About Dr. Granshaw

Dr. Michelle Granshaw is an Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Theatre Arts at the University of Pittsburgh. She also is affiliate faculty with the Global Studies Center, the European Union Center of Excellence/European Studies Center, Gender, Sexuality, and Women Studies Program, and Cultural Studies. At Pitt, she teaches in the undergraduate and graduate curriculum.

Born in Selden, NY, Dr. Granshaw attended New York University where she majored in History and Dramatic Literature, Theatre History, and Cinema. After completing her MA in Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Maryland, she pursued her PhD in Theatre History, Theory, and Criticism from the University of Washington. During her years at the UW, she won the School of Drama's Michael Quinn Writing Award and a UW Graduate School Presidential Dissertation Fellowship to support the completion of her dissertation.

MacEvoy's Original Hibernicon  Ticket. Private Collection.

MacEvoy's Original Hibernicon Ticket. Private Collection.


Dr. Granshaw’s articles have appeared in Popular Entertainment Studies, Theatre Survey, Nineteenth Century Theatre and Film, Journal of American Drama and Theatre, Theatre Topics, and the New England Theatre Journal. She has a forthcoming publications in the Atlas of Boston History: The Making of a City, Theatre History Studies (2019), and Nineteenth Century Literature in Transition. She has written almost twenty encyclopedia articles for BlackPast.org.  In 2014, Dr. Granshaw was awarded the American Theatre and Drama Society Vera Mowry Roberts Award for Research and Publication for her Theatre Survey (January 2014) article “The Mysterious Victory of the Newsboys: The Grand Duke Theatre’s 1874 Challenge to the Theatre Licensing Law.”

Dr. Granshaw has presented her research at the American Society for Theatre Research, Association for Theatre in Higher Education, American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies, McNeil Center for Early American Studies, and Mid-America Theatre Conference. She serves on committees for the American Theatre and Drama Society and the American Society for Theatre Research and was Theatre History Symposium co-chair at the Mid-America Theatre Conference for 2016 and 2017.

Dr. Granshaw also works as a dramaturg. She has served on a variety of productions, including August Wilson’s Piano Lesson and Adolphe d’Ennery’s The Two Orphans. In Spring 2015, she served as the dramaturg for the UPitt Stages production of The Curse of the Starving Class


Her research analyzes impoverished, disenfranchised, and immigrant communities and how they shaped and were influenced by the embodied and imaginative practices within theatre and performance. Her first book, Irish on the Move: Performing Mobility in American Variety Theatre, argues that nineteenth-century variety theatre formed a crucial battleground for anxieties about mobility, immigration, and community in the United States. She details how “dramaturgies of mobility” -- repeated narratives, types, images, strategies, and performative practices -- transformed shifts in mobility into systems of meaning to be received, resisted, and reformed. Dr. Granshaw won the 2013 Hibernian Research Award from the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism at the University of Notre Dame, 2014 American Theatre and Drama Society Faculty Travel Award, and 2016-2017 Harry Ransom Center Research Fellowship in the Humanities in support of her book project. Drawn from her book research, "Inventing the Tramp: The Early Tramp Comic on the Variety Stage,” won the 2018 Robert A. Schanke Theatre Research Award at the Mid-America Theatre Conference.