B.A., Theatre, Grinnell College
M.A., Theatre History, Theory, and Literature, Indiana University
Ph.D., Theatre History, Theory, and Literature, Indiana University
Professional Affiliations: Association for Theatre in Higher Education, American Theatre & Drama Society, American Society for Theatre Research
Tom Robson’s primary areas of expertise are in performance and the Disney theme parks, African American theatre and drama, historical stage technology, inclusive theatre pedagogy, American theatre of the 1930s, and musical theatre, with additional work in film studies. He is the co-chair of Millikin's President's Commission on Inclusive Excellence, and in 2017 he received the university's Ralph A. Czerwinski Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Award. He is the former chair of Pedagogy for the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and the former co-chair of the Mid-America Theatre Conference Playwriting Symposium.
His book Performance and the Disney Theme Park Experience: The Tourist as Actor, an anthology of performance scholarship co-edited with Dr. Jennifer A. Kokai of Weber State University, is under contract with Palgrave Macmillan with expected publication in late 2019 or early 2020.
In addition to his scholarly work, Tom has maintained an active career as a director, especially of new plays. At Millikin he has directed 9 to 5: The Musical, Heathers: The Musical, Buyer and Cellar, Rough Magic, The Whipping Man, and The Little Dog Laughed, as well as the world premiere production of Cracker for Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre. He was worked professionally as a director, assistant director, and dramaturg for theatres including Writers’ Theatre (Glencoe, IL), Apple Tree Theatre (Highland Park, IL), Timeline Theatre Company (Chicago, IL), the Bloomington Playwrights’ Project (Bloomington, IN), and the Phoenix Theatre (Indianapolis, IN.) Prior to joining the faculty of Millikin University in the fall of 2011, Tom taught and directed students at Butler University, Indiana University, and Franklin College.
Recent publications include:
"The New Stagecraft's Nuts and Bolts," Theatre Design and Technology 53.2 (Spring 2017).
"Advertising and the Commercial Spirit: Cataloging Nineteenth-Century Scenic Studio Practices." Working in the Wings: New Perspectives on Theatre History and Labor. Elizabeth A. Osborne and Christine Woodworth, editors. Southern Illinois University Press, 2015.
"Performance Review: Violet." Ecumenica: A Journal of Theatre and Performance 8.1 (Spring 2015).
"Book Review: Uncle Tom's Cabin on the American Stage and Screen." Theatre Journal 66.1 (March 2014).
“A More Aggressive Plantation Play: Henrietta Vinton Davis and John Edward Bruce Collaborate on Our Old Kentucky Home." Theatre History Studies 32 (2012).
“The Rockae: An Adaptation of Euripides’s The Bacchae.” Ecumenica: A Journal of Theatre and Performance 3.1 (Spring 2010).
“Field of American Dreams: Individualist Ideology in the American Baseball Movie.” JUMP CUT: A Review of Contemporary Media 52 (Summer 2010).
Disciplines: Theatre History, Dramatic Literature, Directing, Playwriting.