Jillian Campana


Professor and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies, School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Department of the Arts
Download CV191.09 KB


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 (SSE). She studied acting at California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts), performance studies at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and has earned an interdisciplinary PhD in theater and the social sciences. Her research and creative work look at drama and theater as tools 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 in the Philippines and International Justice Project in India) and Climate Change (COP27, Sharm El Sheikh). She has written numerous plays and published recent articles and book chapters in Arab StagesThe Handbook for Social Work with GroupsScene and Triquarterly. She is on the board of trustees for the international non-profit ISTA, and her work has been honored by the American College Theatre Festival at the John F. Kennedy Center.

Campana studied extensively with Augusto Boal, has delivered a TEDx talk in Mumbai, India, where she taught in film city and ran a theater company and is the producer of the film The Puzzle Club and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) television documentary The Making of the Puzzle Club, which are used by hospitals worldwide to help trauma survivors. Campana’s books, Acting Successful: using performance skills in everyday life (2015), and Western Theatre in Global Contexts: directing and teaching culturally inclusive drama around the world (Routledge, 2020) are used as texts at several universities and schools and her newest book, It’s Not My Fault: five new plays on sexual harassment in Egypt is available in spring 2023 in both English and Arabic with AUC Press.

    • Campana, J., and Jahanmir, Y. Western Theatre in Global Contexts: Directing and Teaching Culturally Inclusive Drama Around the World. London: Routledge, 2020
    • 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.
    • Acting
    • Documentary Theater
    • Applied Theater
    • Theater in the Making
    • Physical Performance
    • Theatrical Imagination
    • B.F.A. Acting. California Institute of the Arts, 1992.
    • Cambridge EFL Teaching Certificate. American University in Cairo, 1994.
    • M.A. Education/teaching credential. Chapman University, 1995.
    • M.A. Performance Studies. Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, 1999.
    • Ph.D. Interdisciplinary: Theatre, Sociology, Psychology, Education, Social Work. University of Montana, 2004.
Research Interest
  • Theater for Social Justice
  • Trauma and the Arts
  • Art as Research
  • World Theater
  • Performance and Cognition
  • Performance for the non-actor
  • Performance Studies
  • Documentary/Verbatim Theatre