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Joe Salvatore

Clinical Professor of Educational Theatre; Vice Chair for Academic Affairs

Music and Performing Arts Professions


Joe Salvatore founded and directs NYU Steinhardt's Verbatim Performance Lab (VPL) and teaches courses in verbatim performance, ethnodrama, and community-engaged theatre. His most recent VPL project with collaborator Keith R. Huff, entitled Whatever you are, be a good one, used verbatim documentary theatre to explore political polarization in the United States, and prompted Peter Marks of The Washington Post to write “Salvatore’s work dovetails with an innovative, hybrid genre – a mix of drama and journalism – that sees conversation gleaned from interviews as a way to intensify authenticity and stir vigorous reflection.”

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.

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, 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

  • Vachon, W., & Salvatore, J. (2022). Wading the quagmire: Aesthetics and ethics in verbatim theatre: Act 1. Qualitative Inquiry (published online, p. 1-10). 
  • 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.
  • 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.


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