Council of Scholars

Theatre for a New Audience has established a Council of Scholars to expand the scope and depth of the Theatre’s humanities programs. A primary goal of the Council will be to provide perspectives that illuminate contextual themes and heighten intellectual conversation around Theatre for a New Audience’s season. The Council will help to design comprehensive and integrated programs that meet the needs of target audiences, and that deepen the contributions of the Theatre to Shakespeare study and scholarship over time. Further, Council members will participate in the Theatre’s public programs and will write articles for its publications. The current Council Members are Jonathan Kalb, Tanya Pollard (Chair), Alisa Solomon, and Ayanna Thompson.


Pictured above: Emily Gould, Alisa Solomon, Merritt Janson, and Michaël Attias; photo by Gerry Goodstein.


TANYA POLLARD (Chair, Council of Scholars) is Professor of English at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center. Her books include Greek Tragic Women on Shakespearean Stages (2017), Drugs and Theater in Early Modern England (2005), Shakespeare’s Theater: A Sourcebook (2003), the Arden edition of Ben Jonson’s The Alchemist (2023), and four co-edited collections of essays on early modern drama, emotions, bodies, and responses to Greek plays. She appeared in Shakespeare Uncovered: Macbeth (PBS, 2013) with Ethan Hawke and in Shakespeare Uncovered: King Lear (PBS, 2015) with Christopher Plummer. Beyond her involvement with TFANA, she has worked with artists and audiences at theaters including the Red Bull, the Public, the Classic Stage Company, and the Roundabout. A former Rhodes Scholar, she has received fellowships from the Guggenheim, NEH, Whiting, and Mellon foundations.
JONATHAN KALB is TFANA’s resident dramaturg and professor of theatre at Hunter College, CUNY. The author of five books on theatre, he has worked for more than three decades as a theatre scholar, critic, journalist, and dramaturg. He has twice won the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism and has also won the George Freedley Award for an outstanding theatre book from the Theatre Library Association. He often writes about theatre on his TheaterMatters blog at
ALISA SOLOMON is a teacher, writer and dramaturg living in New York City. She directs the Arts and Culture concentration in the MA program at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Her criticism, essays, and political reporting have appeared in a wide range of magazines and newspapers, including the New York Times, Nation, Jewish CurrentsForward, Theater, and Village Voice (where she was on the staff for 21 years). She is the author of two award-winning books, Re-Dressing the Canon: Essays on Theater and Gender and Wonder of Wonders: A Cultural History of Fiddler on the Roof. She is (co-)editor of several anthologies, among them: Wrestling with Zion: Progressive Jewish-American Responses to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (with Tony Kushner; Grove, 2003) and a book of material by and about Robbie McCauley (with Elin Diamond and Cynthia Carr, forthcoming from TCG.) As dramaturg, she is currently working with Anna Deavere Smith on her new play, Love All. Photo by David M. Barreda.
AYANNA THOMPSON is a Regents Professor of English at Arizona State University, and the Director of the Arizona Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies (ACMRS). She is the author of Blackface (Bloomsbury, 2021), Shakespeare in the Theatre: Peter Sellars (Arden Bloomsbury, 2018), Teaching Shakespeare with Purpose: A Student-Centred Approach, co-authored with Laura Turchi (Arden Bloomsbury, 2016), Passing Strange: Shakespeare, Race, and Contemporary America (Oxford University Press, 2011), and Performing Race and Torture on the Early Modern Stage (Routledge, 2008). She wrote the new introduction for the revised Arden3 Othello (Arden, 2016), and is the editor of The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare and Race (Cambridge University Press, 2021), Weyward Macbeth: Intersections of Race and Performance (Palgrave, 2010), and Colorblind Shakespeare: New Perspectives on Race and Performance (Routledge, 2006). She is currently collaborating with Curtis Perry on the Arden4 edition of Titus Andronicus. In 2020 Thompson became a Shakespeare Scholar in Residence at The Public Theater in New York. In 2021, she joined the boards of the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the National Parks Arts Foundation, and Play On Shakespeare. Previously, she served as the President of the Shakespeare Association of America, one of Phi Beta Kappa’s Visiting Scholars, a member of the Board of Directors for the Association of Marshall Scholars, and a member of the Woolly Mammoth Theatre board.