More About the Author
Thomas Riccio is an educator, writer, performer and director. He is currently a Professor of Performance and Aesthetic Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas. Previous positions include: Professor of Theatre at the University of Alaska Fairbanks; Artistic Director of Chicago's Organic Theater Company; Resident Director and Dramaturg for the Cleveland Play House; Assistant Literary Director at the American Repertory Theatre; Visiting Professor at the University of Dar es Salaam and the Korean National University for the Arts; and Artistic Director of Tuma Theatre, an Alaska Native performance group. Since 1994 he has been the director of Litooma, an international project dedicated to the documentation and application of indigenous performance. He has directed over one hundred plays at American regional theatres, off off and off Broadway, and at the National Theatre of Italy. He has worked extensively in the area of indigenous performance, ritual, and shamanism, conducting workshops, research and devising numerous performances in Africa, Russia, Siberia, Korea, China, Vietnam, and Alaska. He was declared a "Cultural Hero" of the Sakha Republic (central Siberia). He has presented workshops and lectures internationally, most recently for the Director's Lab, Chicago and at Addis Ababa University. His plays have been produced in the US and Europe; his academic writings have appeared in TDR, TheatreForum, Theatre Topics, Theatre Research International, Performing Arts Journal, and Shamans Drum. His book, Performing Africa: Remixing Tradition, Theater and Culture was published by Peter Lang (2007) and he received an International Distinction Prize in Playwrighting, from the Alexander Onassis Foundation (2007). Since 2006 he has been the Lead Narrative Engineer for Hanson Robotics, co-authoring several robot personalities including the Einstein, featured at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, NYC (2006-07), and Zeno, featured at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry (2008-09). He is the writer-director of So There and Orange Oranges (2008), and Some People (2009), performance works produced by Project X, Dallas for whom he is a producing artist. He is artistic director of StoryLAB, a post-disciplinary performance initiative based in Dallas and recently produced, directed, and edited a documentary, There is Never a Reference Point, which premiered at the Dallas Video Festival (fall 2009). He was a featured artist in the "All the World's a Stage" exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art (2009-10). During the fall of 2009 he conducted research in Christian Orthodox ritual and devised a performance, Andegna in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. For Hanson Robotics he contributed to the Bina personality, an advanced robot personality. In 2010 his chapter, Body, Space, and Place, Creating Indigenous Performance was published in Healing Collective Trauma Using Sociodrama and Drama Therapy, Springer Publications, and his essay, Robot: Ritual Oracle and Fetish, appeared in Transforming Culture in a Digital Age, Tartu University. He recently conducted performance workshops at the Viljandi Culture Academy, Estonia, April 2010. Under the auspices of StoryLab and with French sound designer, Frank Dufour, he will present a performance immersion installation, The Invention of Memory, at Central Trak Gallery, Dallas, May-June 2010. His new play, TNB will be given a PlayLab reading at the Great Plains Theatre Conference in Omaha, May 2010.