Allison Leadley

PhD Candidate

Working Dissertation


Step Right Up! : (Re)Imagining the Freak Show in Contemporary Performance and Disability Theory


T. Nikki Cesare Schoztko


Allison Leadley is a PhD candidate (ABD) at the Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto. Her SSHRC funded doctoral research is focused on contemporary relocations of the Victorian freak show and medical theatre in contemporary popular and visual culture. Specifically, her dissertation (working title: “Step Right Up!: (Re)Imagining the Freak Show in Contemporary Performance and Disability Theory”) considers not only how artists engage with the images and aesthetics of the freak show, but also how such contemporary interpretations of the freak show challenge the very notions of “normal” and “abnormal.”

Allison’s research has been published by Playwrights Canada Press, as well as in and The Journal of Popular Television. Allison is also the editor of the 2016 anthology Theorizing Sex and Disability: An Interdisciplinary Approach in which she also contributed a chapter. As a course instructor, Allison has taught courses in theatre history at the University of Toronto Scarborough and, most recently, an upper-level special topics course at the University of Toronto that traced the figure of the monster in theatre and performance (beginning with Euripides Medea all the way to “Mother Monster” Lady Gaga).


MA, University of British Columbia
BA, Dalhousie University