Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Laura Runge, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sara Deats, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Patrick Finelli, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Regina Hewitt, Ph.D.


Activism, Archiving, Directing, Drama, equality, Feminism, Gender, Parity, Theatre


This study theorizes the origins and history of the professional female playwright and director from the Restoration period to the present day through the stage history of Behn's most popular play, The Rover. Part one is comprised of two chapters: the first in this section argues the importance of appreciating Behn's proto-directorial function in the Restoration theatre and her significance to the history of feminism and women in professional theatre; the second chapter in this section examines the implications of casting practices and venue changes to eighteenth-century revivals of Behn's canon with a particular eye towards what a contemporary director can glean from 18th century revivals. Part II draws on archival research and personal interviews with directors, actors, and dramaturges to examine the historical significance of two particular twentieth-century, woman-directed revivals of The Rover: the 1989 revival at the Goodman directed by Kyle Donnelly and the 1994 revival at the Guthrie directed by Joanne Akalaitis. This study argues the synergistic impact at the time of woman-directed revivals of the most popular play by the first professional female playwright to the emergence of the professional woman director in America in the 1980s and 1990s. Part III consists of three chapters that examine woman-directed revivals of The Rover against the backdrop of theatre practice and sexual politics in the 2000s: one chapter analyzes cross-gender revivals of The Rover by Queen's Company in Brooklyn, NY (2001) and Woman's Will in San Francisco (2003); the next chapter examines a 2011 site-specific, panoramic production of The Rover at the World Financial Center directed by Karin Coonrod for New York Classical Theatre; the final chapter in this section analyzes a 2013 gender parodic production that I directed for Thinking Cap Theatre in Fort Lauderdale. This study argues for the importance of contemporary archiving and revival activism to historicizing the concept of the glass curtain and the gender parity movement in professional theatre and to improving the rate of employment of female directors and playwrights.