Michael Chemers

Michael Chemers

RESEARCH INTERESTS: Dramaturgy, Theater History, Monster Studies,Theory & Critical Studies and Dramatic Literature.
Michael Chemers researches the “dramaturgy of empathy,” a wide-ranging and interdisciplinary inquiry that seeks to understand how performance culture fosters compassion and kindness (and conversely, fear and hatred). Michael is the creator of the 'Ghost Light' model of dramaturgy: a muscular, creatively engaged, artistically vibrant approach to dramaturgy that requires thorough historical understanding, theoretical training broad and deep, and a passionate dedication to creating powerful, relevant performances of all types. Through his writings, which have been translated into several languages, this model has become popular across the world.

Michael has been at the University of California Santa Cruz since 2012. Prior to that time, he was a professor of Dramatic Literature at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama, where he founded and directed the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Production Dramaturgy Program. Michael’s students are working all over the world as dramaturgs, literary managers, scholars, and artists of all kinds. Michael was also the Director of the Digital Arts in New Media Program (DANM) here at UCSC. His work on the dramaturgy of empathy has led him to research and publish in fields as diverse as Disability Studies, New Media Studies, Social Robotics, Shakespearean Studies, Monster Theory, and the Underground Circus Movement. He has also authored chapters in books on South Park, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Game of Thrones.

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