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Nicole R. Hodges Persley, Ph.D.

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - School of the Arts - Theatre
Associate Professor
Acting Chair Director of Graduate Studies
Primary office:
Murphy Hall
Room 317
University of Kansas
1530 Naismith Drive
Lawrence, KS 66045-3140
Second office:
Murphy Hall

Dr. Hodges Persley is an Associate Professor of Theatre at the University of Kansas. Dr. Hodges Persley teaches courses on hip-hop, Acting, African American theater, Race and Performance, Improvisation Theory and Transnational performance. Her research interests include African-American performance, American popular culture, Hip-hop Studies, Women's and Gender Studies, Solo performance and Transnationalism.

Dr. Hodges Persley's research addresses the impact of racial, ethnic and national identity on performance practices in theatre, television and film. She completed her Ph.D. in American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California, an MA in African American Studies from UCLA and is a summa cum laude graduate of Spelman College. Her forthcoming book, Sampling and Remixing Blackness in Hip-hop Theater and Performance, examines the impact of African American expressions of blackness in Hip-hop on the artistic practices of non-African American artists in theater, conceptual art and dance in the United States and England.

Dr. Hodges Persley has conducted research in Senegal, France, England and Germany. She is an Associate Program Director for theater and performance at the Hip-hop Archive & Research Institute at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center and the Director of

An actress and director, Hodges Persley is a member of SAG and AFTRA and has credits in regional theater, television and film. Her performance and directing work have been featured at the Kansas City Fringe Festival, the California Hip-hop Theater Festival, the Hudson Theater, and Highways Performance Space. She has published articles on Jay-Z and Suzan-Lori Parks with forthcoming work on Nikki S. Lee and Jean Genet.

Teaching Interests

  • Hip-hop Performance
  • African-American Theatre
  • Acting
  • Transnationalism
  • Improvisation
  • Theatre for Social Change
  • Critical Race Theory.


Screen Actors Guild/American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG- AFTRA)

Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) eligible

IMDB credits:

Research Interests

  • African-American Theatre and Performance
  • American Studies
  • African Diaspora Performance
  • Popular culture
  • Acting
  • Hip-hop
  • Gender Studies
  • Solo Performance
  • Transnationalism

Selected Publications

Hodges Persley, N. (in press). Sampling and Remixing Hip-hop in Contemporary Theater and Performance.

Hodges Persley, N. (2015). The Cambridge Companion to Hip-hop.

Hodges Persley, N. (2014). American Theatre.

Hodges Persley, N. (2014). Holler if You Hear Me - Education Portal . Holler if You Hear Me - Broadway Musical Directed by Kenny Leon. Hip-Hop Theater Documenting Urban Life Study Guide .

Selected Work

Director, Rachel, Angelina W. Grimke, Just Off Broadway Theatre, Kansas City, MO, November 10-20 2016, 11/10/2016 - 11/20/2016

Selected Grants

, , Sherrie Tucker, (Co-Investigator), Kip Haaheim, (Co-Investigator), Michelle Hefner Hayes, (Co-Investigator), NEA Grant, National Endowment of the Arts, $35,000, . Not-for-Profit (not Foundation). Status: Funded.

The Kansas African Studies Center has received $140,000 in funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities to launch public discussions, community programming, and the creation of educational resources in local communities to discuss the challenges and opportunities surrounding recent demographic changes in the region. Visit to learn more. 

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