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Dassia Posner
Associate Professor, Theatre, Slavic Languages and Literatures; Director, Interdisciplinary PhD program in Theatre and Drama

Dassia Posner

Dassia N. Posner is a theatre historian specializing in Russian avant-garde theatre, the history of directing, production dramaturgy, and world puppetry history and performance. She teaches undergraduate courses in Theatre and in Slavic Languages and Literatures and graduate courses in the MFA in Directing and the Interdisciplinary PhD in Theatre and Drama (IPTD). She is currently Director of IPTD and Vice President for Awards of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education.

Posner’s books include The Director’s Prism: E. T. A. Hoffmann and the Russian Theatrical Avant-Garde (2019: Shortlist, Prague Quadrennial Best Scenography and Performance Design Publication Award; 2016: Finalist, TLA Freedley Memorial Award); The Routledge Companion to Puppetry and Material Performance (co-edited with Claudia Orenstein and John Bell, 2014); and Three Loves for Three Oranges: Gozzi, Meyerhold, Prokofiev (co-edited with Kevin Bartig and associate editor Maria De Simone; under contract with Indiana University Press). Her web-based archive companion to The Director’s Prism features over a hundred multimedia Russian theatre sources: Her current book-in-progress, The Moscow Kamerny Theatre: An Artistic History in Political Times, examines the Kamerny Theatre’s innovations and international influence in the artistic and political context of the Soviet 1920s and 30s.

Recent creative scholarship includes production dramaturgy at Steppenwolf Theatre Company for Grand Concourse and Russian Transport, as well as for Three Sisters, for which she was also Tracy Letts’s dramaturgical translator. Prior to coming to Northwestern, she was the resident dramaturg at Connecticut Repertory Theatre. She has performed as a puppeteer with First Night Boston, the Children’s Free Opera and Dance of New York, Bread and Puppet Theater, Underground Railway Theatre, the Puppeteers’ Cooperative, and Luna Theatre.


PhDDrama, Tufts University
MADrama, Tufts University
BATheatre and Russian, Bates College

Recent Publications


Articles and Chapters

Program Essays

Recent Awards and Honors

  • 2019: Shortlist, Prague Quadrennial Best Performance Design and Scenography Publication Award, for The Director’s Prism: E. T. A. Hoffmann and the Russian Theatrical Avant–Garde
  • 2017: Finalist, TLA Freedley Memorial Award for The Director’s Prism: E. T. A. Hoffmann and the Russian Theatrical Avant-Garde
  • 2015–2016: Honor Roll for Undergraduate Teaching, NU Associated Student Government
  • 2015: Clarence Simon Award for Outstanding Teaching and Mentoring
  • 2014: Cambridge University Press Prize, American Society for Theatre Research
  • 2013–2014: Honor Roll for Undergraduate Teaching, NU Associated Student Government

Recent Fellowships and Grants

  • 2018-19: Fellow, American Council of Learned Societies
  • 2018-2019: CHCI-ACLS Fellow, Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities
  • 2016: Alumnae of Northwestern Academic Enrichment Grant
  • 2014–2015: Faculty Fellow, Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities
  • 2012–2015: Undergraduate Research Assistant Program grants
  • 2014: Summer Stipend Award, National Endowment for the Humanities



  • History and Theory of Directing
  • Production Dramaturgy
  • Research Design and Prospectus Writing
  • Russian Theatrical Revolutions
  • History of Western Theatrical Practice


  • History of Directing
  • Puppetry History and Performance
  • Russian Theatrical Revolutions
  • Production Dramaturgy
  • Text and Performance Analysis
  • Theatre in Context