"An artistic alchemist walking among us." –The Austin Chronicle
Jaclyn Pryor (b.1977, Evanston, Illinois) is a physical theater artist, educator, and performance studies scholar who is deeply committed to these practices as sites of research and experiment. For more than 20 years, Jaclyn has been making performance both inside and outside of traditional theater spaces–often working site-specifically and engaging the natural and built environment as source material. Their work pushes the limits of the physical body in performance, plays with the materiality of time and space, re-imagines the audience-event relationship, and expands our understanding of what is possible in live performance and in our everyday lives.
Their critically acclaimed performance work has been presented at theatres, galleries, and public places throughout the U.S., including Austin, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, and Portland, OR. Their 7-year performance project, floodlines, was supported by a grant from the City of Austin’s Division of Cultural Arts, The Texas Commission on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Their nationally touring community-engaged performance project, pink: a (love) courier service, was commissioned by First Night Austin with support from the Stillwater Foundation and Austin Art Alliance, and was the subject of the documentary film, Love Delivered (dir. Wes Browning). They are currently working on a devised adaptation of Medea, which will be presented at Reed College in 2019.
Like their artistic practice, their scholarship also centers on live performance as it intersects with questions of time and space. This research takes them into the convergent fields of theatre and performance studies, queer and transgender studies, critical race and ethnic studies, disability studies, trauma studies, and affect theory. Their first book, Time Slips: Queer Temporalities, Contemporary Performance, and the Hole of History (Northwestern University Press 2017) 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 prose 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 in Ollantay Theatre Magazine, TDR, Theatre Topics, and Theatre Journal. This writing centers on new work by minoritarian artists whose practice upends disciplinary boundaries and identity-based categories. Subjects of study have included Alain Buffard, Ann Carlson and Mary Ellen Strom, Marga Gomez and Carmelita Tropicana, Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori, Deb Margolin, and Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver. Their essay about performance criticism and queer politics, which they co-authored with Jill Dolan and Paul Bonin-Rodriguez, appears in Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies.
Their creative writing/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." Their most recent performance provocation, “Future Perfect,” is forthcoming in Imagined Theatres, edited by Daniel Sack.
As an educator, they specialize in physical theatre techniques, directing, devising/ensemble-based creation, site-specific/immersive theatre and performance, and critical theory. They have completed advanced training in Lecoq with The Pig Iron School for Advanced Performance Training and Paola Coletto/The School for Theatre Creators; Viewpoints and Composition with Anne Bogart/The SITI Company, Mary Overlie, Tina Landau, and Kim Rubinstein; Suzuki with The SITI Company; and Devising/Performance Creation with DoubleEdge Theatre, Plasticene Physical Theatre, and Michael Rohd/Sojourn Theatre; and land-based art practices with Lands Arts of the American West. Other artists with whom they have studied that have had a major influence on their practice include choreographers Ann Carlson, Rosie Herrera, and Liz Lerman; and interdisciplinary performance artists Laurie Carlos, Daniel Alexander Jones, and Split Britches.
Since 2018, Jaclyn has been teaching in the Theatre Department at Reed College, where they teach studio-based courses in acting, directing, devising, and site-specific performance alongside seminars in performance and critical theory—training students to be skilled theatre artists as well as astute semioticians of the worlds that they create on stage. At Reed, Jaclyn also teaches in the interdisciplinary Comparative Race and Ethnicity Studies Program. They have 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 (Acting emphasis) and their MA and PhD in Theater from the University of Texas at Austin (emphasis in Performance as Public Practice), 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