Jill Stevenson is a Professor of Theatre Arts who joined MMC’s faculty in 2006. She began her role as Chair of the Theatre Arts department in July 2020. Jill is the author of Sensational Devotion: Evangelical Performance in 21st-Century America (University of Michigan Press, 2013; re-released in paperback, 2015) and Performance, Cognitive Theory, and Devotional Culture: Sensual Piety in Late Medieval York (Palgrave, 2010). She also co-edited the collection Thresholds of Medieval Visual Culture: Liminal Spaces (Boydell and Brewer, 2012) and, more recently, edited the volume Performing Dream Homes: Theater and the Spatial Politics of the Domestic Sphere (Palgrave, January 2019) with Emily Klein and Jen-Scott Mobley. Her forthcoming book Feeling the Future: Christian End Time Performances will be published by the University of Michigan Press in 2021.
Jill is active in various professional organizations, regularly organizing sessions and delivering conference papers. She sits on the board of several academic journals and regularly serves as a peer reader. Most recently, she served on the Executive Committee of the American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR) from 2012-2015, chaired ASTR’s Working Conditions Task Force, and finished her three-year term as ASTR’s Vice President for Conferences in November 2018.
Jill has served on several College committees and held various leadership positions, including co-chair of the College’s 2016-2017 Strategic Planning Steering Committee and President of the Faculty Council from 2015-2019.
Chair, Department of Theatre Arts
B.S., Valparaiso University
Ph.D., The Graduate Center, City University of New York
Sensational Devotion: Evangelical Performance in 21st-Century America (University of Michigan Press, 2013; released in paperback 2015). http://www.press.umich.edu/5159114/sensational_devotion
Performance, Cognitive Theory, and Devotional Culture: Sensual Piety in Late Medieval York. Cognitive Studies in Literature and Performance Series. (New York: Palgrave, 2010). http://www.palgrave.com/products/title.aspx?pid=407311
Editor with Emily Klein and Jennifer-Scott Mobley of collection Performing Dream Homes: Theater and the Spatial Politics of the Domestic Sphere (Palgrave, 2019). [Jointly authored Introduction and Coda] https://www.palgrave.com/us/book/9783030015800
Co-editor with Elina Gertsman of essay anthology, Thresholds of Medieval Visual Culture: Liminal Spaces (Boydell & Brewer, 2012). [Co-authored Introduction] http://www.boydellandbrewer.com/store/viewItem.asp?idProduct=13855
Co-editor with Mario Longtin, “Special Issue: Showcasing Opportunities,” Research On Medieval and Renaissance Drama (ROMARD) 51 (2012). [Co-authored Introduction]
Recently Published Articles
“Sarah Ruhl’s Passion Playand Contemporary Expressions of Medieval Performance,” in The Drama and Theatre of Sarah Ruhl, Critical Companions series, ed. Amy Muse (Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, 2018), 141-54.
“Playing with Time’s End: Cultivating Sincere Contrition in Medieval Last Judgment Performances,” in The Routledge Companion to Early Drama and Performance, ed. Pamela King (Taylor and Francis, 2017), 118-136.
“Passion Playing: An Interview with Sarah Ruhl on the Shaping Influence of Oberammergau,” The Oberammergau Passion Play: Essays on the 2010 Performance and the Centuries-Long Tradition, ed. Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr. (McFarland, 2017), 168-175.
“Performing Devotion as a Mode of Religious Study,” in Volume 6: Material Religion. Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks: Religion, ed. Diane Apostolos-Cappadona (MacMillan Publishing, 2016), 175-94.
“Poised at the Threatening Edge: Feeling the Future in Medieval Last Judgment Performances,” Theatre Journal 67, no. 2 (May 2015): 273-93.
“Affect, Medievalism, and Temporal Drag: Oberammergau’s Passion Play Event,” in The Changing World Religion Map, ed. Stanley D. Brunn (Springer, 2015), 2491-2515.
