Dr. Isaiah M. Wooden is a director-dramaturg, critic, and Assistant Professor of Theater Arts at Brandeis University. He received his A.B. in Government from Georgetown University and earned his Ph.D. in Theater and Performance Studies at Stanford University.
A scholar of twentieth- and twenty-first century African American art, drama, and performance, Wooden’s articles, essays, and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in Black Camera, The Black Scholar, Callaloo, Journal of American Drama and Theatre, Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, Modern Drama, PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art, Theater, Theatre Journal, and Theatre Topics. He has also contributed writing to the anthologies August Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle: Critical Perspectives on the Plays, Imagined Theatres: Writing for a Theoretical Stage, and The Routledge Companion to African American Theatre and Performance, as well as to The Feminist Wire, The Huffington Post, and PopMatters, among others. Wooden is currently at work on a monograph that explores the interplay of race and time in post-civil rights black expressive culture and is co-editing an anthology on playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney.
The recipient of multiple grants and awards, including the DARE Doctoral Fellowship, the Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, the Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, and the S. Randolph Edmonds Young Scholar Award, Wooden has presented research at national and international conferences and has given talks at multiple colleges and universities—most recently, Georgetown, Swarthmore, University of Texas at Austin, William & Mary, and Yale. He is currently the Performance Review Editor of Theatre Journal and a Contributing Editor of PAJ, and previously served on the Executive Board of the Black Theater Association.
As a director, Wooden has staged new and canonical works in both the U.S. and abroad. Some favorite projects include: Argonautika by Mary Zimmerman; Big Love by Charles L. Mee; In the Red and Brown Water by Tarell Alvin McCraney; Insurrection: Holding History by Robert O’Hara; Dead Man’s Cell Phone by Sarah Ruhl; Bulrusher by Eisa Davis; and Beyond My Circle, the multidisciplinary performance project that he co-devised and presented at the National Theater in Kampala, Uganda. Recent dramaturgy projects include: Native Son by Nambi E. Kelley and the world premiere of Les Deux Noirs: Notes on Notes of a Native Son by Psalmeyene 24 at Mosaic Theater Company.
Prior to joining the faculty at Brandeis, Wooden taught at Georgetown University and American University.