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Joelle Ré Arp-Dunham

PhD Performance Studies

Joelle Ré Arp-Dunham is a PhD. candidate in the University of Georgia in Theatre & Performance Studies program.  As a director, actor, media designer and educator in both theatre and film, she is interested in how the cognitive sciences may lead to new pedagogical strategies in directing and acting and the effect they may have on the respective theoretic discourses. Other interests include the intersections between theatre, film and performance media, non-western theatre techniques and theory, and audience response theory. Arp-Dunham received her M.F.A. in Dramatic Media with a Directing Emphasis from the University of Georgia, and her B.F.A. in Acting from The Ohio State University, and serves as an Adjunct Professor at the Radford University.

Dissertation/Thesis Title:
Embodied Cognition, Acting and Stanislavsky:
A Neuroscientific Lens on Stanislavsky’s Concepts
of Emotions, Physical Action, Imagination and the Will

Area of Specialization: Acting theories, both as an area of study and as practical tools. 

Areas of Concentration: Euro-American Theatre History before 1800, Euro-American Theatre History after 1800, Euro-American Film History.

Areas of Interest: Directing theory, non-western theatre techniques and theory, the intersections between theatre, film and performance media, Holocaust theatre, refugee theatre, audience response theory, diversity and inclusion, and the use of theatre techniques as therapy for people with dementia and other cognitive difficulties.


Current:  University of Georgia, Athens, GA

Ph.D. Candidate: Theatre and Performance Studies. A.B.D. 4.0 average. Expected graduation Spring, 2020.


University of Georgia, Athens, GA

Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Theatre- Dramatic Media (directing emphasis) 4.0 average; Featured as 1 of 12 Outstanding UGA Students.       


The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Theatre (acting emphasis) Cum Laude; Excellence in the Arts Award, Scarlet and Gray Mask Alumni Scholarship. Scarlet and Gray Mask Alumni Scholarship.  Scarlet and Gray Academic Scholarship.


Porthouse Theatre Intern Company, Kent, OH

Shakespeare with Steven Dennis, Linkletter training with Christine Adair.


Maine State Music Theatre, Brunswick, ME

Technical Theatre Intern. Worked as an electrician and scene painter. 


Additional Master Classes Attended:

  • The S-Word Symposium; Active Analysis with Dr. Sharon Carnicke. 
  • “The Emotional Voice: the ALBA Method for Emotions” with Brenda Beck, Linda Brennan and Teresa Hayes from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. 
  • “Exploding the Myths: Science, SuperScenes, and Stanislavsky” with Jane Brody and Stephanie Daventry French. 
  • Michael Chekhov technique with Joanna Merlin.
  • Michael Chekhov technique with Cathy Albers.
  • Fitzmaurice Voice technique with Maggie Surovell. 
  • Working in Film with Monty Markum (Assisted in coordinating  workshop).
  • “Auditioning for Broadway” with Maury Yeston (assisted in workshops).
  • Motion Capture with Vicon. 
Research Interests:

Applying concepts from behavioral neuroscience to Stanislavsky’s methodology and theories to give performance scholars a richer and more precise understanding of Stanislavsky’s work, while allowing teachers and directors to zero in on the techniques that are most likely to help them achieve their goals. In particular, I am focused on the various ways in which the well-known (but not necessarily often discussed) Stanislavskian concepts of Imagination, Emotion and the Will -- all in service to a Goal-directed Action -- can be very effective streamlined practical guides for the actor.

Major Professor

David Saltz

Department Head

Committee Members

External Committee

Rhonda Blair
Freda Giles

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