Theatre as Medicine

The goal of this group is to research and develop a performative theory of medicine by tracing theatre’s historical imbrication with the healing arts and by analyzing how theatrical elements generate and sustain the clinical encounter between doctors and patients. A fundamental tenet of our working group is that patients’ and doctors’ performances cannot be understood in isolation, nor does interpretation happen in only one direction. The contact that occurs between patient and caregiver makes illness an ensemble drama. We will focus on a set of interdisciplinary readings from the sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. Our group includes scholars in the humanities—primarily in medical humanities, theatre studies, social and aesthetic performance studies, disability studies, and affect studies—and key stakeholders in medicine including clinicians, medical educators, activists, and patients. Co-Sponsored by UTM Office of the Vice-President Research.


  • Larry Switzky, UTM English & Drama
  • Marlene Goldman, UTSC English


Faculty, University of Toronto

  • Jill Carter, A&S Indigenous Studies and Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies
  • Lisa Cherniak, Instructor, A&S Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies
  • Xing Fan, A&S Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies
  • Jacob Gallagher-Ross, UTM English & Drama
  • Alex Eric Hernandez, A&S English
  • Pia Kontos, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute
  • Andrea Most, A&S English
  • Terry Robinson, UTM English & Drama
  • Simon Stern, Faculty of Law and A&S English
  • Katherine Williams, A&S English

Graduate Students, University of Toronto

  • Caitlin Gowans, Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies
  • Ilana Khan, Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies
  • Walter Villanueva, English
  • Jessica Watkins, Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies

Faculty outside University of Toronto

  • Sarah Bay-Cheng, Arts, Media Performance & Design, York University
  • Alice Flaherty, Neurology, Harvard University
  • Stan Garner, English, University of Tennesee
  • Hartley Jafine, Medicine, McMaster
  • Tim McGinnis, Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins University
  • Arthur Rose, Wellcome Centre, University of Exeter and London
  • Marlis Schweitzer, Arts, Media Performance & Design, York University
  • Doris Sommer, Comparative Literature, Harvard University