Eric Colleary

Cline Curator of Theatre and Performing Arts

Eric Colleary holds a Ph.D. in Theatre Historiography from the University of Minnesota. As curator of the Harry Ransom Center’s performing arts collections, he is responsible for the interpretation and management of one of the largest archival collections of American and British performing arts materials in the world. Collections feature holdings in theater, playwrighting, dance, costume and scenic design, opera, and popular variety entertainments, such as circus, vaudeville, minstrel shows, puppetry and magic.

The Ransom Center holds significant archives for a number of noted playwrights, directors, and performers including Donald Albery, Frith Banbury, Samuel Beckett, Edith Evans, David Hare, Lillian Hellman, Adrienne Kennedy, David Mamet, Carson McCullers, Terrence McNally, Arthur Miller, Peter O’Toole, John Osborne, Elmer Rice, George Bernard Shaw, Sam Shepard, Tom Stoppard, Arnold Wesker, Tennessee Williams, Sandy Wilson, Donald Wolfit, and many more. For the Ransom Center, Colleary has organized major exhibitions on Shakespeare in print & performance and Vaudeville.

Prior to the Ransom Center, Colleary was a visiting professor in Theatre and Dance at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota where he taught classes in theatre history, performance theory, sexuality studies, and public history/museum studies. He serves on the advisory committee for the American Theatre Archive Project (ATAP), and is co-chair of the communications committee for the Theatre Library Association (TLA). His masters examined the role of performance and history in forming sexual identity through narratives of the Holocaust in 1970s America. His dissertation explored the historiography of LGBT archives in the United States and theorized queer archives as a methodology through an investigation of queer performance artist Jack Smith. His writing can be found in the journals Early Popular Visual Culture, Performing Arts Resources, Lambda Literary, Theatre Survey and Theatre Journal.

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Research Interests

  • British Interwar Theatre
  • Variety Performance
  • American and British Playwrights
  • Archives and Libraries
  • Queer Historiography