Photo of University Hall

View Profile Page

Faculty/Staff Login:

Jessica Brater

Assistant Professor, Theatre and Dance

Life Hall
Download vCard


Dr. Brater’s research aims to bring attention to art, artists, and audience communities, especially women, who have been underrepresented historically by theatre critics and scholars. Her work emphasizes the relationship between theatrical performance and social and political engagement.

Her book, RUTH MALECZECH AT MABOU MINES: WOMAN'S WORK, was published by Methuen Drama in 2016. Chapters on Mabou Mines appear in WOMEN, COLLECTIVE CREATION, AND DEVISED PERFORMANCE and in CONTEMPORARY APPROACHES TO ADAPTATION IN PERFORMANCE, both published by Palgrave Macmillan. Other writing has appeared in publications including AUJOURD'HUI/SAMUEL BECKETT TODAY and THEATRE JOURNAL. Current writing projects include “Shaping Broadway and Off-Broadway Plays Through Collaborations: Playwrights, Directors, Designers, and Companies” for the CAMBRIDGE COMPANION TO AMERICAN THEATRE, "Nora, Lucia, and Lear: Gender and Performance at Mabou Mines" for ANALYZING GENDER IN PERFORMANCE (Palsgrave MacMillan) and a chapter on Lee Breuer for the new series GREAT NORTH AMERICAN STAGE DIRECTORS (Methuen Drama).

Brater is the founding Artistic Director of Polybe + Seats ( Over the company’s fifteen-year history, they have partnered with other Brooklyn cultural organizations including the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92, the Waterfront Museum and Showboat Barge, and the Old Stone House to create socially engaged work. Most recently, Brater directed Sarah Badiyah Sakaan’s THE ART OF HIJAB, KOHL BLACK, AND THE RIGHT WAY TO PRAY, a new play that explores Muslim feminist identity. The project was supported by a 2014-16 residency at LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, several Creative Space grants from ART/NY, and a grant from the Brooklyn Arts Council. The production was presented at the Bay Ridge Brooklyn Public Library and in a performance residency at the Obie-award winning gallery FiveMyles in partnership with the Arab American Association of New York.

Brater’s teaching encourages students to map connections between theater literature, history, and theory and their own stage practice, challenging them to excel both intellectually and creatively and to examine connections between the performative and the political.

She is the program coordinator for the BA and MA in Theatre Studies, a 2018-2020 Community Engaged Teaching and Learning Fellow, and serves on the University Senate. Brater holds a Ph.D. from the CUNY Graduate Center and a B.A. from Barnard College.