Barry Freeman

Associate Professor, Chair, Arts, Culture & Media at UTSC



Associate Professor, Theatre & Performance Studies, University of Toronto Scarborough


Barry Freeman is an Associate Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough as well as the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies. His 2017 book Staging Strangers: Theatre and Global Ethics (McGill-Queen’s University Press), draws on ethical philosophy and the sociology of globalization to offer a fresh critique of contemporary theatre in Canada. His 2016 co-edited book In Defence of Theatre: Aesthetic Practices and Social Interventions (University of Toronto Press), assembles essays from nineteen academics, educators and artists from across Canada to address the question: why theatre now? Barry is Associate Editor of Canadian Theatre Review, recently editing issues on the subjects of ‘Alternative Globalizations’, ‘Performing Politicians’, ‘Post-truth’ and ‘Applied Theatre’.

Selected projects

Belongings: Reimagining a Liberal Arts Theatre Education in Canada (Principal Investigator) is a new empirical study of post-secondary, liberal arts theatre studies in Canada. Proceeding from a survey of the national landscape of theatre education, the project will drill down into qualitative, ethnographic case studies of typical and atypical practices in our theatre classrooms. The project will articulate a new collectivist pedagogy for theatre education, one based on building social and relational knowledge, advancing anti-racism, and expanding our capacities for empathy and care. (In year one, undergraduate and graduate student research team, research outputs locally and nationally in 2021, currently funded by UTSC VPR Research Competitiveness Fund, Contri-bution from Flourish: Arts & Wellness Research Cluster, and ACM Chair’s Administrative Research stipend.)

Fostering 21st-century Theatre Criticism in Canada: Building Capacity (Collaborator with Karen Fricker, Brock Uni-versity and Michelle MacArthur, University of Windsor) This project is aimed at creating infrastructure and a support system for theatre criticism in Canada. It is the penultimate step towards the creation of an Academy for Theatre Criticism in Canada, a biennial summertime gathering that will facilitate skill- and resource-sharing, offer training opportunities to emerging critics and professional development to participants at all levels, and strengthen networks between writers, editors, artists, researchers, and pedagogues working across the country with a shared investment in theatre criticism. (In year one, activities partly held up by pandemic, has already built a national network of invested scholarly and professional theatre critics, funded by a SSHRC Connections Grant and other local institutional commitments.)

PLEDGE Project: A Production Listing to Enhance Diversity and Gender Equity (Co-founder and lead with Rebecca Burton, Playwrights Guild of Canada). PLEDGE aims to provide educators and theatre producers further means to address the lack of gender equity producing plays for the Canadian stage, with a particular focus on plays produced in post-secondary theatre schools. The fully searchable database includes plays written by Canadian women that suggest a cast size of six or more performers. The project also invites schools, departments, pro-fessors, visiting directors, and the like to make public pledges to improve the representation of women play-wrights and other marginalized communities at their institutions. (In year five of research and design, has funded 8 student/professional researchers and designers over this time, funded by ACM/UTSC Equity and Diversity in the Arts initiative, upcoming research outputs locally and nationally in 2021.)


Director, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (Bertolt Brecht), UTSC, 2016.

Director, 10 out of 12 (Anne Washburn), UTSC, 2018.


PhD, University of Toronto
MA, University of Toronto


Administrative Service

Chair, Arts, Culture & Media