Thomas Riccio

Professor - Arts And Humanities

Professional Preparation

M.F.A. - MFA in Theatre Education
Boston University - 1982
B.A. - English
Cleveland State University - 1978

Research Areas

Areas of Specialization

Performance Studies, Media Performance and Installation; Indigenous Performance; Ritual and Shamanism; Acting, Stage Directing, Dramaturgy, and Theatre Theory, Literature and Criticism.


Narrative of Place, Theatre Communications Group, Summer 2015 2015 - Publication
Dead White Zombies, Dallas TX Article, Theatre Forum, Vol. 45, 66-80, Summer 2014 2014 - Publication
Collective (Re)Creation Reclamation, Reaffirmation, and Redefinition Chapter in Collective Creation in Contemporary Performance, 195-209 Palgrave, 2013 2013 - Publication
Ethiopia and its Double Article, Theatre Forum, Vol. 41, 46-55, Summer 2012 2012 - Publication
Shadows in the Sun: Context, Process, and Performance in Ethiopia Essay, New Theatre Quarterly (NTQ), Vol. 28, Pt. 3, 272-295, August 2012 2012 - Publication
Robot: Ritual Oracle and Fetish In Transforming Culture in a Digital Age, Tartu University, Estonia, 391-396, 2010 2010 - Publication
Orange Oranges One act play in Sojourn Literary Journal University of Texas at Dallas, Autumn 2009 2009 - Publication
Performing Body, Space and Place: Creating Indigenous Performance in Healing Collective Trauma Using Sociodrama and Drama Therapy, Springer Publications, December 2009 2009 - Publication
Rhythm Reality in Rhythm Steps of Africa, Jagielonian University Press, Kracow (in Polish) 2008 2008 - Publication
Performing Africa: Re-Mixing Tradition, Theatre, and Culture Peter Lang Publishing, Berlin and New York. 2007, 244 pages. ISBN 0-8204-8899-2 2007 - Publication


Visiitng Professor
Jishou University [2016–Present]
Visiting Professor
Pondicherry University [2013–2018]
Professor of Performance and Aesthetic Studies
University of Texas at Dallas [2003–Present]
Visiting Professor
University of Dar es Salaam [1999–2018]
Visiting Professor
California Institute of Integral Studies [1997–2018]
Visiting Professor
Korean National University of the Arts [1996–2018]
Associate Professor
University of Alaska Fairbanks [1995–2001]
Department Head
University of Alaska Fairbanks [1995–1999]
Assistant Professor
University of Alaska Fairbanks [1988–1995]
Artistic Director
Organic Theatre Company, Chicago, IL [1985–1988]

Additional Information

Other Related Experience
  • Great Plains Theatre Conference, Omaha, NE
    • New Plays Panelist, 2009
  • City of Dallas Office of Cutural Affairs
    • Review panelist for granting applications, major arts organizations (budgets of 1 million dollars and above). Total Funding granted, 2.4 million dollars, 2008
  • Dallas Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology
    • Director, Staged Reading, Compromise, a play concerning psychoanalytic ethics. Performed by and for the DFW psychoanalytic community. 2006
  • Outside Production Reviewer, Texas Tech University, 2006
  • Edward Albee/Last Frontier Theatre Conference, Valdez, Alaska
    • Selection committee and new plays panelist, 1999-2002
  • American Repertory Theatre, Harvard University
    • Research Assistant to Robert Brustein, Artistic Director
    • Assistant to Jonathan Marks, Literary Director
    • Assistant to Michael Kustow, Literary Director
    • Dramaturg, Orchids In The Moonlight , by Carlos Fuentes, world premiere, 1981
    • Assistant Director , Grownups, by Jules Feiffer, John Madden, Director, world premiere, 1981
    • Acting Understudy, Tony Shalub, 1980-1982
  • Organic Greenhouse Project, Chicago
    • Founder and director of performance incubator program for performance and theatre groups and artists. Artists included, Michael Meyer, Sharon Evans, Lou Mallozzi, Steven Druckman, Sally Nemath, Michael Gellman, Blair Thomas, Dan Post, Dan Castellaneta, Greg Allen, Deb Lacusta, and Rick Cleveland. Groups included, MinaSama-No (Asian theatre), CityLit Theatre, Chicago new Plays Festival, Fanfire Productions (Gay-Lesbian), and Live Bait productions (performance). 1985-1988
  • Cleveland Opera, assistant director, La Traviata, 1982
  • Huntington Theatre, public relations internship, Boston, MA, 1982
  • American Place Theatre, member, Directors and Dramaturgs Group NYC, 1983-1985
  • Actor and performer in over forty different productions and Presentations (List Upon Request
University Service

