Erica Nagel is the Director of Education and Engagement at McCarter Theatre Center, where she serves as a senior member of the artistic staff and oversees a variety of programs for learners of all ages. She teaches courses in community-based performance and devising theatre with youth at Princeton University. Previously, Erica served as the Artistic Engagement Manager at McCarter, connecting literary, producing, and educational projects under the umbrella of audience and community engagement.
Erica has also worked on the artistic staffs of Geva Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and Premiere Stages, and as a freelance developmental dramaturg at theatres including Salvage Vanguard, HotCity Theatre, New Century Theatre, and the New Harmony Project. She has read and evaluated scripts for the Sundance Theatre Lab and Playscripts Publishing, and has served on the selection panel for the New Dramatists Princess Grace Award. Erica’s work exploring the intersection of play development and community engagement has been published in the LMDA Review and the Journal Theatre Topics, and has been presented at conferences including Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed, the International Conference on American Drama, and the Steinhardt Forum on Theatre for Young Audiences. She is currently working with New Dramatists and Community Logic Inc. to research and write a multi-year field assessment of the Full Stage USA commissioning program.
Erica has taught acting, theatre history and dramaturgy at SUNY Brockport and Texas A&M University and has served as a drama-based curriculum consultant to the Humanities Institute Living Newspaper Project and Homes for the Homeless Summer Camps. She is a proud recipient of a 2005 LMDA Dramaturg-Driven grant to create Bare Mountains, a documentary theatre piece exploring the creation of the Palisades Interstate Park system using interviews with communities who were displaced by eminent domain in the 1920s and 30s. Other awards and honors include a George C. Mylonas Award, a Ludwig Vogelstein Individual Female Artist Grant and a TCG New Generations Future Leaders Grant, which “seeks to identify exceptionally talented theatre professionals who will impact the field in a positive way.” Erica has conceived and overseen community-based arts programs including the “Artists in the Parks” program (partnering visual artists with New York State Parks), "Orange County Arts in Healthcare Teaching Artist Training" (in collaboration with the Orange County Arts Council and Department of Veterans Affairs). and the “Premiere Stages Human Rights Initiative” (in collaboration with The Human Rights Institute and The Darfur Rehabilitation Project).
Erica received her MFA in Performance as Public Practice (Theatre and Social Change) at the University of Texas-Austin, where she was a recipient of a University Continuing Fellowship for her thesis project, Collaboration, Context, and Common Ground: A Model for Community-Engaged Dramaturgy, and regularly wore cowgirl boots to rehearsal.