Victoria Lewis

Professor, Emeriti
Theatre Department

Victoria Lewis headshot


PhD, Theater, School of Theater, Film and Television, University of California Los Angeles, 2000

M.A. English Literature and Language, Teachers College, Columbia University, 1968

B.A. English, Dunbarton College, 1967

Meet Dr. Lewis

Victoria Lewis is a pioneer in theatre and disability, working since the 1980s in a variety of theatrical models—grassroots, community-based, regional not-for-profit, and television and film. Her developmental work reshaped the depiction of disability on the stage and nurtured a generation of disabled playwrights and actors, now at work throughout the US. 
Victoria trained as a member of two people's theater collectives—Lilith, A Women's Theatre (San Francisco) and Family Circus Theater (Portland, Oregon). Prior to joining academia. with the support of an Artist in Residence in the Communities grant from the California Arts Council sponsored by Los Angeles's Mark Taper Forum, Victoria founded the Other Voices Project, dedicated to providing theatre training for people with disabilities and creating texts to challenge the depiction of disability in drama and the mass media. Victoria joined the Artistic Staff of the Taper and continued to develop strategies for cultural enfranchisement of marginalized communities including Latina and African-American teen mothers and blue-collar workers. Victoria is the editor of Beyond Victims and Villains: Contemporary Plays by Disabled Playwrights, Theatre Communications Group, 2006. In 2000 she received a Ph.D. in Theatre from UCLA and joined the Theatre Arts faculty at the University of Redlands. 
As a documentary theatre artist, Victoria’s most recent project is a verbatim play One Day on the Road to the ADA based on the congressional record of September 27, 1988. Presented at the university in Fall 2018 One Day was a collaboration between Theatre and Race and Ethnic Studies departments with an ensemble of students, staff, faculty and community members.

Courses Taught

THA 251-252 Changing Stages Theatre History Parts One and Two

THA 255 Diversity on the American Stage: Plays and Players

THA 300 Play Analysis

THA 350 Dramaturgy

THA 260 Theatre in the Communities

THA 260 Theatre for Social Change

THA 425 Senior Seminar


Victoria is the Founding Director of the Other Voices Project at the Mark Taper Forum. As an Artist-in-Residence she created documentary plays with a variety of communities (blue-collar workers, Latina and African American teen mothers, and people with disabilities) and curated Contemporary Chautauquas which combined writers' residencies with interdisciplinary dialogues among artists, activists, inventors, and scholars.


Editor Beyond Victims and Villain: Contemporary Plays by Disabled Playwrights

“A Great and Complicated Thing: Reimagining Disability,” in Casting a Movement: The Welcome Table Initiative 

“Activating the Past: Performing Disability Rights in the Classroom;” in the Journal for Literary and Cultural Disability Studies

“Hands like starfish/feet like moons: Disabled Women’s Theatre Collectives,” in Women, Collective Creation, and Devised Performance

“From Mao to the Feeling Circle: the Limits and Endurance of Collective Creation,” in A History of Collective Creation

"Disability and Access: A Manifesto for Actor Training," in The Politics of American Actor Training, ed. Ellen Margolis and Lissa Renaud.

Awards, Honors, Grants

Tri-Union (Actors Equity, Screen Actors Guild, and AFTRA) Diversity Award

University of Redlands Outstanding Faculty Award for Research and Creative Activity

California Arts Council Director's Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts 

Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission John Anson Ford Award for the Arts

AFL-CIO's Image Award. 

Chair, Planning Committee for both the 1998 and the 2008 Careers in the Arts Forum for Persons with Disabilities sponsored by the National Endowment of the Arts

Invited Presentations

"Performing History," Society for Disability Studies, Ohio State University, 2019.

"A Great and Complicated Thing: Reimagining Disability," Association of Theatre in Higher Education, 2019. 

"Everyman in the Streets of Redlands," Association of Theatre in Higher Education, 2018.

"The Education of Tiny Tim: Disability, Democracy and the Theater." Guest Scholar/Artist. 2008. University of Toledo's Humanities Institute, Science and Sensibility Program for Academic Excellence.

"Beyond Victims and Villains: a Theater Workshop about Art, Democracy and Theater," an interdisciplinary residency with the Theater Department and the Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University, 2008.

She has presented to the President's Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Writers Guild of America, HBO and many other organizations.


Association for Theatre in Higher Education

American Society for Theatre Research

Society for Disability Studies

American Association of University Women