Christopher J. Staley

  • PhD Student

Christopher Staley is an actor, director, and fifth year PhD Candidate. His primary research focus is actor training pedagogy. His dissertation project, “‘What’s the Point?’: Multipodal Orbits in the Suzuki Method of Actor Training” explores the cognitive science of pointing, non-verbal communication, and social theory.

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

Conference participation includes Association for Theatre in Higher Education, The Makings of the Actor Conference, Mid-America Theatre Conference, the American Association of Teachers of Japanese Conference, European Shakespeare Research Assocation, American Theatre and Drama Society, and others. Publications include “Fear of Death and Lyrical Flight: Mortality Salience Mediation in Fun Home” in Theatre and the Macabre (University of Wales Press, forthcoming), and “Imaginative Deixis and Distributed Fictions in the Suzuki Method of Actor Training” in Teaching Performance Practices in Remote and Hybrid Spaces (Routledge, forthcoming).

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, Introduction to Dramatic Art, Contemporary Global Stages, and Introduction to Acting through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

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, 2017, 2019 and 2021
  • Pacific Performance Project Intensives, 2013, 2016
  • Watermill Center Summer Program with Robert Wilson 2010
  • Suzuki Company of Toga Summer Intensive, 2018, 2019 and 2022 (accepted)
  • Theatre Nohgaku Online Intensive 2021, Hampden Sydney Intensive 2021
  • Moscow Art Theatre Semester with Eugene O'Neill Center/National Theater Institute 2007