Skip to main content

Search NYU Steinhardt


Joe Salvatore

Clinical Professor of Educational Theatre

Music and Performing Arts Professions


Joe Salvatore directs NYU Steinhardt's Verbatim Performance Lab (VPL) and teaches courses in verbatim performance, ethnodrama, applied / community-engaged theatre, and new play development. His current projects include developing VPL's Portraits US: Polarization for its October 2022 premiere and collaborating with the University of Denver Prison Arts Initiative (DU PAI) on If Light Closed Its Eyes at Sterling Correctional Facility in Colorado.

Verbatim Performance Lab projects include The Harris / Pence FlipDare I Use the WordPortraits US: COVID-19 and Election 2020You Can't Unring the BellThe Democratic Field (with Artists' Literacies Institute), Guess the CandidateThe Serena Williams Project, The Kavanaugh Files (staged version at Geva Theatre Center and NYU), The Veterans Story Collecting Project (Johnson County, KS), No(body) but nobody, The Grab 'Em Tapes, The Moore / Jones Challenge, The Lauer / Conway Flip, and Of a Certain Age (with The Actors Fund).

In 2017, Joe collaborated with economist Maria Guadalupe (INSEAD-France), to create Her Opponent, a verbatim re-staging of excerpts of the 2016 presidential debates with gender-reversed casting. This production was nominated for an Off Broadway Alliance Award for Best Unique Theatrical Experience and received media coverage from NPR, The New York Times, The Guardian, The Hollywood ReporterFox News, MSNBC, and ABC News, among others. During the 2020 election cycle, Joe provided commentary for NPR and The New York Times in response to the presidential and vice-presidential debates.

Joe's academic publications include "Scripting the Ethnodrama" in The Oxford Handbook of Qualitative Research (2nd edition), "Ethnodrama / Ethnotheatre" in Handbook of Arts-Based Research (Guilford Press), and "Three Arts Based Researchers Walk Into a Forum" with Nisha Sajnani and Richard Sallis in Drama Research Methods: Provocations of Practice (Brill Sense). He has presented his verbatim documentary theatre and performance practice at SXSW EDU, MIT’s School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and Sloan School of Management, Yale University School of Management’s Education Leadership Conference, University of Massachusetts, AATE, ATHE, ITAC4, AERA, ICQI, ISEEN Winter Institute, and at Tallaght Community Arts and Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.

Awards include the American Alliance for Theatre and Education’s Johnny Saldaña Outstanding Professor of Theatre Education Award for demonstrated excellence in teaching, research, creative activity, and service; NYU's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Faculty Award; NYU Steinhardt's Teaching Excellence Award; NYU Steinhardt's Champions of Equity: Gender and Trans Justice Award; and the NYU LGBTQ Student Center's Dedication to Education Award.

Joe is a cluster member of the University of British Columbia's Research-based Theatre Collaborative, a Creative Consultant for NYU Stern's Leadership Accelerator, an affiliated faculty researcher with NYU Steinhardt's Theatre and Health Lab and Arts & Health @ NYU, an advisory board member for Artists' Literacies Institute, and an alumnus of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab. Member: Dramatists Guild of America, Association for Theatre in Higher Education, and American Alliance for Theatre and Education.

Selected Publications

  • Salvatore, J. (2020). Scripting the ethnodrama. In P. Leavy (Ed.), Oxford handbook of qualitative research. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  • Sajnani, N., Sallis, R., & Salvatore, J. (2018). Three arts based researchers walk into a forum: A conversation on the opportunities and challenges in embodied and performed research. In P. Duffy, C. Hatton, and R. Sallis (Eds.), Drama research methods: Provocations of practice. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.
  • Salvatore, J. (2017). Ethnodrama / ethnotheatre. In P. Leavy (Ed.), The handbook of arts-based research. New York, NY: Guilford Press.
  • Salvatore, J. (2014). Articulate and activate: An approach to self-assessment in theatre training. In J. McVarish & C. Milne (Eds.), Teacher educators rethink self-assessment in higher education: A guide for the perplexed (pp. 115-132). New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc.
  • McVarish, J. & Salvatore, J. (2014). Teacher vulnerability as it relates to self-assessment: A metalogue. In J. McVarish & C. Milne (Eds.), Teacher educators rethink self-assessment in higher education: A guide for the perplexed. (pp. 47-60). New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc.
  • Salvatore, J. (2011). Scenes from open heart by Joe Salvatore. In J. Saldaña (Ed.),Ethnotheatre: Research from page to stage (pp. 87-98). Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, Inc.
  • Salvatore, J. (2010). Overcoming fear and resistance when teaching Shakespeare. In D. Wyse, R. Andrews, & J. Hoffman (Eds.), The Routledge international handbook of English, language and literacy teaching (pp. 379-388). New York, NY: Routledge.


Educational Theatre

Build on your performing skills and learn to create transformative theatre arts programs in schools, cultural institutions, and community settings.

Read More