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Roger Ellis
Assistant Professor

Roger Ellis

Roger Ellis (they/them) is a theatre maker, filmmaker, and producer who cultivates embodiment-driven interdisciplinary works. Their creative practice traverses, synthesizes, and reimagines traditional disciplines such as directing, choreography, and new works development. Ellis is the director/choreographer of Nikki Lynette’s afrogoth musical Get Out Alive, which premiered in Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s LookOut Series. They have worked in New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and across the United States with companies such as Sacramento Music Circus, Paramount Theatre, American Music Theatre Project, Horizon Theatre Company, Aurora Theatre, Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, Tuacahn Center for the Arts, San Diego Repertory, and Gallery Players Brooklyn. Ellis’ choreography for the digital theatre project AntigoneNOW was presented at the 27th Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theatre.

Ellis teaches courses in music theatre and dance through the lens of experimental theatre theory, practice, and improvisation. Ellis’ teaching is influenced by their study of the Six Viewpoints with Mary Overlie, the Lucid Body with Fay Simpson, and Developmental Technique with Erika Berland and Wendell Beavers. In the classroom, Ellis guides emerging artists in the development of sustainable artistic practices that balance autonomy and collaboration. Ellis has also taught courses in movement for the stage, acting through song, musical theatre scene study, music theatre dance, and collaborative devising process at Marymount Manhattan College, the University of the Arts Summer Institute, NYC’s Professional Performing Arts School, and Lucid Body Institute, NYC.

Selected credits: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (movement director), Parade (director), Fun Home (director/choreographer), A Little Night Music (director/choreographer), LaChiusa’s The Wild Party (director), The Light in the Piazza (associate director/movement coach), the NY Developmental Workshop of Maverick (associate director/choreographer), and the world premiere of Laura Pittenger’s Thou Shalt Not (director).

Ellis’ research arcs connections between trauma studies, physical inquiry, embodiment practice, contemporary performance, and new media. Roger holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theatre from San Diego State University and is a member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (Associate), and The National Alliance of Acting Teachers. Roger is the recipient of the National Alliance of Acting Teachers’ Earle Gister Fellowship (2019).


MFA, Musical Theatre, San Diego State University
BA, Theatre Performance, Oklahoma City University

Conference Presentations

Directors Lab North – Toronto, Ontario, Canada, June 2020
Workshop Presentation: “The Director’s Body in Rehearsal”

Association for Theatre in Higher Education – Music Theatre/Dance Focus Group, Quarantine Colloquium, June 1, 2020
Paper Presentation: “Physical Dramaturgy as a Critical Lens for Analyzing Fun Home

Association for Theatre in Higher Education Conference, July 2020
Paper Presentation: “Airplane as a Metaphor for Resilience in Fun Home.”
Workshop Presentation: “Movement as Text/Text as Movement?”
Multimedia Presentation: “Disruptive Logics of Identity: Casting Presence in Fun Home