Charissa Menefee


Office:359 Ross
527 Farm House Ln.
Ames IA
Office Hours:By appointment


Courses I Teach

Engl 212: Public Speaking
Engl 251: Acting One
English/Theatre 316: Playwriting
Honors 322: Improvisational Comedy
Theatre 358: Oral Interpretation
English 364: American Drama
English 395/595: London, Literature, and Theatre
English 493: Advanced Multi-genre Workshop
English 545: Women's Literature: Contemporary Playwrights
English 552: Scriptwriting Workshop: Stage and Screen: Scripting Dramatic Action
English 552: Scriptwriting Workshop: The Art of the Short Play
English 557: Writing as Performance


Ph.D., Theatre and Speech Communication, Southern Illinois University—Carbondale
M.A., Interdisciplinary Studies, West Texas State University
B.A., English and Theatre, West Texas State University

Research Areas

Writing for Stage and Screen, New Play Development, Theatre for Social Change, Dramatic Literature, Poetry, Historical Drama, Comedy, Contemporary Women Playwrights, Performance Studies, Directing and Leadership, Women's Literature, YA and Children's Literature and Drama.

About My Teaching

Close reading, analysis, interpretation, and creation of texts—whether they are literary, performance-oriented, or improvised—are all key to my approach as an educator, writer, and director. In my teaching, I strive for a balance of experiential, practical learning and grounding in history, theory, and literature. The ability to advocate for ideas confidently, imaginatively, and responsibly is essential to success in any field. I stress critical and creative thinking, problem-solving, effective communication, and performance as both theoretical lens and embodied practice. I am passionate about developing new plays and encouraging playwrights; I love working with students to expand their understanding of dramatic literature and to develop their scriptwriting skills. I currently produce interdisciplinary theatre actions that bring together members of different communities, disciplines, age groups, and backgrounds to not only enjoy performances, but to participate in civic actions and engage in dialogue about the social and environmental issues that matter in our local community and, by extension, our world.

Recent Poetry Publications

When I Stopped Counting: Poems. Finishing Line Press, 2016.
"Get the Story." Footnote, forthcoming 2019. Charter Oak Award for Best Historical Finalist.
"Freezes Over." Poets Reading the News, 2018.
"Rose's Missing Diaries." Dragon Poet Review, 2018.
"It Rains in My Sun Room." Dragon Poet Review, 2018.
"The First Turkey You Pardoned." In the News: The Poeming Pigeon, 2018.
"Pinewood." Indian River Review, 2018.
"Joy." Surprised by Joy, 2018.
"Moving the Vase." Surprised by Joy, 2018.
"My Parents Meet." Surprised by Joy, 2018.
"My Grandmother Dreams She Is Sewing." Surprised by Joy, 2018.
"Counterintelligence." Poets Reading the News, 2018.
"Ladylike." Poets Reading the News, 2017.
"Light and Easy." Poetry South, 2017.
"The Poet Purges." Twyckenham Notes, 2017.
"After the Fever Sweeps through West Texas." Adanna, 2017.
"Waiting for Light." Adanna, 2017.
"Ants." The Paddock Review, 2017.
"To a Young Mother." The Telepoem Booth, 2017.
"Reading the Paper, Post 9/11." The Telepoem Booth, 2017.
"Dollface." The Telepoem Booth, 2017.
"Geese Bite." Terrene. Issue One, 2017.
"I am trying to remember when you remembered me." The Hippocrates Prize Anthology, 2016.
"Sounder Bite." Amygdala, 2015.
"I Was Dragged into This Wilderness." Amygdala, 2015.

Recent Play Productions, Publications, and Honors

Lydia's Plan. Best Play, Theatre Lawrence Festival of Short Plays, 2018.
Check Your Ticket. What She Said Festival, The Underground, 2018.
Sarah's Poem. Rover Dramawerks, 2018.
Your Soup, Sir. Ubu Roi Bake-off, The Playwrights' Center, 2018.
Marked Cards. Ivoryton Playhouse Women Playwrights' Initiative Finalist, 2018.
Lydia's Plan. Old Library Theatre's Annual One Act Play Festival Finalist, 2018.
Our Antigone. Story Theatre Company, 2017.
Pretty Lucky. 105 Five-Minute Plays for Study and Performance. Smith & Kraus, 2017.
How Long is Fifteen Minutes?. Tennessee Women's Theatre Project's Women's Work Festival, 2015.
The Figurehead. Julie Harris Playwright Award Finalist, 2013.
Meet Me Halfway. Prescott College Theatre, 2013.
Just Another Mourning. Pet Plays Festival. Theatrics, 2013.

Representative Work as Theatre Maker

Producer: Climate Change Theatre Action, Heal the Divide on Campus, Gun Control Theatre Action, Female Playwrights Onstage Festival, One Day Plays, Tomorrow's Theatre Tonight.

Director: Sophocles' Oedipus the King, Sam Shepard's A Lie of the Mind, Sara Israel's (touch.), David Mamet's The Water Engine, Edward Albee's The American Dream, Lee Blessing's Nice People Dancing to Good Country Music, Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth, Aurand Harris' Androcles and the Lion, David Campton's Us and Them, Susan Nanus' adaptation of Norton Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth, Julia Flood's The Great Alphabet Adventure, and Agatha Christie's Towards Zero.

Actor: Joan in The Guys, Ella in Bells are Ringing, Hera in The Birds, Mrs. Kendal in The Elephant Man, Gillian in To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday, Brenda in Check Your Ticket, Agnes in Agnes of God, Cecily in The Importance of Being Earnest, Liesl in The Sound of Music, Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof, Hippolyta in Pyramus and Thisby.

Outside of the University

I am an actor, director, singer, improv comedian, and arts advocate. I currently serve on the Board of Directors for Humanities Iowa, and I am a 2018 Writer-in-Residence at Fairhope Center for the Writing Arts.