University of Texas at Dallas

  • Faculty Senate, Member, 2004-06
  • Executive Committee for Arts and Humanities, 2004-06
  • University Safety Committee, 2005-07
  • University Committee on Educational Policy, Member, 2003-05
  • Graduate Studies Committee, 2005-08
  • Arts and Humanities Periodic Peer Evaluation, Member 2005-007
  • Arts and Humanities Associate Dean Search Committee, Chair, 2005; for Poetry (Chair), Guitar (member) 2006
  • Creator and Producer: Beta Test (performance and media series 2003-04

University of Alaska Fairbanks

  • Department Head 1995-1999
  • Theatre Coordinator (under the Speech and Drama Department) 1988-1991
  • CLA Academic Council, Chair, 2000 to 2003
  • University-Wide Curriculum Review Committee, 2000-2003
  • University-Wide Core Curriculum Development Committee 1989-91
  • CLA Core Curriculum Committee, 1998-2000
  • Provost's Instructional Working Group, Fall 2000-2003
  • Artistic Director, Tuma Theatre (Alaska Native Performance group); Developed classes, programming, curriculum, and research
University and College Teaching

University of Alaska Fairbanks, University of Texas at Dallas, University of Dar es Salaam, Korean National University of the Arts, California Institute for Integral Studies, and Cuyahoga Community College.


  • Theatre Appreciation
  • Stage make-up
  • Aesthetic Appreciation
  • Elements of Arts and Performance
  • World Theater
  • African Theatre
  • Film and Drama
  • Playwrighting
  • Dramatic Literature
  • Playscript Analysis
  • Theatre History I
  • Theatre History II
  • Beginning Acting
  • Intermediate Acting
  • Advanced Acting I
  • Advanced Acting II
  • Acting Shakespeare
  • Theatre Ensemble
  • Alaska Native Performance
  • Tuma Theatre—Beginning to Advanced (Alaska Native)
  • Ritual And Shamanism
  • Beginning Stage Directing
  • Advanced Stage Directing
  • Performance Creation
  • Stage Direction and Producing
  • Art and Society
  • Film and Television Writing
  • Art Communication
  • Story-Telling For New Media
  • Social Mobilization
  • Writing for Performance and New Media


  • Narrative Space and Places
  • Video Narrative
  • Story Lab
  • New Media Installation & Performance
  • Myth and/in Media
  • New Plays 1980-2008
  • Drama Therapy
  • Graduate Directing Seminar
  • Performance Studies
  • Acting Studio
  • Dissertation
  • Ritual and Shamanism
  • Robot Culture
  • Experimentation and Adaptation
  • Production Ensemble
  • Performing Culture & Society
  • Performance Research Methods
  • Research in Aesthetics & Performance
  • Traditional Korean Performance for Contemporary Expression
  • Meta Media Lab (Undergraduate and Graduate)
  • Acting For Animators (Undergraduate and Graduate)

