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. (2020). Privileged Spectatorship: Theatrical Interventions in White Supremacy. Northwestern University Press.

Edited Volume

Synder-Young, D., & Omasta, M. (Eds.). (2022). Impacting Theatre Audienes: Methods for Studying Change. Routledge.


Snyder-Young, D. (2022). We’re all in this together: Digital performance and the performativity of social distanced spectatorship. Theatre Journal, 74.1, 1-15.

Snyder-Young, D. (2022). Procedurally authored performances of mindful practice: Theatre-for-one, audience labor and self-optimization. TDR, 66(2), 147-157. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1054204322000156

Snyder-Young, D. (2022). For an Ethic of Critical Generosity: Facilitating Productive Discomfort in Applied Theatre Praxis. Sadeghi-Yekta,K., & Prendergast, M. (Eds.). Applied Theatre: Ethics, 115-130.

Snyder-Young, D., & Flassen, M.* Community-based performances of harmonious diversity: Happy talk and utopian performativity in playback theatre. Applied Theatre Research, 9(1), 39-53. https://doi.org/10.1386/atr_00047_1

Snyder-Young, D., Houston, A.R.*, Bell, A. B. M., & Short, A. (2021) Recovery capital and collaborative theatre making: How actors in recovery from substance addiction value their participation in addiction prevention plays. Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, 27(1), 121-136. https://doi.org/10.1080/13569783.2021.1949973

Snyder-Young, D. (2020). Ownership, Expertise, and Audience Research: Developing collaborative artist-centric methods for studying reception. Theatre Topics, 30(1), 31-40. https://doi.org/10.1353/tt.2020.0009

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 K. Howe, J. Boal, & J. Soeiro (Eds.). The Routledge Companion to Theatre of the Oppressed (pp.360-369). Routledge.

*co-author was a Northeastern University undergraduate student when the manuscript was developed