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Isaiah Wooden

Assistant Professor

Department Chair, Theater



  2. Eugene M. and Theresa Lang Performing Arts Center 307

Isaiah Matthew Wooden is a scholar-artist, writer, and assistant professor of theater at Swarthmore.

He has contributed numerous articles and essays on contemporary art, drama, and performance to scholarly and popular publications, including The Black Scholar, Journal of American Drama and Theatre, Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, Modern Drama, Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art, QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking, Theater, Theatre Annual, Theatre Journal, Theatre Survey, Theatre Topics, The Huffington Post, and PopMatters, among others. Wooden is currently completing two book projects: a monograph, Reclaiming Time (forthcoming from Northwestern University Press), and a co-edited volume, August Wilson in Context (under contract with Cambridge University Press). He is also the co-editor of Tarell Alvin McCraney: Theater, Performance, and Collaboration (Northwestern University Press, 2020) and a special section of Theatre History Studies entitled, “Manifestos for Black Theatre, Then and Now” (2024).

Wooden has directed stage projects in venues ranging from the Uganda National Theatre to the Kennedy Center, including works by Lee Breuer, Kia Corthron, Eisa Davis, Lorraine Hansberry, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Charles L. Mee, Lynn Nottage, Robert O’Hara, Natsu Onoda Power, Nilaja Sun, and Mary Zimmerman. He has served on the Governing Council for the Association for Theatre in Higher Education; Executive Boards for the American Theatre and Drama Society, the August Wilson Society, and the Black Theater Association; the Editorial Boards for Imagined Theatres, PAJ, and Theatre Topics; and as the Performance Review Editor of Theatre Journal.

The recipient of multiple fellowships and awards, including the American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship and the Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, Wooden received his AB in Government from Georgetown University and earned his PhD in Theater and Performance Studies at Stanford University. He enjoys teaching a range of courses in the history, theory, and practice of theater.