Nick Fesette

Assistant Professor of Theater

Nick Fesette



Dr. Fesette is a theatre artist and scholar. He's directed productions of The Trestle at Pope Lick CreekMiss JulieThe Hunger ArtistTitus AndronicusFriedrich Schiller's Bad Girls Club, and Cornell's annual Ten-Minute Playfest. In New York City he performed with experimental companies in numerous spaces downtown, including Dixon Place, HERE Arts Center, Theater for the New City, Walkerspace, Horse Trade Theater Group, TheaterLAB, and the Incubator Arts Project (formerly the Ontological-Hysteric). His research focuses on prison performance. For five years he helped facilitate The Phoenix Players Theatre Group (, a grassroots transformative performance ensemble of incarcerated men in Auburn Correctional Facility. More info can be found on his website:


BA| Hamilton College| 2009

MA| Cornell University| 2016

PhD| Cornell University| 2018


2018    “Auburn Prison and Carceral Modernity: A Performance History,” Modernism/modernity, print plus blog post, ed. Debra Rae Cohen, Vol. 3, Cycle 1 

2017    "Pedagogies of Self-Humanization: Collaborating to Engage Trauma in the Phoenix Players Theatre Group” (with Bruce Levitt), Teaching Artist Journal, Vol. 15, No. 3-4, (peer-reviewed)

2017    “Rehearsing Transformation in an American Prison,” (with Bruce Levitt), The Theatre Times, Oct 2017,

2016    “Where the Walls Contain Everything but the Sky: The Birth and Growth of the Phoenix Players Theatre Group” (with Bruce Levitt), Rejoinder: An Online Journal Published by the Institute for Research on Women, Rutgers University, Issue 1, Winter 2016,

2015    “Performance, Prison Strike, Zombie: Steve McQueen’s Hunger and the ‘Reflection Machines,’” Etudes: An Online Theatre & Performance Journal for Emerging Scholars, Vol. 1, No. 2, Sept 2015, (peer-reviewed)

Research Interests

Prison studies, acting and directing, applied and physical theatre, critical theory, studies of race and gender, dramatic literature