Nicole Hodges Persley

Associate Professor
Acting Chair Director of Graduate Studies
Primary office:
Murphy Hall
Room 302

Nicole Hodges Persley is an Associate Professor of Theatre at the University of Kansas. Her research interests include African-American theater and performance, popular culture, hip-hop, women, gender and sexuality studies, solo performance, improvisation theory and transnationalism. Her research and performance works address the impact of racial, ethnic and national identity on performance practices in theatre, television and film.

Dr. Hodges Persley earned her Ph.D. in American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California(Phi Beta Kappa), an MA in African American Studies from UCLA (summa cum laude) and a BA from Spelman College (summa cum laude).

Her forthcoming book Sampling and Remixing Hip-hop in Contemporary Theater and Performance examines the impact of hip-hop music and culture on the artistic practices of non-African American hip-hop theater artists in the United States and England. Dr. Hodges Persley is the 2015 recipient of the Byron T. Shutz Excellence in Teaching Award and the 2016 recipient of the McNair Scholar Mentoring Award. She lectures nationally and internationally on Hip-hop's influence on the arts. She is one of the founding program directors of the Hip-hop Archive at Harvard University’s W.E.B. Dubois Reserach Insiute at the Hutchins Center.

Hodges Persley is a member of SAG and AFTRA and has acting and directing credits in regional theater, television and film. Her performance and directing work have been featured at the Kansas City Fringe Festival, the California Hip-hop Theater Festival, the Hudson Theater, Highways Performance Space and Just Off Broadway Theater in Kansas City where she serves as the Associate Artistic Director of the KCMeltingpot. She has published featured articles in American Theatre magazine and The Cambrodge Companion to Hip-hop with numerous articles and book chapters on hip-hop theater, African American performance and transnational performance.

Teaching Interests

  • Hip-hop Performance
  • African-American Theatre
  • Acting
  • Transnationalism
  • Improvisation
  • Theatre for Social Change
  • Critical Race Theory.


Screen Actors Guild/American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG- AFTRA)

Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) eligible

IMDB credits:

Research Interests

  • African-American Theatre and Performance
  • American Studies
  • African Diaspora Performance
  • Popular Culture
  • Acting
  • Hip-hop
  • Gender Studies
  • Solo Performance
  • Transnationalism

Selected Publications

Hodges Persley, N. (in press). Sampling and Remixing Hip-hop in Contemporary Theater and Performance.

Hodges Persley, N. (2015). The Cambridge Companion to Hip-hop.

Hodges Persley, N. (2014). American Theatre.

Hodges Persley, N. (2014). Holler if You Hear Me - Education Portal . Holler if You Hear Me - Broadway Musical Directed by Kenny Leon. Hip-Hop Theater Documenting Urban Life Study Guide .

Selected Work

Director, Rachel, Angelina W. Grimke, Just Off Broadway Theatre, Kansas City, MO, November 10-20 2016, 11/10/2016 - 11/20/2016

Selected Grants

, , Sherrie Tucker, (Co-Investigator), Kip Haaheim, (Co-Investigator), Michelle Hefner Hayes, (Co-Investigator), NEA Grant, National Endowment of the Arts, $35,000, . Not-for-Profit (not Foundation). Status: Funded.

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