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Jeff Grace


Jeff Grace

Associate Professor of Theatre

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401



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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Associate Professor of Theatre

Jeff Grace

General Interests
"My main area of interest is the representation of homosexual visibility on stage. My research examines how playwrights at the Caffe Cino, a small New York coffeehouse that pioneered the 1960s Off-Off-Broadway movement, presented homosexual characters in their plays. This research interweaves social and cultural history with themes of sexual identity to expose how topics of gender expression, social oppression, communication codes, camp perception, and characteristics of affirmation coalesced around textual bodies of performance in the 1960s, thereby facilitating explicit homosexual diversity on stage."

Years at Knox: 2009 to present

Ph.D., Theatre History, Theory, and Literature, 2008, Indiana University.
M.S., Education, Curriculum and Instruction, 2004, Indiana University.
B.A., Theatre Arts, 1997, Brigham Young University.

Teaching Interests
Theatre History, Directing, American Alternative Theatre, Gay and Lesbian Theatre, Postmodernism, Historical Off-Off-Broadway, Rise of the Modern Director, Musical Theatre, Drag Narratives and the Performed Body.

Selected Professional Accomplishments


  • Cartier Faculty Excellence Award, Knox College, 2017.
  • Faculty Research / Creative Work Grant: Researching Tennessee Williams, 2017.
  • Faculty Research / Creative Work Grant: Researching H.M. Koutoukas, 2017.
  • Knox Faculty Research / Creative Work Grant, 2014.
  • Philip Green Wright-Lombard College Prize for Excellence in Teaching for Un-tenured Faculty, Knox College, 2012.
  • Career Enhancement Grant, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, 2012.
  • Faculty Travel Grant, Knox College, 2010-2017.
  • Research Travel Grant, Department of Theatre, Indiana University, 2008 and 2009.
  • Research Travel Grant, College of Arts and Sciences, Indiana University, 2008.
  • Hubert C. Heffner Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Theatre, Indiana University, 2006.
  • 1st Place Director of Region III Drama Championship Team, Salt Lake City, 2001 and 2002.
  • 2nd Place Director of State Drama Championship Team, Salt Lake City, 2001.
  • Outstanding Directing Award (Best Play), UHSAA, Salt Lake City, 2000 and 2001.

Review of Critical Lives: Tennessee Williams, by Paul Ibell. Theatre History Studies, vol. 38 (upcoming 2018).

Review of Theatre & Photography, by Joel Anderson. Texas Theatre Journal, vol. 12, no. 1, 2016, pp. 100-02.

Review of The Afterlife of Ophelia. Eds. Kaara L. Peterson and Deanne Williams. Texas Theatre Journal 9.1 (2013): 122-24.

"Coming Out at the Caffe Cino: Emancipation from the Dramatic Closet." In Public Theatre and Theatre Publics, edited by Robert Shimko and Sara Freeman, Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing (2012): 176-185.

Review of Tender Fires: The Spiritual Promise of Sexuality, by Fran Ferder and John Heagle, Ecumenica, A Journal of Theatre and Performance 2.2 (2009): 109-110.

Review of Theatres of Independence: Drama, Theory, and Urban Performance in India since 1947, by Aparna Bhargava Dharwadker, Modern Drama 49.4 (2006): 541-543.

"Closets? What does this have to do with closets?: The problem of the hidden homosexual in Doric Wilson's Now She Dances!" Mid-America Theatre Conference, Houston, TX, March 2017.

"Sex Is Between Two People: Variety and Opportunity at the Gay Baths." Mid-America Theatre Conference, Minneapolis, MN, March 2016.

"The Caffe Cino Project: Recreating an American Cultural Landmark." Mid-America Theatre Conference, Kansas City, MO, March 2015.

"Re/visioning Homosexual Stage Characters: From the Wales Padlock Act to the Caffe Cino." Mid-America Theatre Conference, Cleveland, OH, March 2014.

"Exaggerating the Myth: Camp Performance at the Caffe Cino in H.M. Koutoukas's Medea, or Maybe the Stars May Understand." Mid-America Theatre Conference, St. Louis, Missouri, March 2013.

"The 'Pass-the-Hat Theatre Circuit': Working for Pittance Off-Off-Broadway." Mid-America Theatre Conference, Chicago, Illinois, 2012.

"Caffe Cino: A Landmark of American Gay Theatre." Mid-America Theatre Conference, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2011.

"Coming Out at the Caffe Cino: Staging Lanford Wilson's The Madness of Lady Bright." Mid-America Theatre Conference, Cleveland, Ohio, March 2010.

