Matthew Spangler, Ph.D.
INTERIM DEPARTMENT CHAIR
Office: HGH 102
Dr. Matthew Spangler is Professor of Performance Studies, scholar, and an award-winning playwright. His
teaching and research are in the areas of immigration studies, intercultural theatre,
playwriting, adaptation, and Irish Studies. Dr. Spangler was the recipient of SJSU’s
2021 President’s Scholar Award, an annual award given to a faculty member who has achieved widespread recognition
based on the quality of their scholarship, performances, or creativity activities.
His plays have been produced on London’s West End at Wyndham’s Theatre and the London Playhouse, off-Broadway in New York at 59E59 Theatre, at the Dubai Opera House, the San José Repertory Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company, Cleveland Play House, Actors Theatre of Louisville, San Diego Repertory Theatre, Theatre Calgary, Poets’ Theatre and New Repertory Theatre in Boston, Nottingham Playhouse, Liverpool Playhouse, Oxford Playhouse, Belfast Opera House, the Avignon Theatre Festival in France, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Dublin Theatre Festival, as well as at many other theatres throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Some of his plays include: The Kite Runner from the novel by Khaled Hosseini (five San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Awards, including awards for Original Script and Overall Production); Albatross based on Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” (Elliot Norton Awards Boston for Outstanding Production and Solo Performance); Operation Ajax about the CIA coup in Iran in 1953; Striking Back, about the Dunnes Stores anti-apartheid strike in Ireland in the 1980s; Tortilla Curtain from the novel by T.C. Boyle; The Story of Zahra from the novel by Hanan al-Shaykh; The Forgotten Empress about the Mughal Empress Noor Jahan; and Shady Hills from the short stories of John Cheever. His plays are published by Penguin Press, Bloomsbury, and Stage Rights.
His book, Staging Intercultural Ireland: New Plays and Practitioner Perspectives (Cork University Press, 2014, co-edited with Charlotte McIvor of the National University Ireland, Galway) is a collection of plays, interviews, and essays examining the relationship between theatre, immigration, and interculturalism in Ireland. His articles on intercultural performance, Irish theatre, and transnational migration have appeared in many journals and books, including: The James Joyce Quarterly, Text and Performance Quarterly, The New Hibernia Review, Theatre Journal, Theatre Annual, The South Atlantic Review, Nineteenth Century Literature, and Performing the Crossroads: Critical Essays in Performance Studies and Irish Culture (Palgrave).
In the summer months, he directs a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute on the topic of immigration to California. http://immigrationtheatreinstitute.org/
Dr. Spangler holds degrees from Northwestern University (B.S.), Trinity College, Dublin
(M.Phil.), and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Ph.D.).
Spartan Spotlight Article, “Telling Universal Stories,” 2021: