Dr. David Peterson

Dr. David Peterson

Assistant Professor of Theatre

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Dave Peterson is an assistant professor of theatre here at NU, having joined the faculty in the Fall 2020. Dave teaches History and Literature of Theatre 1 and 2, American Theatre and Drama, and Dramatic Theory and Criticism. Additionally, he teaches a graduate level course in theatre education methods and has taught courses for the NUB program on theatre and social justice. He also currently serves as a co-advisor for the NU Players and has overseen projects as part of the Theatre Specialization degree.

NU Theatre

For Niagara University Theatre, Dave has directed Good Kids by Naomi Iizuka and Machinal by Sophie Treadwell. This season, Dave will be directing Everybody by Brandon Jacobs Jenkins.

Professional Experience

Prior to Niagara, Dave directed productions of Antigone, Harvey, Troilus and Cressida, Late: A Cowboy Song, and A Servant of Two Masters, among others. He has held various teaching positions with California State University in Bakersfield, North Central College and Colby College.

He has published articles and reviews on contemporary clowning practice, Shakespeare, and puppetry. His most recent publications include:

"Bill Irwin's Clowning: Zany Labor of the "Physical Intellect"." Comparative Drama, vol. 54 no. 1, 2020, p. 1-25. (Published 4-29-2021)

“”Thus, Like the Formal Vice”: Mark Rylance and Clowning in Richard III” in Comedy Studies 11:2 Autumn 2020

“Flopping to New Heights: Clown Failure’s Alternative Potentials in 500 Clown Macbeth” in Contemporary Theatre Review Vol 26, No.2. 2016. Pp 153-167

Additionally, he has presented at the following conferences:

“What Use are Clowns? Lorraine Hansberry’s Subtle Revolutions of Style” Paper Presented at Theatre History Symposium of the 2022 Mid America Theatre Conference in Cleveland March 3rd-6th 2022 (upcoming)

 "What Use Are Clowns: Lorraine Hansberry's Critique of the Absurd Clown" workshopped at Article in Progress session at the 2022 Mid America Theatre Conference in Cleveland March 3rd-6th 2022 (upcoming)

Participated in the Comedy Studies Working Group at the American Society for Theatre Research Conference October 22nd, 2021 

“Camilla Pessi: Repeating and Revising the Masculine Clown” Paper discussed at the Comedy Studies Working Group at the American Society for Theatre Research Conference. Online. October/November 2020

Current Projects/Research

Dave's current research focuses on the American playwright Lorraine Hansberry. This writing examines Hansberry's use of comedy and her critique of Absurdist theatrical writers. Dave has traveled to Lorraine Hansberry's archives located in the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, part of the New York Public Library system. His work was supported by a Research Support Grant from Niagara University's Research Council.

Professional Affiliations

  • The American Society for Theatre Research
  • The Association for Theatre in Higher Education
  • Mid-America Theatre Conference


  • PhD - Theatre History and Performance Studies with a special option in directing, The University of Pittsburgh
  • MA - Theatre, Michigan State University
  • BA - Theatre and History, The University of Michigan