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Natalie Alvarez is Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies in Ryerson’s School of Performance where she teaches courses in performance history and theory. Her research focuses on immersive performance in the public sphere, performance and scenario-based pedagogy, contemporary political performance, Latina/o-Canadian theatre and performance, performance activism, and performance theory.
She is the author of Immersions in Cultural Difference: Tourism, War, Performance, (University of Michigan Press, 2018), winner of the 2019 Ann Saddlemyer Book Prize awarded by the Canadian Association for Theatre Research (CATR). She is Associate Editor of the Canadian Theatre Review and editor of two books on Latina/o Canadian theatre: Latina/o Canadian Theatre and Performance (Playwrights Canada Press, 2013), winner of CATR’s 2014 Patrick O’Neil Award and Fronteras Vivienties: Eight Latina/o Canadian Plays (Playwrights Canada Press, 2013), winner of the 2015 Patrick O’ Neil Award. She has also served as the editor of a number of journal special issues. She is co-editor with Keren Zaiontz (Queen’s) and Claudette Lauzon (SFU) of Sustainable Tools for Precarious Times: Performance Actions in the Americas (in press with Palgrave Macmillan) and she is currently at work on Theatre& War as part of Palgrave Macmillan’s Theatre& series. Her work has been featured in a variety of international anthologies and journals including Theatre Journal, TDR, Contemporary Theatre Review, the Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, and Theatre Research in Canada/Recherches théâtrales au Canada. In 2013, she was awarded the Richard Plant Essay Prize by CATR.
Natalie is the Principal Investigator of a four-year SSHRC Insight Grant, “Scenario Training to Improve Interactions Between Police and Individuals in Mental Health Crisis: Impacts and Efficacy”, which uses performance as a nexus for multidisciplinary research across the humanities and social sciences. With co-investigators Dr. Yasmine Kandil (University of Victoria) and Dr. Jennifer Lavoie (Wilfrid Laurier University), the project brings together a national team of theatre practitioners, simulation training experts, police trainers, mental health clinicians, forensic psychologists, and individuals with lived experience of mental illness to: a) design a form of problem-based scenario training in de-escalation and mental health crisis response; and b) assess the impacts and efficacy of this form of scenario-based training. The longitudinal study, which undertakes pre- and post-training measures of six cohorts between the years of 2018 and 2021, offers an evidence-base and assessment protocol for police training on mental health crisis response.
Natalie’s prior experience as a theatre director, actor, and dramaturg informs her teaching, which fosters a movement between theory and practice. She is a member of the Executive Board of Toronto’s Aluna Theatre with whom she has collaborated on the “conversatorio” series for the international biennial RUTAS | ROUTES, a multidisciplinary festival showcasing work from across the Americas with a focus on human rights.