Dani Snyder-Young Biography

Dani Snyder Young - Northeastern University

Dani Snyder, MA, PhD

Assistant Professor of Theater
College of Arts, Media and Design

[email protected]

Areas of Expertise

Theater research


Dani Snyder-Young, Assistant Professor of Theatre, is an applied theatre researcher. Dani examines the complex impacts of participation in dramatic activities and theatrical events, studying both the intended effects and unintended byproducts of theatre participation and spectatorship.  Her first book, Theatre of Good Intentions: Challenges and Hopes for Theatre and Social Change (2013, Palgrave Macmillan), examines the limits of theatre in making social change in order to engage in a productive discussion of theatre’s strengths -and weaknesses- and theatre artists’ opportunities to make change in an unjust world.  She has published in journals including RiDE: The Journal of Applied Theatre Research, Theatre Survey, Theatre Research International, Qualitative Inquiry, and Youth Theatre Journal, and she serves on the editorial boards of Applied Theatre Researcher and Theatre Topics. BA: Wesleyan University, MA & PhD: New York University.

Project Description

While evidence of the impact of theater-based substance abuse prevention programs has grown in recent years (Stephens-Hernandez et al 2007, Quek 2012) less attention has been paid to the impact of such efforts on the actor/teaching artists delivering these programs.  This study examines the ways participation as an actor/teaching artist in a theatre-based substance abuse prevention program supports sober artists with their own recovery processes.  Improbable Players (IP) has been creating theatre-based substance use disorder prevention programs since 1984, training more than 200 sober actor/teaching artists to perform plays and facilitate workshops to address addiction, alcoholism, and the opioid crisis with students ranging from 5th grade through university undergraduates.  This qualitative pilot study examines the ways that a representative sample of this large and diverse group of sober actor/teaching artists understand the impact of theatre participation on their mental health and well-being in long-term recovery processes.

Publications – Past Five Years

Snyder-Young, D. (2019). “Academia: Theatre of the Oppressed in Colleges and Universities: An interview with Charles N. Adams, Jr., Dani Snyder-Young, and Alessandro Tolomelli.”. In Howe, K., Boal, J.& Soeiro, J. (Eds) The Routledge Companion to Theatre of the Oppressed. London: Routledge. 360-370. 

Snyder-Young, D. (2018). “Despite artists’ intentions, emancipated spectatorship reinforces audience members’ existing attitudes and beliefs.” In Woodson, S., & Underiner, T. (Eds) Theatre, Performance and Theories of Change. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 295-301. 

Snyder-Young, D. (2014). “Ethical Problems for Hybrid Teaching Artist/Researchers.” In Mary Elizabeth Armstrong, M. E., Risner, D. (Eds). Hybrid Lives of Teaching Artists. Cambria Press. 

Snyder-Young, D., & Omasta, M. (2014). “Gaps, Silences, and Comfort Zones: Dominant Paradigms in Applied Theatre and Drama Education Discourse.” RiDE: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance 19.1. 

Snyder-Young, D. (2018). “No “Bullshit”: Rigor and Evaluation of Applied Theatre Projects.” In Freebody, F., Balfour, M., Finneran, M.Anderson, M. (Eds) Applied Theatre: Understanding Change. Springer. 81-94. 

Snyder-Young, D. (2016). “The Promise and Pitfalls of the Real.” Theatre Survey 57.3. 

Snyder-Young, D. (in press). “Studying the Relationship Between Artistic Intent and Observable Impact.” Performance Matters 5.2.  

Snyder-Young, D. (2015). “Warriors, Wizards, and Clerics: Heroic Identity Construction in Live Action Role Playing Games.”  In Omasta, M., & Chappell, D. (Eds) Spaces of PlayLondon: Routledge 2015