“Eschatology,” Critical Terms Issue of Ecumenica: A Journal of Theatre and Performance 7, nos. 1 & 2 (2014): 13-9.
“Rhythmic Liturgy, Embodiment, and Female Authority in Barking’s Easter Plays,” in Barking Abbey and Medieval Literary Culture: Authorship and Authority in a Female Community, eds. Jennifer N. Brown and Donna Alfano Bussell (York Medieval Press, 2012), 245-66.
“Embodying Sacred History: Performing Creationism for Believers,” TDR: The Drama Review 56, no. 1 (Spring 2012): 93-113.
Recent Book and Performance Reviews
Review of John Muse, Microdramas: Crucibles for Theater and Time(University of Michigan Press, 2017), Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism33, no. 2 (2019): 130-2.
Outlook review, “Narrative Space: Performing Progress at the MOTB,” Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art, and Belief 14.4 (December 2018), DOI: 10.1080/17432200.2018.1535018
Review of Donnalee Dox, Reckoning with Spirit in the Paradigm of Performance (University of Michigan Press, 2016), Theatre Survey59, no. 1 (2018): 131-3.
Review of Henry Bial, Playing God: The Bible on the Broadway Stage (University of Michigan Press, 2015), Studies in Theatre and Performance (2016), DOI: 10.1080/14682761.2016.1143618
Review of “The Mysteries at the Flea Theater,” Theatre Journal 66, no. 4 (2014): 591-4.
Review of Guillemette Bolens, The Style of Gestures: Embodiment and Cognition in Literary Narrative (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012), Speculum 88, no. 2 (2013): 494-6.
Selected Recent or Upcoming Presentations
“‘It is happening!’: Future Fascination in Christian End Time Performances,” as part of the “Separations of Church and Stage: Performing Sacred and Secular Publics” working session, The American Society for Theatre Research 2019 Conference, Arlington, Virginia.
Participant in session entitled “Revelation or Revolution? A Roundtable on the ‘Museum of the Bible’,” The Association for Theatre in Higher Education 2018 Conference, Boston.
“New Dramaturgies,” at the Prelude Festival 2017: Theatre/Maker, The Graduate Center-CUNY, 6 October 2017.
“Making End Time(s) Matter in Medieval Performance: Futurity and Absence,” at the Medieval Club of New York, The Graduate Center-CUNY, 3 March 2017.
“Producing Thick Futures: Materiality, Temporality, Potentiality,” keynote presentation at “Performance and Materiality in Medieval and Early Modern Culture,” an interdisciplinary graduate student conference at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 11-12 March 2016.
Panelist, “Women, Performance and Spirituality: Hildegard (vision),” a post-performance discussion moderated by Dr. Allison Curseen, La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, New York City, 11 December 2015.
Panelist, “The Production of the Medieval Play,” 50th anniversary commemorative session, 2015 International Congress on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo.
“Affecting Performances: The Media and Body Politics of Contemporary Christianity. A conversation with Jill Stevenson and Anthony Petro.” Fall Forum at New York University, co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Gender & Sexuality and the Center for Religion & Media, 14 November 2013.
In her forthcoming book, Jill examines Christian End Time performances in both medieval and contemporary evangelical contexts in order to explore how they construct experiences of future time.
Jill teaches Theatre History I & II and Advanced Studies courses in Theatre History, such as Japanese Theatre, Medieval Performance, and Theatrical Theory & Criticism. In addition, she teaches a number of performance-centered courses in the General Education curriculum, among them Constructing American Identity through 19th-century Performance, The Ethics of Performance Reenactment, and Medievalisms. She has the pleasure of teaching one the College’s NYC Seminars entitled Medieval New York, and to lead the Theatre department’s study abroad course Performance and Culture of Ancient Greece with her colleagues Rob Dutiel and Mark Ringer. Jill also supervises student dramaturgs and coordinates the Theatre History & Performance Texts concentration.