W. B. Worthen received a Fellowship in 1989 to support the writing of his second book, Modern Drama and the Rhetoric of Theater (University of California Press, 1992). Since then he has written a number of books on drama, theory, theatre, and performance, including Shakespeare and the Authority of Performance (Cambridge UP, 1997), Shakespeare and the Force of Modern Performance (Cambridge UP, 2002), Print and the Poetics of Modern Drama (Cambridge UP, 2006), and Drama: Between Poetry and Performance (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010). He is the editor of the Wadsworth Anthology of Drama, and of the award-winning Modern Drama: Plays, Criticism, Theory.
Professor Worthen took his B. A. at the University of Massachusetts, summa cum laude, in English in 1977, and his Ph.D. in English Literature at Princeton University in 1981, where he began the project that became his first book, The Idea of the Actor: Drama and the Ethics of Performance (Princeton UP, 1984). He was appointed as Assistant Professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin in 1981, and was promoted to Associate Professor and Professor there, before taking up later positions: as Professor in the Departments of English and Theatre at Northwestern University, where he directed the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Theatre and Drama; as Professor in the Departments of English and Theatre and Dance at the University of California, Davis, where he directed the Ph.D. program in Theatre; as Professor and Chair of the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, where he also directed the Ph.D. program in Performance Studies; as J. L. Styan Professor of English at the University of Michigan; and as Alice Brady Pels Professor in the Arts, and Chair of the Department of Theatre, Barnard College, Columbia University, and Professor in the Theatre Division, School of the Arts, Columbia University. He was also a founding faculty member of the International Centre for Advanced Theatre Studies sponsored by the University of Helsinki, Finland, and is pleased to have held a research fellowship from the Interweaving Performance Cultures International Research Institute of the Freie Universität, Berlin.