Nicole Hodges Persley

Associate Professor
Chair, Department of Theatre Co-Director School of the Arts
Primary office:
Murphy Hall
Room 356-B
Second office:
Murphy Hall
Room 302

Dr. Hodges Persley is an Associate Professor of Theatre at the University of Kansas. Dr. Hodges Persley teaches courses on Hiphop, Acting, African American theater, Race and Performance, Improvisation, and Transnational performance. Her research interests include African-American theater and performance, American popular culture, Hip-hop Studies, Women and Gender Studies, Solo performance and Transnationalism.

Dr. Hodges Persley's research addresses the impact of racial, ethnic, and national identity on performance practices in theatre, television and film. She completed her PHD in American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California, an MA in African American Studies from UCLA and is a summa cum laude graduate of all three institutions. Her forthcoming book, Sampling and Remixing Blackness in Hip-hop Theater and Performance, uses the heuristic of sampling an remixing in DJ culture to investigate of African American expressions of blackness in Hip-hop on the artistic practices of non-African American theater and dance artists in the United States and England.

Dr. Hodges Persley has conducted research in Senegal, France, England and Germany. She is an Associate Program Director for theater and performance at the Hip-hop Archive & Research Institute at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center and the Associate Artistic Director of the KC Meltingpot Theatre in Kansas City.

An actress and director, Hodges Persley is a member of SAG/AFTRA/Equity and has performance credits in regional theater, television and film. A member of SDC (Stage Directors and Choreographers Society) her notable directing credits include A Raisin in the Sun, Welcome to Arroyo's, Rachel, Dutchman and Sunset Baby. She has published articles and book chapters on Hip-hop Theatre, Sampling, Jay-Z and Suzan-Lori Parks with forthcoming work on Drake, Nicki Minaj and Idris Elba.


Ph.D., American Studies and Ethnicity, University of Southern California

M.A., American Studies and Ethnicity , University of Southern California

M.A., African American Studies, University of California

B.A., French, Spelman College

Teaching Interests

  • Hip-hop Performance
  • African-American Theatre
  • Acting
  • Directing
  • 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.

Selected Awards & Honors

Pride Award
KU Student Involvement and Leadership Center
2017 - Present

Phi Beta Kappa
2008 - Present

(NEA) National Endowment for the Arts

McNair Scholars Mentoring Award
Center for Educational Opportunities Programs

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