News Articles

Professor Travels to India, Nepal to Study Traditional Performance
Thomas Riccio, professor of performance and aesthetic studies in the School of Arts and Humanities, recently visited Nepal and India to deepen his research on indigenous performance. “My visit to India and Nepal showed that the peoples of the two nations have sustained their ancient traditional and indigenous performance expressions into this century,” said Riccio.Riccio said that some customs, however, are threatened with extinction due to globalization and environmental challenges. In Nepal and India, Riccio lectured at Tribuvan University, which is the national university in Nepal’s cities of Pokhara and Katmandu, where he also held a workshop for the Mandala Theatre.
Prof Presents Third Play in Original Drama Series
Arts & Humanities Professor Thomas Riccio’s newest play, Some People, will premiere at WaterTower Theatre’s “Out of the Loop” Festival on March 11. The cast is comprised almost exclusively of UT Dallas students and alumni. Some People is the third installment of the Simulations series dealing with life in and around the Dallas area. It will be performed three times at the WaterTower Theater and then transfer to the Project X Theatre for a three-weekend run. Some People takes a surrealistic journey into the subconscious of the house next door. In an ordinary Dallas suburb, a husband, wife and child one day find that they live in a house that has come to life. It begins when Frank, the father and a software systems analyst with an anger management issue, begins to hear the voice of the Narrator. The Narrator has come to synchronize the house in order to make all the family’s dreams come true. In order to do so, the world shifts into another dimension where time, space and reality become negotiable.
The Weirdest Theatre Mind in Dallas
It's the Monday after closing night, and the director is cleaning up the last set pieces from his performance space. There are video-game consoles stacked in the bathroom, disconnected security cameras hanging from the ceiling, and a pair of blank-loaded pistols that, thankfully, he just a moment earlier removed from the coffee table and boxed up. There's a pounding at the door now and the director answers it, thinking it's his production manager coming back to retrieve something he forgot. It's not. It's seven Dallas police officers. Three of them have guns drawn. And they appear very confused that standing there in the doorway of a notorious West Dallas crack house is not the just-as-notorious drug dealer they were hoping to find but a confused-looking theater director, wondering what's happening. "Hi," the director says calmly. "What can I do for you?" "Y'all can go on in and wander around. The show will start soon," Lori McCarty, the producing director of T.N.B., says to the crowd as she opens the twin glass doors. The audience shuffles from the patio into the dining room. From there they move either into the den, where a white man in a ski mask stands in the corner working a small DJ table, or the kitchen, where a black woman is tidying up and tending to a Crock-Pot of greens. Every room has a projector streaming footage from the security cameras in the other three rooms. An audience member is sitting on a stool when a black man in a ski mask slams the door next to her open and shut, and then falls against it sobbing. She freezes mid-squat with her eyes wide and lips pulled down, in a what-the-hell-am-I-supposed-to-be-doing frown. The man runs past her to the window, slipping on the carpet, and crushes open the venetian blinds. That's Spooky. He's our hero. Spooky starts yelling at Roosevelt, the white man in the other room. We quickly learn that they are twin brothers. The brothers yell back and forth, and where Spooky is angry, Roosevelt is cartoony. He flops around the rooms like Cosmo Brown in Singin' in the Rain and calls Spooky "Paula Deen" whenever he says "nigga." The crowd doesn't know yet why Spooky is so angry or what he fled before he ran into this house, but they're all clutching beer bottles or plastic cups of wine and staring either at him or his image on the screen, and occasionally each other.
U.T. Dallas Expands Its Theatre Program With Appointment of Educator-Director Riccio
RICHARDSON, Texas (June 16, 2003) - The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) is expanding its theatre program for the 2003-04 academic year with the hiring of Thomas Riccio, who is widely recognized for his work on multicultural theatre projects as both an educator and a director.

Riccio is joining UTD as a professor of theatre, and starting in late August, he will begin working with other arts faculty at the university in the areas of theatre, music and dance to build a performance program that will be incorporated into the overall interdisciplinary goals of UTD's School of Arts and Humanities. He also will help develop new curriculum and will meet with Dallas area theatre leaders in an effort to bring unique cultural productions to the Metroplex.
Kartasi, a Collaborative ‘Phantasm,’ To Open At U. T. Dallas on Nov. 5
RICHARDSON, Texas (Oct. 5, 2004) —Kartasi, written and directed by Thomas Riccio, will open at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) University Theatre on Friday, Nov. 5, at 8 p.m. The innovative and highly experimental show will run until Nov. 14, with performances at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 2:30 p.m. on Sundays. 

According to Riccio, professor of performance studies at UTD, Kartasi is the first of many, upcoming collaborations between UTD’s performance area and the university’s Institute for Interactive Arts and Engineering.