Tiffany Trent

Chair and Associate Professor of Theatre & Drama


Tiffany Trent is a theatre director and scholar of applied theatre, theatre for youth, and practical theology. Trent’s previous leadership roles include chair and associate professor with the Department of Theatre and Dance at Middle Tennessee State University and interim director of performance programs at the University of Chicago, her undergraduate alma mater, where she also taught in theatre and performance studies for sixteen years.

Trent first embraced theatre in Chicago through new play development (MPAACT, Chicago Dramatists, ETA, Pegasus, plus Alabama Shakespeare Festival and New Harmony Project), teaching artist residencies (Goodman, Pegasus, Chicago Arts Partnership in Education, Illinois Humanities), and understudying (Victory Gardens, Court Theatre). She remains rooted in Chicago and specifically in the Woodlawn community as board president for Definition Theatre Company. Service affiliations for Trent have included the American Alliance for Theatre & Education, the inaugural NOURISH cohort with Goodman Theatre and the Center for Performance and Civic Practice, and Youth Theatre Journal. She also reads scripts each year for the Young Playwrights Festival with Pegasus Theatre Chicago. Recent academic directing projects include Anon(ymous) by Naomi Iizuka and Ever in the Glades by Laura Schellhardt.

Trent’s current scholarship includes a collaboration with University of Michigan professor and playwright José Casas, co-editing an anthology of African American theatre for young audiences alongside scholarship from black scholars of youth theatre. Her other current work is a chapter for the forthcoming book project In Color: Embodied Approaches to Theopoetics, co-edited by Dr. Oluwatomisin Oredein and Dr. Lakisha Lockhart. A recent publication includes a poetic work in the Journal of American Folklore.

Beyond campus and classroom, Trent has served faith-based settings and theological spaces of congregations, seminaries, and wider ecumenical interfaith initiatives through facilitating drama as part of liturgy, community engagement, and critical interpretation of scripture.


Trent received her BA in politics, economics, rhetoric, and law from the University of Chicago, an MFA in directing from Carnegie Mellon, an M.Div. from Chicago Theological Seminary, and her PhD in theatre for youth at Arizona State University.