)

Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning
(Expected: 2021)

Nancy Cardwell is a PhD student in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning. Furthering her MA research from York University, Nancy is interested in investigating feminist pedagogies through the use of the arts, particularly music and dance, in the elementary and secondary school settings. She has been both a course and studio director at York University, a guest lecturer presenting on culture, politics and dance, and has created and led workshops on dance, music and storytelling for educational outreach programs at the National Ballet of Canada, the Stratford Festival as well as across school boards in Ontario. Nancy’s life in the arts spans three decades of dance in Canada, the United States and Europe. After years of ballet (National Ballet of Canada, Les Grands Ballet Canadiens, Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble), Nancy began studies in flamenco moving between Toronto and Seville to hone her craft, winning a Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Performance in 2014. She been a dancer and choreographer with the Toronto based Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company since 1994, its Assistant Artistic Director since 2005 as well as fulfilling the role of Outreach Community and Education Coordinator since 2008. From classroom to studio, she is an engaged teacher committed to promoting learning through the arts.

Christine Balt (Ph.D)

Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning.
(Expected: 2020)

Christine was born in Johannesburg and studies physical theatre and performance studies at Rhodes University in South Africa. She completed her MA, in which she examined intersections of site, ritual and embodiment in performances of post-Apartheid subjectivities. She taught in classrooms across South Africa and Asia before setting in Toronto, where she has applied her training in contemporary performance practices to the teaching of drama and English in school. She has also worked in community theatre in which she has contributed to the staging of projects exploring inter-generational relations, sexual consent education, and mental health. She continues to examine her interests in embodiment and site in relation to interactions of land-based pedagogy, performance, and place-making in the urban context.

Brooke Charlebois (Ph.D)

Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning.
(Expected: 2022)

Brooke Charlebois is a doctoral student in OISE’s Curriculum Studies and Teacher Development program at the University of Toronto. She holds a BA in Theatre from Bishop’s University and A Master of Education from York University. Her M.Ed. research focused on the political and pedagogical factors that influenced Arts Education curriculum policy in Ontario. She was an elementary teacher for 15 years before coming to OISE. Brooke is interested in the intersection between Canadian History and Drama in the elementary classroom; in particular issues of role, representation and appropriation of voice.

Lindsay Valve (Ph.D)

Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning.
(Expected: 2022)

Lindsay is a doctoral student in OISE’s Curriculum Studies and Teacher Development program at the University of Toronto. She holds an Honours BSc. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Arts in Curriculum from OISE. Her M.A. research focused on the cognitive strategies employed during self-assessment, and their impacts on assessment validity. Lindsay has a consulting practice in the areas of performance, evaluation and impact. Living at the intersection of data, design and human insights, she helps organizations understand the ways our bias toward the quantifiable comes at the expense of people (and profits), and how to fix it. Lindsay is interested in differential understandings of validity, how they shape our (mis)use of assessment, and examining what assessment is doing to understand its generative potential.

Debleena Tripathi (Ph.D)

Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies (Expected: 2024)

Debleena is a Kolkata based theatre director and playwright. She has worked as a part-time lecturer at the Department of Drama, Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata; as a drama teacher in several Kolkata schools, and as a facilitator in theatre workshops for children and adult amateurs. She specializes in using theatre techniques in training and awareness programmes and has engaged with various communities including medical teachers at private universities, women in interior villages of West Bengal and economically underprivileged children in urban fringes of Kolkata. She published her first book of plays (in Bangla) in 2018. Debleena is in Toronto to pursue a PhD at the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, University of Toronto, under the Jackman Junior Fellowship. She intends to research aspects of theatre spectatorship in Kolkata, under the supervision of Dr. Gallagher.

Mike Metz (M.A.)

Department of Leadership, Higher, and Adult Education
(Expected 2021)

Mike Metz is a Masters student at OISE's Adult Education and Community Development program at the University of Toronto. Mike holds a BA in Drama and a BEd from Brock University. His research interests are in how devised theatre can be used as a tool for community building and education. Mike has been involved in a number of drama-based research projects and has worked with a variety of populations. The bulk of his work has been with the St. Catharines-based group Mirror Theatre, which seeks to use devised theatre to educate and create social change.

Rachel Rhoades Ph.D

Youth Artists for Justice: Confronting Neoliberalism & Racism with Collaborative Action Research & Ethnodrama in Toronto

Rachel is an international doctoral student in Curriculum Studies and Teacher Development at OISE with the Critical Studies in Curriculum and Pedagogy emphasis and a Connaught scholar at the University of Toronto. Rachel examined the negotiation of urban youth identities with relation to resistance and political participation as constructed through face-to-face original theatrical devising and within intercultural digital artistic dialogue.

Rachel is now an assistant professor in applied theatre at Brock University.

