Jesse Carlo - Columbia College Chicago

Jesse Carlo

Assistant Professor


Dr. Jesse Carlo’s practical theatrical experience has a global reach that spans upwards of twenty years. It is inclusive of performance, direction/choreography, devised theatre, interdisciplinary and theatre-arts education, and theatre as social justice intervention. His professional performance experience includes affiliations with Broadway and Broadway National tours; international, national, and regional theatre; as well as corporate entertainment. He is a proud and active member of the Actor’s Equity Association. Additionally, he has served the international theatre community as a director and choreographer with collaborations of over fifty productions, including original works of devised theatre created using approaches like Moment Work, Frantic Assembly, Complicité and the Lovewell Method, a devised musical theatre method. As a theatre-arts educator, Dr. Carlo has taught in a variety of settings, such as college, high school and middle school, as artist in residence, and master class and workshop guest artist. He has taught across various theatrical disciplines, including: acting, with a specialization in Stanislavski’s System; movement and improvisation; and devised theatre. Furthermore, he specializes in the scholarship of theatre, such as theatre history; theatre theory, criticism, and inquiry; performance studies; theatre and social justice; and theatre pedagogy and education. Lastly, Dr. Carlo has served in positions of administrative and creative leadership, including as: artistic director, director of theatre, and director of theatre education for various notable organizations.

Dr. Carlo’s experience has culminated in the development of engaged pedagogical practices that include Socratic inquiry, dialogue, high-impact learning practices, interdisciplinarity, and creating an environment that fosters a space for individual exploration of ideas and collaborative learning, as well as a specialization in curriculum and program development. In addition to more traditional uses of theatre, in both theory and practice, Dr. Carlo’s work includes the application of dramatic and theatrical elements and creative processes to a variety of different fields. He has customized programs for use towards team building, the development of socio-cultural understanding, community outreach, pedagogy, social justice/social change, and activism, to name a few. To date, he has facilitated international and regional programs in the fields of law, education, business, and the arts. These creative, devised theatre processes foster inclusivity of voice and agency through collaboration, and their guiding affirmations teach participants how to recognize and harness their creativity.

Dr. Carlo has a M.S. Ed in Interdisciplinary Arts from Nova Southeastern University and a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Humanities and Culture/Theatre and Performance Studies from Union Institute & University.

Instructional Areas

Acting, Musical Theatre, Theatre Studies

Creative Practice and Research Interests

My interdisciplinary creative and scholarly research applies theatre analysis and performance, namely acting methods, to varying contemporary applications, including social justice activism, and how we engage with difference. More specifically, I study how the performance of self in relationship to others is affected by socially constructed narratives and scripts, and how those narratives, scripts, and performances vary based on social identity markers and their intersections. These pursuits are informed by approaches and applications from various scholarly theoretical frameworks, including: critical race theory, cultural studies, critical theory and performance, performance studies, as well as creative and aesthetic processes.


Ph.D., Interdisciplinary Studies Union Institute & University 2017