Cat Gleason

Cat Gleason
PDF Documents: 
Associate Teaching Professor
Middlebush 118


  • MFA, Theatrical Directing, Southern Illinois University
  • PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Director, Masters Program
  • Excellence in Education Awardee
  • University of Missouri Faculty Scholar

Gleason’s research interests include avant-garde and experimental theatre of the twentieth century as well as devised theatre with a theoretical focus on the nature of collectivity. Her dissertation “Mapping the Lincoln Park Nexus: Chicago Theatre Historiography and the Origin of the Off-Loop Theatre Movement” offers a contextual exploration of Chicago’s Off Loop Theatre movement through a performance studies lens. She presented portions of this dissertation at the Performance Studies International; the Chicago: Theatre Capital of America—Past, Present, Future symposium; and at the meeting of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education. Her interview with Joseph Chaikin is housed in Kent State University’s Special collections and she has been published in the American Journal of Semiotics.

Gleason has a diverse background in the performing arts. Her training in dance includes a scholarship at Joseph Holmes’ Dance Theatre and classes with Randy Duncan and Joel Hall. She also performed as the lead singer of a blues band for several years, playing at clubs and Street Fairs in the Chicago area before pursuing her career in theatrical directing. Gleason’s artistic practice also includes production and new play dramaturgy. Favorite dramaturgy projects include working with Tim Bond on Les Blancs and the world premiere of Drinking with Harry on Rush for the Ardvark Theatre Company in Chicago.

Gleason has a passion for new play direction and has directed new plays for GreyLight Theatre in Southern Illinois, Chicago’s Rhinoceros Fringe Festival, and Stockyards Theatre Project in Chicago as well as for the Independent Actors Theatre in Columbia, MO for their Short Women’s Play Festival. Additionally, Gleason has specialized in physical theatre and devised works. Trained by Chicago institutions such as Plasticene, Goat Island and the Actors Gymnasium. She has continued her movement training by attending workshops in movement at the Ecole de Mime in Montreal and continuing dance classes at the Missouri Contemporary Ballet. Directing projects that have reflected this interest include The Open Theatre’s Serpent, and Antigone. Her directing credits include Once upon a Mattress for the Duluth Playhouse, Charlotte’s Web for the McLeod Summer Playhouse and You Can’t take it with You for Summerset Theatre. She has directed Medea and Endgame for MU Theatre, and Arsenic and Old Lace and Crimes of the Heart for MU’s Summer Repertory Theatre.

Gleason teaches courses in movement and voice for the stage, acting, dramaturgy and criticism as well as serving as the lead instructor for TH1100 Theatre in Society our introductory class in theatre. She also directs the Master’s program for the Department of Theatre.