LaRonika Thomas

Theatre Professor LaRonika Thomas poses for her headshot

LaRonika Thomas (she/her)


Lecturer in Theatre


  • D. in Theatre History and Performance Studies, University of Maryland, In Progress
  • A. in Theatre, with honors, Purdue University, 2003
  • A. in Anthropology and Theatre, with honors, Indiana University, 1999

Research Interests:

  • Dramaturgy and New Play Development
  • Archiving and Databases and New Plays
  • American Theatre History
  • Performance and Social Justice
  • Civic Dramaturgy & Performing the City
  • Site-Specific Performance
  • Storytelling and Public Speaking

Courses Taught at WC:

  • THE101 – Drama, Stage, and Society I
  • THE102 – Drama, Stage, and Society II
  • THE394 – Theatre and Social Movements in America: From Suffrage to Decolonization
  • CMS150 – Public Speaking

Representative Publications & Research Activities:

(For a complete list, see Professor Thomas’ website)

Makeshift Chicago Stages: A Century of Theatre and Performance

  • Chapter Contributor, “Temple-Swapping in the City: The Spatial Imaginary and Performances of Place-Making in the Work of Theaster Gates,” 2021.

The Routledge Companion to Dramaturgy

  • Chapter Contributor, “Digital Dramaturgy and Digital Dramaturgs,” 2014.

Verge: Studies in Global Asias

  • Collaborative Book Review of Kinesthetic Cities: Dance and Movement in Chinese Urban Spaces by SanSan Kwan, 2016.

The Folger Institute

  • Participant, PIVOT Series for Folger Institute Consortium Graduate Students, 2020.

Harvard University

  • Participant, Mellon School for Theatre and Performance Research, Migration, 2019.

Northwestern University

  • Participant, Summer Institute in Performance Studies, Improvisation, Narrative, and Beauty, 2017.

Professor Thomas has also chair panels and/or presented or given invited talks at the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE), Association for Theatre Research (ASTR), Comparative Drama Conference (CDC), Mid-America Theatre Conference (MATC), Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA), Mid-America Arts and Popular Culture Association (MAPACA), Cultural Studies Association (CSA), Landscapes: Performing Space and Culture Conference at the University of Illinois, The Chicago Theatre Symposium, University of the Arts, Northwestern University, the Hyde Park Arts Center, Carroll Community College, DePaul University, and University of Maryland.

Selected Professional Dramaturgical Work:

America-In-Play, New York, NY

  • Project Dramaturg for The Recovery Project

Center Stage, Baltimore, MD

  • Assistant for Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris, dir. Derrick Sanders, 2013

Active Cultures, Washington D.C.

  • Chance and Necessity by Jon Klein, dir. Tom Prewitt, 2010
  • ice by Michael John Garces, dir. Mary Resing, 2010

Artists’ Bloc, Washington D.C.

  • Reals by Gwydion Suilebhan, dir. Marcus Kyd, 2010

Association for Theatre in Higher Education (New Play Development Workshop)

  • Morning Song by Ann Magaha, dir. C. David Frankel. 2019
  • The Great Harvest by Dori Robinson, dir. Dennis Schebetta, 2009
  • The View from Mather Point by Natalie Gaupp, dir. Max Hafler, 2008

The Neo-Futurists, Chicago, IL

  • Fluxus by Greg Allen, dir. Greg Allen, 2007
  • You Asked For It! by Greg Allen, dir. Greg Allen, 2007
  • A Child’s History of Bombing by Greg Allen, dir. Greg Allen, 2006
  • The Last Two Minutes of the Complete Works of Henrik Ibsen by Greg Allen, dir. Greg Allen, 2005

*Chosen for the 2005 NYC Fringe Festival

*Remounted at Northlight Theatre in 2006

  • Evidence by Greg Allen, dir. Greg Allen, 2004

Goodman Theatre, Chicago, IL

  • Spirits to Enforce by Mickle Maher, dir. Greg Allen, 2007

            *Goodman Theatre New Stages Series

  • Our Lady of the Underpass by Tanya Saracho, dir. Andrea Dymond, 2006

            *Goodman Theatre New Stages Series

  • Softly Blue by Shepsu Aakhu, dir. Mignon McPherson-Nance, 2004

            *Goodman Theatre New Stages Series

Professional Affiliations:      

  • Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA)
  • American Theatre & Drama Society (ATDS)
  • Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE)
  • American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR)
  • Mid-America Theatre Conference (MATC)
  • Mid-Atlantic Popular and American Cultural Association (MAPACA)


LaRonika Thomas is completing her Ph.D. at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she is developing a theory of civic dramaturgy for her dissertation on performances of urban planning, cultural space and cultural policy, and the role of art and culture in 21st century Chicago.

Her chapter “Temple-Swapping in the City: The Spatial Imaginary and Performances of Place-Making in the Work of Theaster Gates” is in the forthcoming book Makeshift Chicago Stages: A Century of Theatre and Performance, to be published by Northwestern University Press.  Her essay, “Digital Dramaturgy and Digital Dramaturgs” is included in The Routledge Companion to Dramaturgy.  She was the 2016 recipient of the ATDS Graduate Student Travel Award for her paper “Toward a Civic Dramaturgy: Performances of Urban Planning in Chicago from Daniel Burnham to Theaster Gates.”

She was the Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre at Loyola University Maryland for the 2017-2018 year and has also taught courses at the University of Maryland, Towson University, MICA, Purdue University, Indiana University, and the Community College of Baltimore County, in addition to Washington College. 

LaRonika also serves as the LMDA Liaison for Association for Theatre in Higher Education’s (ATHE) Dramaturgy Focus Group (DRFG), and as a Member-at-Large for the Performance Studies Focus Group (PSFG).  She is currently the co-Vice President of Membership for Literary Managers & Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA).  For six years she served as the Vice President for Regional Activity for LMDA, as well as three terms as the Electronic Communications Co-Chair for ATHE’s DRFG, and as the graduate representative for the American Theatre and Drama Society (ATDS) and ATHE’s DRFG for three years.

A professional dramaturg, producer, and writer, LaRonika worked in arts education, literary management, and dramaturgy in Chicago and in the Baltimore/DC area before returning to school for her doctorate.  She has worked in various capacities with the Goodman Theatre, the Public Theater, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Center Stage, The Playwright’s Center, The Neo-Futurists, and Writers’ Theatre, among others.  Her work has been funded by LMDA, ATDS, CCBC, ATHE, the University of Maryland, and the City of Chicago. 

More information is available on her website.