Chloe Johnston

Chloe Johnston

Chair of Theater
Associate Professor of Theater and Performance Studies


Areas of Specialization

Performance art, experimental theatre, interventionist art, activist performance, literary adaptation, autobiographical performance, cultural studies, performance studies


PhD Northwestern University
MA Northwestern University
BA The University of Chicago (Selected Honors and Administrative Position)

Selected Courses Taught

Theater 102 Theater in Chicago
Theater 120 Acting I
Theater 130 Origins of Theater
Theater 220 Acting II
Theater 237 Women on Stage
Theater 250 Introduction to Performance Studies 

Selected Publications


“Open Carry: Radical Stillness.” TDR 59.4 (2015): 176-83.

“On Not Falling: Philippe Petit and His Walk Between the Twin Towers,” Performance Research 18.2 (2013): 30-35.

“ ‘The Lovers’: On The Great Wall and Beyond,” Performance Research 17.5 (2012): 19-23. 
“Orlando by the Lake,” The Center for Classic Theatre Review Issue #1 (2011): 32-35. 

“Wandering Through Time: Francis Alÿs’s Paseos and the Circulation of Performance,” Liminalities 6.2 (2010) 

“The Built Environment and the Architecture of a Performance: Arcosanti, Chicago, and the Making of Theoretical Isolation: A Post-Atomic Experiment,” co-authored with Ira S. Murfin, Theatre Topics 20.2 (Sept 2010): 133-146. 

Published plays

44 Plays for 44 Presidents (published by Playscripts Inc., 2009) 

200 More Plays from Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind (Hope and Nonthings, 2004) 

Neo-Solo: 131 Neo-Futurist Solo Plays from Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind (published by Hope and Nonthings, 2002).


“ ‘I Hope to Tell Ya’: Voice and Travel in Sweet Tea,” workgroup paper, The American Society for Theatre Research Conference, Nashville, Tennessee, November 2012

“ ‘The Best Black Talent’ ”: Rhetoric and history of the UniverSoul Circus,” Association for Theatre in Higher Education Conference, Washington D.C., August 2012
“Veterans and Citizens: The Performances of Iraq Veterans Against the War,” Association for Theatre in Higher Education Conference, Washington D.C., August 2012
“Still at Work: Curious Theatre Branch and the Labor of Play,” panel presentation, Mid-America Theatre Conference, Chicago, Illinois, March 2012

“A Voice and A Story: Multi-vocal Performances in Neo-Futurism,” panel presentation, organized for the National Communications Association Panel, San Francisco, California, November 2010 

“Enduring Bodies: Abamovic and Ulay’s The Lovers,” panel presentation, Performance Studies International conference, Toronto, Canada, June 2010 

“Theoretical Isolation: Actual Collaborations,” workgroup paper, The American Society for Theatre Research, Puerto Rico, November 2009 

“Risk and Surprise: Operation First Casualty and The Risk of Re-enactment,” a panel paper for the Performance Studies International conference, Centre for Drama Arts, Zagreb, Croatia, June 2009 

“Catching Philippe Petit,” a panel paper for Performance Studies International conference, The University of Copenhagen, Denmark, August 2008 

Respondent, “Theatre: Crossroads of the Humanities” Conference, Northwestern University, April 2008 

“The Ethics of Performing the Other in a Neo-Futurist Performance,” a panel paper for the Oral History and Performance Conference, Columbia University, March 2008 

” ‘When I See Two Oranges, I Juggle. When I See Two Towers, I Walk’: Performance Becomes Folktale for Philippe Petit,” a panel paper for the Midwest Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference, University of Wisconsin-Madison, February 2007 

“The Mayor’s Mouth: Harold Washington’s Desserts,” a performative paper presented at the 2006 American Studies Association National Conference, Oakland, CA., October 2006

Recent Performance Work

Crowns: The Gospel Musical (assistant director), Goodman Theatre, written and directed by Regina Taylor, July 2012

Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind (writer and performer), longest-running show in Chicago, The Neo-Futurists, ongoing 

The Last Act of Lilka Kadison (assistant director), world premiere, Lookingglass Theatre, 2011 

Mirror City: A Phantom Experiment (co-creator and performer), study of Chicago’s history and phantom limb syndrome, Curious Theatre, RhinoFest 2011

You Enjoy Myself (co-writer and director), inspired by research on mirror neurons, CollaborAction 2010 Sketchbook Festival, June 2010

Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South, (production dramaturg), adaptaion of the ethnography, Sweet Tea, by E. Patrick Johnson, About Face Theatre, May 2010 

Theoretical Isolation: A Post-Atomic Experiment, (creator and performer), The Laboratory for the Development of Substitute Materials, site-specific performance created for Arcosanti, an urban laboratory in Arizona, March 2009; performed in Chicago, April 2009 

Twice Told, (adapter and director), an adaptation of the short stories of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Northwestern University, February 2009 

A Very Neo-Futurist Christmas Carol, (co-director) The Neo-Futurists Theatre Company, November 2008 

Antigonizing, (writer), “Snapshots: A Festival of Short Work by Women,” 20 % Theatre Company, Chicago, August 2008 

The Fool (returns to his chair), (co-creator and performer), original movement performance, The Neo-Futurists, August 2007

Mirror of the Invisible World, adapted and directed by Mary Zimmerman, (assistant director), The Goodman Theatre, Chicago, June 2007 

Illuminations/Marginalia (co-creator and director), dance-theatre performance inspired by medieval manuscripts, Northwestern University, February 2007 

Impossible Cities: A Utopian Experiment (co-writer and performer), a collection of short performances about utopian societies, Walkabout Theatre Company, Chicago January 2007 

I’m Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes, (writer, director, performer) an original solo-performance based on the life of Sara Carter, Northwestern University, March 2006; produced at The Neo-Futurists, April 2006 

Patriots (creator and director), original full-length play about patriotism in America, The Neo-Futurists, April 2005 

Drinking and Writing (co-writer and performer), original site-specific performance, performed at bars throughout Chicago 2004-2005; performed at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2004 

The Mayor’s Mouth, (co-creator and performer), a live theatrical political cooking show, I-80 Drama Co, premiered at Around the Coyote Arts Festival 2003, Chicago; produced by the Chicago History Museum, April 2005 

The Emmett Project (creator and director), original full-length play about Emmett Till, The Neo-Futurists, March 2003