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Megan Lewis

Multicultural Theater Certificate Director | Associate Professor | Theater History & Performance Studies

Megan Lewis, UMass Amherst Department of Theater


Fine Arts Center, Rm 107

BA Kenyon College
MA Johns Hopkins University
PhD University of Minnesota 

Dr. Megan Lewis is a South African-American theatre historian and performance scholar concerned with the staging of national identity, gender, and race in a variety of performance media---including monuments and public pageants, traditional staged texts, and documentary and narrative films. Dr. Lewis is the author of a monograph about the intersections of whiteness, masculinity, national identity, and performance in South Africa, Performing Whitely in the Postcolony (2016, University of Iowa Press) and Magnet Theatre: Three Decades of Making Space (2016, Intellect Books and UNISA Press), a collection of essays and interviews about Cape Town-based Magnet Theatre, co-edited with Anton Krueger at Rhodes University. She is currently working on her third book project: a study of safari as performance in the US and southern Africa. Lewis has published on South African performance in Theatre JournalPerforming Arts Journal, Text & PerformanceTheatre Topics, and The Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism. Lewis taught theatre, media, and film courses at the University of Minnesota (2006-2011) before joining the faculty at UMass Amherst in 2011.

Prof. Lewis is a multidisciplinary educator with a passion for inspiring intellectual curiosity and advocating for the performing arts as a powerful force for social activation and change. Her teaching passions include African theatre and film, the politics of performance, non-Western performance traditions, and the performance of gender (masculinity) and race (whiteness) in South Africa. In 2015, Dr. Lewis received a Distinguished Teacher Award for her passionate work and politics in the classroom. Every summer, Prof Lewis leads students on an intensive study abroad program, called Arts & Culture in South Africa, focused around the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. From 2015-2017 she was Graduate Program Director for the Department of Theater, and she earned tenure at UMass in 2017.

She balances her scholarly life with a professional career as a documentary filmmaker and editor, and voiceover talent.

Click to learn: About Prof. Lewis' Grahamstown course

Click to read: Articles by Dr. Lewis

Click to view: Videos about Prof. Lewis' teaching philosophy and practices

Click to read: An article about Prof. Lewis's book award and sabbatical work with Semester At Sea