Samuel Yates, Ph.D., is an artist and researcher at George Washington University, where he examines the aesthetics of disability and performance in his current project Cripping Broadway: Neoliberal Performances of Disability in the American Musical. He received his M.Phil in Theatre and Performance Studies from Trinity College Dublin as a George J. Mitchell Scholar and his B.A. from Centre College as a John C. Young Scholar. Samuel holds a Humanity in Action Senior Fellowship for his work on performance and body politics, and has previously collaborated as a dramaturg, playwright, and performer with theaters such as the Abbey Theatre, the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, The Samuel Beckett Centre, and New Harmony Theater, among others. His current research concerns disability aesthetics in commercial theatre, and asks how our notions of able-bodiedness inform and transforms theatrical performance. Yates works to create a more accessible theatre experience for artists and audiences alike.
I trained as an actor before working as a dramaturg for companies like The Eugene O'Neill Theater Company and Ireland's Abbey Theatre. Concerns about the limits of inclusivity in commercial theatre led me to complete my M.Phil at Trinity College Dublin, where I researched queer documentary performance. I am currently a doctoral candidate and graduate instructor at GWU in Washington, D.C.
My dissertation in progress, "Cripping Broadway: Neoliberal Performances of Disability in the American Musical,” uses crip and queer theories as an analytic to explore the historical evolution of the Compassion Musical, a late twentieth and early twenty-first century form which dramatizes structures of sympathy for the seemingly faulty embodiments that result in the individual and/or social deterioration of disabled protagonists.
A pillar of any good classroom is accessibility. As an instructor for university and high school students, I center my classrooms around multi-modal content and learning, creative thinking, and community dialogue. Recent instruction includes courses in disability studies, literary and cultural theory, dramatic literature, and creative writing.