T. Nikki Cesare Schotzko

Associate Professor
University College E101



Major Interests: performance art; experimental performance and avant-garde theatre; music-theatre; intermedial performance; feminism and phenomenology; intersections with popular culture

Affiliations: Performance Studies international; Canadian Association for Theatre Research; American Comparative Literature Association; Toronto Performance Studies Working Group

Fellowships/Honors: Fellow, The Mellon School of Theatre Performance and Research at Harvard University; Michael Kirby Memorial Prize for Distinguished Doctoral Dissertation

Current Projects

Learning How to Fall: Art and Culture after September 11, forthcoming in 2015 from Routledge and funded by a generous Connaught New Researcher Award, engages the changing relationship between world events and their subsequent documentation in both artistic and news media. The objective of this book is to examine how today’s ubiquitous modes of technological (in particular, digital) reproduction- of events, of information, and of misinformation – effect a theatricalized understanding of real-world events. Positing contemporary theatre and performance as not only a stylized re-envisioning of daily life but, inversely, as a viable means by which one experiences and processes the significant events within social and political life, this project combines two concurrent if somewhat contradictory trends in aesthetics, narrative, and dramaturgy:

  1. the dramatization of real-world events so as to broaden commercial appeal in both mainstream and alternative media;

  2. the establishment of a more holistic relationship between politically and aesthetically motivated modes of disseminating and processing information.

Implicated in both trends is the study of an ethics of information: that it is not the information itself but rather the context, mode, and manner of its dissemination that defines the social and political parameters of the event it divulges.

The Future of Cage: Credo is a SSHRC– and Jackman Humanities Institute–funded project that involves a major international conference, hosted by the University of Toronto’s Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies, in October 2012, and a forthcoming collection of essays that functions as both a celebration of John Cage, one hundred years after his birth, and an opportunity to explore Cage’s influence on music, writing, performance, and critical scholarship. Fundamental to the development of innovations in performance art, contemporary music, graphic notation, audience reception, and theories of social practice, Cage remains one of the most, if not the most, influential figures in twentieth- and twenty-first-century art and performance. Such a legacy necessarily resonates beyond any single artistic or historical trajectory, and The Future of Cage: Credo explores not only Cage’s output, both artistic and philosophical, but its after-effects through a variety of fields, genres, and modes of presentation.


Learning How to Fall: Art and Culture after September 11. London: Routledge, 2015.

Chapters in Edited Collections
"'How Were We to Know We Were Happy?’: Fairy-Tale (Fr)antics and Margaret Atwood’s Fickle Feminism." In Women in Popular Culture in Canada, edited by Laine Zisman Newman. Toronto: Women's Press, Canadian Scholars' Press, 2020.

"Compassionate Acts: Performance as Radical Care." In The Methuen Drama Companion to Performance Art, edited by Bertie Ferdman and Jovana Stokic. New York: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2020.

"'The Death of Performance Art!': Performing Performance Art Documentation." In Canadian Performance Histories and Historiographies, edited by Heather Davis-Fisch. Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press, 2017.

Edited Journal Issues
The Other 'D': Locating Dance in Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies, coedited with Seika Boye, Heather Fitzsimmons Frey, and Evadne Kelly. Performance Matters, Forum, vol.  2, no. 2 (2016). https://performancematters-thejournal.com/index.php/pm/article/view/63

Performing Products: When Acting Up Is Selling Out, coedited with Didier Morelli and Isabel Stowell-Caplan. Canadian Theatre Review, vol. 162 (2015). https://ctr.utpjournals.press/toc/ctr/162

Caught Off-Garde: New Theatre Ensembles from NYC (mostly), coedited with Mariellen R. Sandford. TDR, vol. 54, no. 4 (2010). https://www.mitpressjournals.org/toc/dram/54/4?mobileUi=0&

"Message Send Failure: Site-Unspecificity in Plant Theater’s Dreams of Riley’s Friends; or, Why Won’t Riley Respond to My Texts?" TDR,  vol.60, no. 3 (2016).

"'Haven’t Got Time for the Pain': The State and Stakes of Performance Art 2.0." TRiC, vol. 36, no. 1 (2015).


PhD, New York University
MA, New York University
MMus, The Hartt School
BA, Oberlin College
BMus, Oberlin Conservatory