Heather Fitzsimmons Frey Ph.D

Victorian Girls Private Theatricals: Performing and Playing with Possible Futures

Heather is a scholar, director and dramaturge, interested in performance for, by and with young people. She is currently a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Toronto Mississauga campus where she teaches Women in Theatre, and where she works with Stephen Johnson, researching amateur and children’s theatre in 19th century southern Ontario. For her 2015 dissertation, "Victorian Girls and At-Home Theatricals: Performing and Playing with Possible Futures," she was awarded the Clifford Leech Prize for best PhD dissertation relating to drama or theatre studies at the University of Toronto, and the AATE Distinguished Dissertation Award. She also earned the CATR Outstanding Submission for a Workshop award in 2016. Her contemporary performance research is published in Youth Theatre Journal, Canadian Theatre Review, and in her two edited collections Theatre and Learning (Cambridge Scholars Press 2015) and Ignite: Illuminating Theatre for Young People (Playwrights Canada Press 2016).

Heather is now an assistant professor at MacEwan University.

Isabelle Kim Ph.D

Youth videomaking projects: a spoken word study

Isabelle Kim is the director of the Centre for Community Partnerships at the University of Toronto. She also teaches graduate courses in the department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning. Isabelle is passionate about the possibilities for learning and social change when connecting students, faculty and community partners. She is glad to be part of the CCEC working group which can play a role in fostering cultures of community-engaged learning and research across Canadian colleges and universities.

Anne Wessels Ph.D

Three Performances of the Postmetropolis: Youth, Drama, Theatre, and Pedagogy

Anne Wessels completed her Ph.D at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, Canada. Her doctoral research analysed performances of the suburb and the intersection of youth, pedagogy, drama and place. She has published in RiDE (Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance), Pedagogy, Culture and Society, Theatre Research in Canada and Youth Theatre Journal, and contributed a chapter to Key Concepts in Theatre/Drama Education edited by Shifra Schonmann.

Barry Freeman Ph.D

Toward a Postmodern Ethnography of Intercultural Theatre: A Case Study of the Prague-Toronto-Manitoulin Theatre Project

Barry Freeman is an Assistant Professor in Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough as well as the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies. His 2017 book Staging Strangers: Theatre and Global Ethics (McGill-Queen’s University Press), draws on ethical philosophy and the sociology of globalization to offer a fresh critique of contemporary theatre in Canada. His 2016 co-edited book In Defence of Theatre: Aesthetic Practices and Social Interventions (University of Toronto Press), assembles essays from nineteen academics, educators and artists from across Canada to address the question: why theatre now? Barry is Associate Editor of Canadian Theatre Review, recently editing issues on the subjects of ‘Alternative Globalizations’, ‘Performing Politicians’, and ‘(Post-)Reality’.

Kelsey Jacobson Ph.D

Feeling Real: Affective Dimensions of Reality in Contemporary Canadian Performance

Kelsey's Ph.D research takes as its central focus the question, “What feels real to contemporary audiences?” and investigates the use, production, and perception of realness in current Canadian performance practices. By considering the tools for and effects of realness present in three case studies, this thesis examines how audience members locate realness within a show’s unique temporal and spatial dimensions. Kelsey has been awarded the Rod Robertson Award in Dramatic Literature and Theory, the Gordon and Myrtle Adams Scholarship, as well as a SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Master’s Scholarship. She is also an active theatre practitioner in Toronto, directing and designing shows whenever possible.

Kesley is now an assistant professor at Queen's University.

Burcu Yaman Nteglioglou (Ph.D)

Drama Pedagogies, Multiliteracies and Embodied Learning: Urban teachers and Linguistically Diverse Students Make Meaning

Burcu Yaman Ntelioglou is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education, Department of Teaching and Learning at Brandon University, Canada. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship and a PhD at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto and holds a Master’s in education from York University, Canada. She teaches in both the teacher education and graduate education programs. Her work focuses on the education of linguistically and culturally diverse students in contexts of migration, multiculturalism and multilingualism; second/additional language pedagogy; multiliteracies, transnational literacies, urban schooling; and the use of collaborative, community-based, participatory, and digital methodologies in research.

Burcu is now an associate professor at Brandon University.

Art Babayants Ph.D

In Unknown Languages: Acting in/through/with Non-Dominant Languages

Art Babayants is a theatre artist, educator and researcher, who has worked in Canada and abroad. His research looks at the phenomenology of multilingual acting and spectating as well as the concept of multilingual dramaturgy. He has published on the issues of stage multilingualism, diasporic theatre, queer dramaturgy, applied theatre and contemporary musical theatre; he has also co-edited Theatre and Learning (2015) and the special bilingual issue of Theatre Research in Canada/Les recherches théâtrales au Canada (Fall 2017) dedicated to multilingual theatre in Canada.  Trained in Canada, Wales and Russia, he founded Russia’s first theatre company specializing in performing American musicals in English. In Canada, Art has presented his work at various Toronto festivals such as Fringe (2017), Summerworks (2016) and Nuit Blanche (2015), Caminos (2017).  Since 1997, Art has also been developing theatre projects integrating acting and second language teaching – his most recent ESL/Drama creation called Embodied English is a sought after course for advanced ESL learners offered through his experimental theatre company Toronto Laboratory Theatre/Le Théâtre Laboratoire de Toronto. Art holds a Lecturer position at Faculty of Media, Art and Performance where teaches acting, scene study, dramaturgy, post-modern theatre as well as directs musicals and devised theatre performances.