"'I don't really know the procedures': Sexual Codes and the Elimination of Class in 1960s Gay Bathhouses." Mid-America Theatre Conference, Chicago, Illinois, March 2009.

Director, The Nether by Jennifer Haley, Knox College, 2016.

Director, The Secret in the Wings by Mary Zimmerman, Knox College, 2016.

Director, Rapture, Blister, Burn by Gina Gionfriddo, Knox College, 2015.

Director, "The Caffe Cino Project" - a theatrical project that involved directing four one-act plays that were originally staged at the Caffe Cino in the 1960s (A Funny Walk Home, The Bed, Who Killed My Bald Sister Sophie?, and Daddy Violet). Knox College, Oct.-Nov. 2014.

Director, Next Fall by Geoffrey Nauffts, Knox College, 2013.

Director, The Caucasian Chalk Circle by Bertolt Brecht, Knox College, 2013.

Director, Under Construction by Charles Mee, Knox College, 2012.

Director, The Serpent by Jean-Claude van Itallie, Knox College, 2010.

Director, Euripides' Medea translated by Robin Robertson, Knox College, 2010.

Professional Service
Panel Chair, "Challenging Institutional Cultures through Performance," Theatre History Symposium, MATC, 2016.

Panel Chair, "Staging the Past/Present in Contemporary Performance: Spaces, Bodies, Objects," Theatre History Symposium, MATC, 2015.

Panel Chair, "Visiting and Revisioning the Margins," Theatre History Symposium, MATC, 2014.

Conference Planning Committee, Co-Chair, Emerging Scholars Symposium, Mid-America Theatre Conference, 2011-2013.

Panel Chair, "Out of the Ruins and Nothingness: Myth, Identity and Place," Mid-America Theatre Conference, 2013.

Panel Chair, "Hidden Truths, Rocky Roads, and Something New: Working to Make History," Mid-America Theatre Conference, 2012.

Panel Chair, "Radical Company: Challenges and Methodologies of Alternative Performance Collectives," Mid-America Theatre Conference, 2011.

Peer Reviewer, Journal of Homosexuality, 2010.

Panelist, Gay and Lesbian Religion and Culture forum, Indiana University, 2003 and 2004.

Campus & Community Involvement

  • Chair, Campus Diversity Committee, 2016-2017.
  • Advisor, SPARK (Student Preparation and Readiness for Knox), 2016-2017.
  • Co-chair, Search Committee for Vice President of Student Development, 2015.
  • Advisor, Chicago Summer Advising Program, 2015.
  • Member, Curriculum Subcommittee on Assessment, 2014-2015.
  • Audition Coach at Kurt Killam's Moon of Hope Studio, Galesburg, 2014.
  • Member, Academic Standing Committee, 2011-2014.
  • Member, Assessment Advisory Group, 2011-2014.
  • Volunteer, Knox Prairie Community Kitchen, Galesburg, 2013.
  • Volunteer, Art in the Park, Galesburg Civic Arts Center, Galesburg, 2011-2013.
  • Advisor, Academic Student Advising, 2010-present.Panelist, New Faculty Orientation, 2013 & 2014.
  • Panelist, "Art and Media: The Intersection of Race, Gender, and Violence," Office of Student Development, 2013.
  • Member, Faculty Search Committee in Anthropology/Sociology, 2012.
  • Panelist, New Faculty Ford Seminar, 2010.
  • Co-organizer, "Beating the Pavement: Theatre and Dance, from College to Career," Fall Institute, 2009.

What Students Say
"Professor Jeff Grace embodies the liberal arts spirit by making connections between theatre and other disciplines. His classes follow the schema for theatre introduced in Ancient Rome: teach and please. He teaches the art and history of theatre; he teaches care and enthusiasm for learning. His passion for theatre is infectious, whether your life revolves around theatre or you're just filling your Arts requirement."
-Franzesca Mayer, Theatre Major and Studio Art and German Minor

"Jeff Grace is my ultimate inspiration. The passion that he exudes on a daily basis is unparalleled, from his sincere enthusiasm for his course subjects, to his desire to effect society through the most moving pieces of theatre that I have ever had the honor to be a part of. Jeff is constantly full of knowledge to teach you, wisdom to impart, ideas to share, witty remarks...and opinions, which he doesn't mind telling you, because he wants to hear what yours are too."
-Avery Wigglesworth, Theatre Major and Creative Writing Minor

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Printed on Wednesday, June 12, 2024