Henry Bial

Associate Professor-Theatre
Chair-Department of American Studies
Bailey Hall, Room #213P

Ph.D., New York University
Theatre History and Criticism; Performance Theory; Religious Performance; Jewish Popular Culture

Henry Bial is jointly appointed in American Studies and Theatre. His research and teaching specialties include performance theory, religious performance, Jewish popular culture, and theatre historiography. He holds a PhD in Performance Studies from New York University and a BA in Folklore and Mythology from Harvard University.
Dr. Bial is the author of Acting Jewish: Negotiating Ethnicity on the American Stage and Screen (University of Michigan Press, 2005), the editor of The Performance Studies Reader (Routledge, 2004; Second Edition, 2007), and the co-editor of Theater Historiography: Critical Interventions (with Scott Magelssen, University of Michigan Press, 2010) and Brecht Sourcebook (with Carol Martin, Routledge, 2000). He has published essays in TDR, Theatre Topics, The Journal of American Drama and Theatre, and elsewhere. He serves on the editorial boards of Theatre Survey, Theatre Topics, The Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, and Ecumenica, as well as the forthcoming Cambridge Encyclopedia of Stage Actors and Acting.
In addition to his scholarly pursuits, Dr. Bial has worked in a variety of capacities — director, performer, designer, playwright, dramaturg, and lighting operator — in university and professional theatres in New York, Kansas City, Boston, Minneapolis, and Albuquerque. A proud member of the Buran Theatre Company, he last appeared as The Man in the Purple Suit in The House of Fitzcarraldo at The Brick Theater in New York City.
Beginning August 2013, Dr. Bial will serve a two-year term as President of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE), a comprehensive non-profit professional membership organization. Founded in 1986, ATHE serves the interests of its diverse individual and organizational members, including college and university theatre departments and administrators, educators, graduate students, and theatre practitioners.

The University Theatre

Upcoming Events
Apr 25
Institutional Dramaturgy: Disney on Broadway
04:00 pm
Apr 25
Over Here!
07:30 pm
Apr 26
Over Here!
07:30 pm
View events: Upcoming
Connect with the Department of Theatre


One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
1 of 9 public universities with outstanding study abroad programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
$275 million in externally funded research expenditures
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times