James Petty

Academic Title

  • Lecturer

Contact Information

Administrative Support

  • Theater Performance
  • Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Science Communication
  • Cognitive Development

As an educator, my research interests revolve around the intersection of the performative aspect of theater arts and its impact on cognitive development in students. Through the study of acting, individuals are exposed to new ideas and world views that stimulate a shift in their own perspectives and psychology. By this process, I hope to better learn how a theater arts pedagogy can impact student learning to create deeper empathy and improved critical thinking skills.

As a theater practitioner, my area of expertise is in the genre of the science play. Through ongoing research I hope to better understand how the theatrical portrayal of scientific concepts regarding fields such as physics, mathematics, chemistry, and medicine, influence our society. While the term “science play” is a relatively new one, the act of using theater as a vehicle to engage with contemporaneous scientific advances is fairly old. My hope is that with a continued evaluation of how modern science plays are constructed and presented, both artists and scientists will be provided with a framework to create novel and accessible ways of communicating science to the public.

I have worked as a freelance theater professional in the Boston area for over 15 years. Selected areas of employment have included scenic designer, technical director, production manager, and actor. I have had the pleasure to work in various capacities with many excellent companies, including New Repertory Theater, Huntington Theater, FUDGE Theater, and Gloucester Stage. Most recently, in the summer of 2019, I worked as the production manager for the company Punctuate4 and their world premier production of Saltonstall at the historic Larcom theater in Beverly, MA. I continue to seek out opportunities to meet new theater artists and learn new skills, whether my role be as a designer, manager, or consultant.

  • Ph.D., Education: Adult Learning and Development Lesley University
  • M.A., Theatre Education Emerson College
  • B.A., Theatre Arts Stonehill College
  • Continuing Graduate Studies, M.F.A., Scenic Design Boston University
  • Education Theory
  • Curriculum Design
  • Technical Theater