Jill Stevenson

Professor of Theatre Arts

  • Jill Stevenson

Jill Stevenson is a Professor of Theatre Arts who joined MMC’s faculty in 2006. She is the author of Sensational Devotion: Evangelical Performance in 21st-Century America (University of Michigan Press, 2013; re-released in paperback, October 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). Most recently, she 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. She has published articles in various academic journals and collections.

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. From 2010 to 2014 she was the Focus Group Representative for the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE)’s Religion and Theatre Focus Group, and served on ATHE’s 2011 and 2012 Conference Planning Committees. 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. She currently serves as President of the Faculty Council.


Professor of Theatre Arts


Theatre Arts





B.S., Valparaiso University
Ph.D., The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Recent Work


Sensational Devotion: Evangelical Performance in 21st-Century America (University of Michigan Press, 2013; released in paperback 2015).

Performance, Cognitive Theory, and Devotional Culture: Sensual Piety in Late Medieval York. Cognitive Studies in Literature and Performance Series. (New York: Palgrave, 2010).


Edited Collections

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] 

Co-editor with Elina Gertsman of essay anthology, Thresholds of Medieval Visual Culture: Liminal Spaces (Boydell & Brewer, 2012). [Co-authored Introduction]

Co-editor with Mario Longtin, “Special Issue: Showcasing Opportunities,” Research On Medieval and Renaissance Drama (ROMARD) 51 (2012). [Co-authored Introduction]


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.

“Embodied Enchantments: Cognitive Theory and the York Mystery Plays,” in The York Mystery Plays: Performance in the City, ed. Margaret Rogerson (York Medieval Press, 2011), 91-112.

“Marymount Manhattan College’s Theatre Archives and Active Learning,” co-authored with Mary Elizabeth Brown, Metropolitan Archivist 16, no. 2 (Summer 2010): 11-12.

“The Material Bodies of Medieval Religious Performance in England,” Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art, and Belief 2, no. 2 (July 2006): 204-32.

“Community through Discourse: Reconceptualizing Introduction to Theatre,” jointly authored with Amy Hughes and Mikhail Gershovich, Theatre Topics 16, no. 1 (March 2006): 85-101.


Recent Book and Performance Reviews

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.

Outlook review of “Oberammergau’s Passion Play 2010: Performance and Context,” Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art, and Belief 7, no. 2 (2011): 304-7.

Review of Penny Granger, The N-Town Play: Drama and Liturgy in Medieval East Anglia (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2009), European Medieval Drama 14 (2010): 157-61.

Review of “Sarah Ruhl’s Passion Play,” Ecumenica: A Journal of Theatre and Performance 3, no. 2 (Fall 2010): 95-7.


Recent or Upcoming Invited Presentations

“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.


Jill is currently working on a book project that explores Last Judgment performances from the Middle Ages alongside contemporary performances about the End Times. 


Carson Hall 506