"An artistic alchemist walking among us." –The Austin Chronicle
Jaclyn Pryor (b.1977, Evanston, Illinois) is a physical theater artist, educator, scholar, and writer deeply committed to these practices as sites of inquiry and experiment. For more than 20 years, Jaclyn has been making performance both inside and outside of traditional theater spaces–often working outdoors and engaging the natural and built environment as source material. They are interested in how memories suture themselves to bodies and sites, and how performance can act as a form of excavation. Their work also plays with the materiality of time and space, stretching theatrical conventions of the audience-event relationship and the distinctions between ritual, performance, and everyday life. Here, they are interested in pushing the limits of performance as an aesthetic practice and performance as a social practice with material consequences for individuals, audiences, and communities.
As a scholar, their primary research areas include queer theory, trauma and repair, and experimental aesthetics—with a particular interest in the politics of temporality, or a sense of how time passes. Their first book, Time Slips: Queer Temporalities, Contemporary Performance, and the Hole of History, was recently published by Northwestern University Press (2017) as part of the Performance Works Series (edited by Patrick Anderson and Nicholas Ridout). Times Slips examines the capacity of performance to rewrite histories of racial and sexual violence, as well as to reveal queer futures not determined by past harm. The book also experiments with form, moving between academic vernacular and creative nonfiction. Time Slips was a 2018 finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in LGBTQ Studies.
They have also published essays on and reviews of contemporary theater and dance works, focusing primarily on new work by artists whose practice similarly upends disciplinary boundaries and identity-based categories. Representative presses include TDR (MIT Press), Theatre Topics and Theatre Journal (The Johns Hopkins UP), Ollantay Theater Magazine (for a special issue on "U.S. Latina/o Gay Performance and Theatre" edited by Alberto Sandoval-Sanchez and Ramon Rivera-Servera), and on the web in Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies, where they co-authored an essay about performance criticism with Jill Dolan and Paul Bonin-Rodriguez.
Their writing for performance is published in Experiments in a Jazz Aesthetic: Art, Activism, Academia, and The Austin Project (edited by Omi Osun Joni L. Jones, Lisa Moore, and Sharon Bridgforth, University of Texas Press). From 2004-2006, Jaclyn was an active member of The Austin Project, a women of color and allied artist/activist/scholar collective, founded by Jones and Bridgforth, that create original performance in what Jones calls "a theatrical jazz aesthetic." Other artists with whom they have studied that have had a major influence on their practice include: Anne Bogart and the SITI Company, Ann Carlson, Laurie Carlos, DoubleEdge Theatre, Rosie Herrera Dance Theatre, Daniel Alexander Jones, Liz Lerman, Mary Overlie, Pig Iron Theatre, Michael Rohd and Sojourn Theatre, Kim Rubinstein, Split Britches, and Sekou Sundiata.
Jaclyn has received individual artist grants from the Stillwater Foundation and the City of Austin’s Division of Cultural Arts; commissions from First Night Austin, Austin Art Alliance, and the Creative Research Lab; awards from Austin Critics Table and First Night International; and artist residencies from Land Arts of the American West, Playa, The Wassaic Project, Channel Surf, and Rubber Repertory Theater.
Since 2018, Jaclyn has been teaching in the Theatre Department at Reed College. Jaclyn has also taught at Haverford College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and Northern Arizona University, and served as a guest speaker at the Associated Colleges of the Midwest, Arizona State University, Brown University, Dickinson College, Princeton University, St. Edward’s University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Texas at Austin–as well as in various community-based contexts, including the Dell Jewish Community Center, St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, and Nellie Muir Elementary School.
Jaclyn received their BA in Performing Arts from Washington University in St. Louis (dual emphasis in Acting and Literature & Criticism) and their MA and PhD in Theater (emphasis in Performance as Public Practice) from the University of Texas at Austin, where they also earned doctoral certificates in Cultural Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies. Jaclyn is an active member of the American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR), the Association for Theater in Higher Education (ATHE), Performance Studies International (PSi), and a former Page Fellow with Imagining America (IA). They live in Portland, Oregon.
Finalist, Lambda Literary Award (LGBTQ Studies), 2018
Selected Participant, 3G: A Third Generation Retreat, 2016
Artist Residency, Playa Fellowship Residency Program, 2014
Finalist, Outstanding Dissertation Award, University of Texas, 2012
Winner, Excellence in Queer Mentorship, Hampshire College, 2012
Finalist, Creative Capital Foundation, 2008
Page Fellow, Imagining America, 2008
Nominated, Best Independent Project of the Year, Austin Critics Table, 2007
Winner, Emerging Scholarship in Performance Studies, ATHE, 2006
Winner, Deacon Crane Award, Austin Critics Table, 2006
Winner, Prism Creative Programming Award, First Night International, 2006