Leslie Buxbaum

Leslie Buxbaum
Director of Undergraduate Studies; Associate Professor of the Practice in the Arts, TAPS; Faculty Affiliate, Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality
LC 225
Ph.D., Northwestern University, 2008

I am a writer, director and creator, often working on devised theater productions, which bring together different performance languages (dance-theater, circus-theater, clown-theater, music-theater). 

Current projects include being bookwriter and co-lyricist for Out Here with composer/lyricist Erin McKeown and additional concept developer David Levin. Out Here is in development at the Court Theater and has received generous support from the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry and the Neubauer Collegium at The University of Chicago, and from Lucky Plush Productions.

As collaborating director with Lucky Plush Productions (Julia Rhoads, Artistic Director), projects include Rink Life, Rooming House, The Better Half and The Queue, recipients of a National Dance Project Award, National Theater Project Award and National Performance Network creation fund award. Presenting venues include Steppenwolf 1700; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Spoleto Festival USA (SC); CRASHarts at the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston; Dance Cleveland; Flynn Center for the Performing Arts (VT); ODC (CA); and Maui Arts and Cultural Center, among many. Now in development is a new dance-theater adaptation of Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author.

As stage director with Third Coast Percussion, projects include Metamorphosis with Movement Art Is (Lil Buck & Jon Boogz), Paddle to the Sea and Wild Sound, composed by Wilco's Glenn Kotche, with performances at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC), National Forum of Music (Wroclaw), De Doelen (Rotterdam), Carnegie Hall, and the Harris Theater for Music & Dance (Chicago), among many.

As co-founder and resident director of the Chicago-based physical theater company 500 Clown (2000-2010), projects include 500 Clown Macbeth, 500 Clown Frankenstein, 500 Clown Christmas and 500 Clown and the Elephant Deal.  500 Clown shows performed in Chicago at Steppenwolf and Lookingglass Theatre, among others, and toured throughout the US, receiving an Association of Performing Arts Presenters Ensemble Theatre Collaborations Grant.

Other writing and/or directing projects: Quest, an original circus-theater production with Actors Gymnasium; Damon Kiely's The Revel with the House Theatre of Chicago; The Elephant and the Whale, with Redmoon/Chicago Children's Theater (with Frank Maugeri & Seth Bockley); Redmoon’s Hunchback at New Victory Theater (NYC); and Float with About Face Theater.  Prior to turning to directing, I toured nationally and internationally as an actor with NYC’s Elevator Repair Service.

From 2011 – 2016, I was the curator of the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry at the University of Chicago, a forum for experimental collaborations between artists and scholars, and prior to that, I was a lecturer in Theater and Performance Studies at the University of Chicago.  I received my BA at Brown University and PhD in Performance Studies at Northwestern University, and trained in physical theater at Écoles Jacques Lecoq and Philippe Gaulier.