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Jillian Campana

Brief Biography

Jillian Campana is a tenured full professor of theater at The American University in Cairo (AUC) where she also serves as the associate dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HUSS). Her research and creative work look at drama as a tool to build community, equality, and identity. She has developed several applied theater projects across the world, including programs for persons living with brain injuries (Swedish institute Framnäs Folkhögskola), victims of sexual trafficking (Stairway, Philippines and International Justice Project, India) and Climate Change (COP27, Sharm El Sheikh). She has written numerous plays and published articles and book chapters in Arab StagesThe Handbook for Social Work with GroupsScene and Triquarterly among other publications and her work has been honored by the American College Theatre Festival at the John F. Kennedy Center, The Times Higher Education, the PBS independent Lens Awards and the European Social Fund.

Campana studied extensively with Brazilian Theatre activist Augusto Boal, delivered a TEDx talk in Mumbai, India (where she taught in Film City and ran a theater company), and produced the film The Puzzle Club and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) television documentary The Making of the Puzzle Club. Her books include, Acting Successful: using performance skills in everyday life (2015)Western Theatre in Global Contexts: directing and teaching culturally inclusive drama around the world (Routledge, 2020) and It’s Not My Fault: five new plays on sexual harassment in Egypt (AUC Press, 2023) published in both English and Arabic. Her research project, Msh Zanbik, was awarded the 2023 Research Project of the Year in Arts Humanities and Social Sciences for the Middle East-North Africa region by the Times Higher Education.

Research Interest
  • Art and Participatory Action Research
  • Theater for Social Justice
  • Leadership in Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
  • Trauma and the Arts
  • World Theater
  • Performance and Cognition
  • Performance for the non-actor
  • Performance Studies
  • Documentary/Verbatim Theatre
  • Campana, J. and Amin, D. It’s Not Your Fault: five new plays on sexual harassment in Egypt. American University in Cairo Press, 2023. (published in Arabic and English)
  • Piece of Mind: performances on mental health and well-being, Cairo, Egypt 2023.
  • Anti-Sexual Harassment Educational Training Videos (in Arabic): What is Sexual Harassment? What is Speaking Up? What is Taking Action. 2023.
  • It’s Just One Bag, COP27-United Nations Climate Change Conference, Sharm El Sheikh  2022.
  • Campana, J., and Jahanmir, Y. Western Theatre in Global Contexts: Directing and Teaching Culturally Inclusive Drama Around the World. London: Routledge, 2020.
  • Ancient Games: a retelling of the Osiris Isis myth from a feminist perspective. Educational Outreach Tour, Cairo. 2022.
  • Campana, J. and Seif, S. Documentary Theatre in Egypt: devising a new play in Cairo. In Arab Stages. New York: Martin E Segal Theatre Center Press at City University New York. 9(1), 2018.
  • Campana, J. Playwriting as Participatory Action Research. In Elixir International Journal. 116, 2018.  
  • Campana, J. Dream Hope Wish Desire. Falaki Theatre, Cairo, Egypt. 2017
  • Campana, J. Water Water Everywhere. ABS Muscat, Oman. 2017.
  • Campana, J. Beijing Now. Beijing International City School. 2017.
  • Campana, J. and Finn, J. Popular Education, Participatory Research and Popular Theatre. In Handbook for Social Work with Groups, Guildford Press, 2016.
  • Campana, J. Provocative Theatre. In Scene Magazine, ISTA Press, 2016.             
  • Campana, J. Acting Successful: using performance skills in everyday life. Cognella Press, 2015.               
  • Campana, J. Laban Movement Analysis:  a tool for the actor. In Scene Magazine, ISTA Press, 2011.
  • Contemporary Acting in India:  Authentic Exaggeration and Realism Unite. In Triquarterly, Northwestern University Press, 2008.
  • Campana, J. Collaborating Across Disciplines and Countries. In Academic Exchange Quarterly, 2008.
  •  Campana, J. Lessons from the Stage - Theatre for Social Justice. In Northwest Theatre Review, 2007.
  • Campana, J. The Puzzle Club: brain injury survivors talk, Broken Pines Productions. Distributed by Icarus Films, 2006.
  • Campana, J. Theatrical Pedagogy, Interactive Service.  In Academic Exchange Quarterly, 2005.
  • Performance Studies
  • Playwriting
  • Documentary Theater
  • Applied Arts
  • Theater in the Making
  • Theatre and Social Sciences
  • BFA Acting. California Institute of the Arts, 1992.
  • Cambridge EFL Teaching Certificate. American University in Cairo, 1994.
  • MA Education/teaching credential. Chapman University, 1995.
  • MA Performance Studies. Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, 1999.
  • PhD Interdisciplinary: Theatre, Sociology, Psychology, Education, Social Work. University of Montana, 2004.