Victoria Lewis

Professor, Theatre
Theatre Department

Victoria Lewis


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


P: 909.748.8726

Meet Dr. Lewis

Victoria Lewis is responsible for the Department of Theatre Arts' dramaturgical curriculum and directs regularly in the mainstage season. In 2006, Theatre Communications Group published her anthology "Beyond Victims and Villains: Contemporary Plays by Disabled Playwrights." Her most recent essay, "Disability and Access: a Manifesto for Actor Training," is included in Politics of American Actor Training (eds. Margolis and Renaud, Routledge, 2009). Victoria's critical work has appeared in American Theatre, the Michigan Quarterly Review, Radical History Review and several edited collections.

With the support of the CAS dean's office, in 2001, she established the Theatre Odyssey Program to introduce our students to artists and organizations that reflect the cultural diversity, theatrical innovation and professional expertise unique to Southern California and representative of best practices in the field.

Victoria recently served as Chair of the National Summit on Careers in the Arts for People with Disabilities hosted by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Kennedy Center. Since 1998, Victoria has worked closely with the NEA to create programming and initiatives to encourage access to arts education for all Americans. As a speaker on disability and theatre, Victoria has been the guest of the Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts, the Writer's Guild of America at HBO productions in New York, the City Theatre in Pittsburg ("City Talk" series), the President's Council on the Arts (D.C.), the California Arts Council and the Huntington Library (Women's Studies series) amongst others.

Before receiving a doctorate in Theatre (UCLA) in 2000, Victoria was an Artist-in-Residence at Los Angeles' Mark Taper Forum where 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.

Research and Creative Activity
  • Theatre Studies/Disability Studies
  • Documentary Theatre

  • Community-based Theatre

  • Comedy

  • People's Theatre

  • Arts Policy and Education

Academic interests:
Theatre as a Liberal Art, Theatre across the Curriculum, Diversity in the Classroom, Non-traditional Casting

Courses Taught

Introduction to Theatre

Changing Stages-Theatre History

Play Analysis

Fundamentals of Acting

First Year Seminar

Senior Seminar


Images of Disability

Women and Performance

World Theatre

Director mainstage productions


Founding Director, the Other Voices Project, Mark Taper Forum, 1982-2002

Developed theatre skills, storytelling, and playwriting in a variety of communities including teen mothers in South Central Los Angeles, blue-collar workers, and people with disabilities

Artist in Residence, Mark Taper Forum, Los Angeles, 1982-2000: curated annual interdisciplinary Chautauquas and writers' residencies with theatre artists, scholars, and community activists

Editor/writer for "The Independent," a quarterly magazine, Center for Independent Living, Berkeley, CA 1978-1980

Actress. Performer, educator, Lilith Woman's Theatre, San Francisco, CA, 1978-1981

Actress, "Peggy" on the popular night-time soap, "Knots Landing." Stage credits include the Old Globe Theatre, the Mark Taper Forum, the Los Angeles Theater Center, the Eugene O'Neill Festival, the Los Angeles Classical Theater Lab, and the Ensemble Studio Theatre among others.


"Disability and Access: A Manifesto for Actor Training," in The Politics of American Actor Training, ed. Ellen Margolis and Lissa Renaud. Routledge. 2009.

"Actors," "Children of a Lesser God," "Geri Jewell," "Playwrights," and "Theatre," in Encyclopedia of American Disability History, Burch, Susan, ed. New York: Facts on File, 2008.

Beyond Victims and Villains: Contemporary Plays by Disabled Playwrights. New York: Theatre Communications Group, Inc., 2006. editor.

"The Theatrical Landscape of Disability," Disability Studies Quarterly, Summer 2004.

"Theater Without a Hero: the making of P.H.*reaks: the Hidden History of People with Disabilities." In Bodies in Commotion, ed. Philip Auslander and Carrie Sandahl. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2005.

Awards, Honors, Grants

2009 Tri-Union (Actors Equity, Screen Actors Guild, and AFTRA) Diversity Award

2006-2007 University of Redlands Outstanding Faculty Award for Research and Creative Activity

2005 Director's Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts, California Arts Council

2004 Arts and Culture Award, Corporation for Disability and Technology

2002-2003 University of Redlands Outstanding Faculty Award for Research and Creative Activity

2001 Cornerstone Theater Bridge Award

1999-2000 Dissertation Fellowship from the American Association of University Women.

1998-1999 Durfee Foundation Sabbatical Award for leaders in the Arts

1998 Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission John Anson Ford Award for the Arts

1997 Aaron Curtis Award /Critical Writing, School of Theater Film and Television, UCLA

Invited Presentations

"Diversity in the Classroom," panelist, 2009, Educational Theatre Association (EDTA) Annual Conference in conjunction with the California Educational Theatre Association (CETA).

"What's in a Name?" Keynote, National Summit on Careers in the Arts for People with Disabilities, Kennedy Center, 2009.

"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.

"John Belluso: Playwright and Activist-a Tribute," the Public Theatre, in association with Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts, New York City, 2008.

"Audience, Heal Thyself: The Representation of Illness and Disability on Stage," Remsen Bird, Visiting Scholar, Occidental College, 2007.

"Beyond Victims and Villains: a discussion about Disability from the sideshow, the stage, and the streetcorner," The Gamm Theatre, Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Guest Artist, 2007.

"Where the World Is Thickest-Disability Theater," Oxford Round Table, Oxford England, 2007.

"Readings from 'Beyond Victims and Villains: Contemporary Plays by Disabled Playwrights,'" ALOUD at the Los Angeles Central Library reading series, 2007.

"The Theatrical Landscape of Disability-domestic vs. transcendent geographies," Huntington Library Women's Studies Seminars, 2006.

"Radical Wallflowers: Disability and the People's Theater," Radical History Review, 94, Fall 2005.

"Radical Optimist: Interview with playwright John Belluso," American Theatre, April, 2004.

"O Pioneers! Disabled Actors and the Theatrical Training Establishment," American Theatre, April, 2001.


Association for Theatre in Higher Education

American Society for Theatre Research

Society for Disability Studies

American Association of University Women