The Villanova University Theatre Department is dedicated to offering opportunities that extend beyond the realm of production and into the world of academic research and scholarship. These opportunities are well suited for dramaturgs, emerging scholars, and any student looking to enhance their research, writing, presenting, and publishing skills.

Villanova has distinguished itself as a center for theatre research in the region via the following initiatives:

  • The Philadelphia Theatre Research Symposium, an academic research conference occurring annually, features scholars and practitioners from across the country.  
  • The Irish Summer Studio allows students to work and study abroad in Ireland each summer.
  • In addition to their teaching and directing, our faculty and staff work broadly in the field of theatre as playwrights, authors, dramaturgs, and critics.


Research Conference Grants

The Graduate Studies Office offers grants to allow graduate students to attend various research conferences. The funds pay for travel, housing and registration costs.


Summer Research Fellowships

You will also have the opportunity to apply for Summer Research funding through the Graduate Studies Office to support travel and other expenses related to your research while in our program. Graduate Student Summer Research Fellowship awards are made on a competitive basis in the amount of $3,000 for work in June, July and August.


National Scholarships and Fellowships

The Villanova Center for Research and Fellowships has a very strong record in competitions for national scholarships and fellowships. For example, we have been a Fulbright Top-Producing Institution every year for the last 13 years in a row and have had students win prestigious and national fellowships every year. 


Villanova Theatre professor Chelsea Phillips, MFA, PhD, next to the cover of her book Carrying All Before Her: Celebrity Pregnancy and the London Stage, 1689-1800

Celebrity Pregnancy in the 18th Century Is Focus of Villanova Theatre Professor’s New Book

Pregnant celebrities today attract an abundance of media coverage when sporting “baby bumps,” and they are not the first to do so. The rise of celebrity stage actresses in the 18th century created a class of women who worked in the public sphere while facing considerable scrutiny in their offstage lives, including their pregnancies. In Carrying All Before Her: Celebrity Pregnancy and the London Stage, 1689-1800, Villanova Theatre professor Chelsea Phillips, MFA, PhD, describes how these powerful celebrity women used the cultural and affective significance of their reproductive bodies to leverage audience support and interest to advance their career. READ MORE



Sarah Stryker '22 MA Wins Villanova Graduate Research Prize

Theatre master's student Sarah Stryker '22 MA won the 2022 CONCEPT Graduate Research Prize for her paper, "All the Wonders: Phenomenology and Making Julius Caesar Affective Again." CONCEPT is the interdisciplinary scholarly journal of graduate students in the Villanova University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The Research Prize is selected by a panle of student and faculty editors. 

The impetus for Stryker's paper was her observation of when and how Julius Caesar was produced and the experiences of contemporary audiences.

The play "often gets produced in a way that feels very heavy and stodgy ... but not very fun or interesting," Stryker said. "So I wanted to tackle what the experience would have been like for Elizabethans as they were watching that play, and it just gave me an opportunity to do a lot of research about Elizabethan theatre, which I think is fascinating." READ MORE

Department of Theatre and Studio Art
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Villanova, PA 19085


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