Dr. James H. Peck
Professor of Theatre
I teach courses in directing, performance studies and theatre history. In all my classes, I try to help students approach the theatre as a site of personal and social transformation. Whether we’re making theatre or analyzing it, we’re asking questions about representation, status and power. Whose stories get told? Whose do not? What does the play encourage the audience to think and feel about its characters and events? With what consequences? I’m especially drawn to theatre that suggests alternatives to the current state of affairs, whether in a particular historical moment or in our own time. How has theatre invited audiences to imagine a different, and better, world? Can it do this now? I hope and believe it can. But how?
In addition to Muhlenberg, I have taught at the Yale School of Drama, the New York University Tisch School of the Arts and the Playwrights Horizons Theater School.
I’ve directed well over 60 productions of plays, operas and musicals at professional and university theatres throughout the United States. My taste is eclectic, though I gravitate toward large-scale projects that show characters grappling with conflicts of a social and historical nature.
Recent projects include Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes’ “In the Heights” and Gertrude Stein’s “Listen to Me.” In fall 2018, I directed Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Sunday in the Park with George for Muhlenberg's Department of Theatre and Dance.
I am a member of the Stage Directors & Choreographers Society.
I have published numerous scholarly articles in academic journals and in books from major university presses. My current research focuses on the history and theory of directing. I am Series Editor for the book series “Great North American Theatre Directors,” under contract with Bloomsbury Methuen. I served as editor of the academic journal Theatre Topics and book review editor of Theatre Journal.