Pannill Camp

​Associate Professor of Drama
research interests:
  • Theater History and Theory
  • Dramatic Literature
  • Performance Theory
  • Theater Architecture
  • 18th-century French Theater
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    • Wednesdays 1:00 - 4:00 PM

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    • Washington University
    • MSC-1108-193-312
    • One Brookings Drive
    • St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
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    ​Pannill Camp studies performance theory, theatre architecture, and the history of modern western theatre, in particular exchanges between theatre and philosophy in seventeenth and eighteenth-century France.

    Pannill Camp is an Associate Professor of Drama, where he teaches theater history and theory, dramatic literature, and performance theory. His research focuses on exchanges between theater, architecture, and philosophy in eighteenth-century France, French freemasonry as a set of performance practices, and the antecedents of performance theory in social thought from the eighteenth through twentieth centuries. He is the author of The First Frame: Theatre Space in Enlightenment France (Cambridge University Press, 2014), which received an honorable mention for the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) Outstanding Book Award for 2015, and was short-listed for the 2015 Kenshur Prize, awarded by the Indiana University Center for Eighteenth-Century Studies.

    He is at work on two new book projects that explore the social dimensions of performance in the modern era. One, entitled Arts of Brotherhood: French Freemasonry in Performance, looks at the ways embodied performances helped freemasons in eighteenth-century France forge models of masculine homosocial behavior and preserve an esoteric body of knowledge. The other, entitled Performance and Social Theory, traces theatrical ideas in social theory from Montesquieu and Adam Smith to the mid-twentieth century sociology of Erving Goffman. 

    Before arriving at Washington University, Pannill was a postdoctoral fellow at the Mahindra Center for the Humanities at Harvard and taught in Harvard’s History of Art and Architecture department. His articles have appeared in journals including Theatre Journal, Philological Quarterly, the Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, the Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, and Performance Research. Pannill has directed several productions, including plays by Molière, Ibsen, Strindberg, and Mac Wellman. He is also a co-host of On TAP: A Theatre & Performance Studies Podcast along with Sarah Bay-Cheng and Harvey Young.  

    On TAP Podcast

    Launched in 2016, On TAP is a podcast dedicated to the academic field of theater and performance studies. Co-hosts Pannill Camp, Sarah Bay-Cheng, and Harvey Young discuss ideas, teaching, professional development, and works of art. Each episode reaches several hundred faculty and graduate students in the field, and episodes have been assigned in classes and cited in academic journals.






    The First Frame: Theatre Space in Enlightenment France

    The First Frame: Theatre Space in Enlightenment France

    In the late eighteenth century, a movement to transform France's theatre architecture united the nation. Playwrights, philosophers, and powerful agents including King Louis XV rejected the modified structures that had housed the plays of Racine and Molière, and debated which playhouse form should support the future of French stagecraft. In The First Frame, Pannill Camp argues that these reforms helped to lay down the theoretical and practical foundations of modern theatre space. Examining dramatic theory, architecture, and philosophy, Camp explores how architects, dramatists, and spectators began to see theatre and scientific experimentation as parallel enterprises. During this period of modernisation, physicists began to cite dramatic theory and adopt theatrical staging techniques, while playwrights sought to reveal observable truths of human nature. Camp goes on to show that these reforms had consequences for the way we understand both modern theatrical aesthetics and the production of scientific knowledge in the present day.