Les Gray

Leslie Gray
Teaching Assistant
2604 Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

Les is a 5th year doctoral candidate. Their research looks at performances of black identity, trauma, and state sanctioned terror. They are also interested in the relationships between identity, dwelling, and pop and material culture. Their research also considers domestic spaces and performances of everyday life.  Les’ scholarship and artistic life as a performer and dramaturg is deeply invested in ethical and responsible cultural production. Their dissertation considers transhistorical questions of diasporic black cultural products and traumatic cultural memory alongside what it means to perform in a black body subject to terror and other states of precarity, hypervisibility, and hypersurveillance. In their spare time, they enjoy blues dancing. 


M.A. in Theatre Arts, University of Oregon
B.A. in Theatre, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Conference Presentations:

  • "Performing the Black Epistle and Transmission of Racial Embodied Knowledge: Marc Bamuthi Joseph’s Word Becomes Flesh.” Youth Theatre Journal. 2017. 
  • "'There Are Actual People Dying:' Black Feminist Killjoy Navigates Theory's White Spaces" at the Mid-America Theatre Conference as part of “Theory In/ter/ventions” Roundtable. 2019.
  • “The Erotic Blues Dancing Body” at The International Federation of Theatre Research World Congress. 2018.
  • “Definitions for the Defined: Performances of Mediated Terror, Trauma and the Virtual Overflow of “blackpain” at Performance Studies International. 2017.
  • “Captivated Bodies: Performances of Bodily Histories in Sabrina Mahfouz’s Chef” as part of panel: “Staging the Past/Present in Contemporary Performance: Spaces, Bodies, Objects.” Mid-America Theatre Conference, 2015.
  • Member of Ecology and/of/in Performance Working group. American Society for Theatre Research Conference, 2014.
  • “The Stratified Black Body in the American Musical.” New Scholar’s Forum at International Federation for Theatre Research World Congress, 2014.
  •  “Come on Home”: Domestic Transition and the Black Female Body in Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop” as part of panel: "(On the Way) Home: TRANSience in Performance, Performing TRANSience. "American Society for Theatre Research Conference, 2016.
  • “The Resistant Blackground: Performing Subversion in the Public Sphere." International Federation of Theatre Research World Congress, 2016.
  •  “Performances of Terror and the Virtual Flowing of Blackpain” Scheduled to present Performance Studies International Conference, 2017.