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

Memberships and Professional Affiliations
  • International Society for the Arts, Sciences, and Technology
    • member, 2004-current
  • Project X, Dallas, TX
    • Producing Artist, trans-disciplinary performance collective. 2005-current.
  • UTD/Central Track Artist Residency, Dallas, TX
    • Advisory Board, 2007-current
  • UpStart Productions, Dallas, TX
    • Advisory Board, 2008-current
  • UTD/South Side Artist Residency, Dallas, TX
    • Advisory Board, 2003-2006
  • Fairbanks Drama Association, Fairbanks, Alaska
    • board of directors: served as vice-president, co-chair of building committee, artistic director and chair of artistic directions committee, charged to choose season offerings and coordinate artistic programming, 1997-2003
  • Out North Theatre and Visual Arts Center, Anchorage, Alaska
    • national advisory board, 1998-2006
  • Edward Albee / Last Frontier Theatre Conference, Valdez, alaska
    • national advisory board, 1999-2003
  • Association for Asian Performance
    • member, 1997-current
  • Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers/SSDC
    • member 1985-currently inactive status
  • American Theater in Higher Education
    • member, 1991-current
  • American Association of University Professors
    • member, 1995-current
  • International Federation For Theatre Research
    • member 1999-current
  • Who's Who In America, Entertainment & In The West
  • Registered U.S. Merchant Seaman, Great Lakes
    • 1973- and current status

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.