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Roger Ellis
Assistant Professor

Roger Ellis

Roger Ellis (they/them) is a theatre maker, filmmaker, and producer who cultivates performance projects exploring identity, post-traumatic growth, and digital media. Upcoming projects include Get Out Alive at The Haven Theatre, a live stage adaptation of the award-winning film directed by Ellis. Their creative practice traverses, synthesizes, and reimagines traditional disciplines such as directing, choreography, and new works development. Ellis’ research centers on physical inquiry and embodiment-based performance. They have worked in New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and across the United States with companies such as Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s LookOut Series, Sacramento Music Circus, Paramount Theatre, American Music Theatre Project, Horizon Theatre Company, Aurora Theatre, Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, Tuacahn Center for the Arts, San Diego Repertory, and Gallery Players Brooklyn. In addition, Ellis’ choreography for the digital theatre project AntigoneNOW made its international premiere at the 27th Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theatre.

Ellis is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Theatre at Northwestern University. In addition, they serve as co-curator of the Kelsey Pharr Jr. Speaker Series and on the advisory board of the Black Arts Consortium.

At Northwestern, Ellis teaches courses in music theatre and movement for the stage through the lens of experimental theatre theory, practice, and improvisation. Ellis draws influence from their study of the Six Viewpoints with Mary Overlie, the Lucid Body with Fay Simpson, and Developmental Technique with Erika Berland and Wendell Beavers. In the classroom, Ellis guides emerging artists in developing sustainable artistic practices that balance autonomy and collaboration. Ellis has also taught courses in movement for the stage, acting through song, musical theatre scene study, music theatre dance, and collaborative devising process at Marymount Manhattan College, the University of the Arts Summer Institute, and NYC’s Professional Performing Arts School. In addition, Ellis has taught guest workshops at Boston University, Dell’ Arte International School of Physical Theatre and has been a guest speaker at the School of Sound (UK), Victorian College of the Arts at the University of Melbourne, and the August Wilson Society Colloquium at Howard University.

Selected credits: Get Out Alive (director), The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (movement director), Parade (director), Fun Home (director/choreographer), A Little Night Music (director/choreographer), LaChiusa’s The Wild Party (director), The Light in the Piazza (associate director/movement coach), the NY Developmental Workshop of Maverick (associate director/choreographer), and the world premiere of Laura Pittenger’s Thou Shalt Not (director).

Ellis holds an MFA in Musical Theatre from San Diego State University, a BA in Theatre Performance from Oklahoma City University, and is a designated teacher of The Lucid Body. Ellis is the recipient of the National Alliance of Acting Teachers’ Earle Gister Fellowship (2019) and is a member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (Associate), the Association of Theatre Movement Educators, and the National Alliance of Acting Teachers.


MFA, Musical Theatre, San Diego State University
BA, Theatre Performance, Oklahoma City University

Conference Presentations

Directors Lab North – Toronto, Ontario, Canada, June 2020
Workshop Presentation: “The Director’s Body in Rehearsal”

Association for Theatre in Higher Education – Music Theatre/Dance Focus Group, Quarantine Colloquium, June 1, 2020
Paper Presentation: “Physical Dramaturgy as a Critical Lens for Analyzing Fun Home

Association for Theatre in Higher Education Conference, July 2020
Paper Presentation: “Airplane as a Metaphor for Resilience in Fun Home.”
Workshop Presentation: “Movement as Text/Text as Movement?”
Multimedia Presentation: “Disruptive Logics of Identity: Casting Presence in Fun Home