Christopher J. Staley

  • PhD Student

Christopher Staley is an actor, director, and third-year PhD student. His primary research interests focus on actor training pedagogy and cognitive science.

As a theatre practitioner, he has performed at the American Repertory Theater, Indiana Repertory Theater, Moscow Art Theatre School, Opera Carolina, and others. Proud member of Actors’ Equity Association. Training includes multiple intensives with the Suzuki Company of Toga and summer intensives and master classes with SITI Company, workshops with Pacific Performance Project, participation with the Watermill Center International Summer Program, and an upcoming workshop series with Theatre Nohgaku in Tokyo. Here at Pitt Stages, Chris has directed Woyzeck and Dr. Faustus Lights the Lights, and played the role of Franz in Appropriate.

Upcoming conference presentations include “Fear of Death and Lyrical Flight: Mortality Salience Mediation in Fun Home” at the Comparative Drama Conference. Chris presented “Performing Through Deictic Axes: Indexical Embodiment in the Suzuki Method of Actor Training” at MATC this past Spring, as well as “Lorca’s Corpses and their Mothers: Death and the Maternal in the Rural Tragedies” for the Kristeva Circle 2017 Conference. His presentation of “Demonstrating the Actor’s Process: Empathic Projection in Sophocles’ Ajax” for the University of Pittsburgh Department of Classics Conference on “Empathy, Sympathy, and Compassion: The Dynamics of Other-Oriented Emotions” developed into a chapter contribution published in Empathy: Emotional, Ethical, and Epistemological Narratives (Brill, 2019). 

Chris enjoys teaching acting, theatre movement, and performance studies. As a yoga instructor (RYT 200 from ISHTA Yoga), Chris has taught at studio, college, and correctional settings. TAPS classes taught at Pitt include “Introduction to Performance” and “Introduction to Acting” (through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) as well as “Olympic Stages: Theatres and Performances of Olympism.”

Research Interest Summary

Integrating cognitive science and social psychology, with an emphasis on mortality salience in performance.

Research Interests

Research intersects include

Actor Training
Cognitive Science
Olympic Studies
Existential Psychology

Education & Training

  • MFA - American Repertory Theatre/Moscow Art Theatre Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University
  • BS - Theatre and Psychology- Skidmore College
  • SITI Compnay Summer Intensive, 2009 and 2017
  • SITI Company Master Class Series (with Anne Bogart, May 2015 and December 2016
  • SITI Company Master Class Series (with Chuck Mee, December 2015; Alexander May 2015)
  • Pacific Performance Project Intensives, 2013, 2016
  • Watermill Center Summer Program with Robert Wilson 2010
  • Moscow Art Theatre Semester with Eugene O'Neill Center/National Theater Institute 2007
  • Suzuki Company of Toga Summer Intensive, August 2018