Charissa Menefee


Office:359 Ross
527 Farm House Ln.
Ames IA


Courses I Teach

Engl 212: Public Speaking
THTRE: Acting One
ENGL/THTRE 316: Playwriting
HON 322: Improvisational Comedy
THTRE 358: Oral Interpretation
ENGL 364: American Drama
ENGL 395/595: London, Literature, and Theatre
ENGL 493: Advanced Multi-genre Creative Writing Workshop
ENGL/WGS 545: Women's Literature: Contemporary Playwrights
ENGL 552 Scriptwriting Workshop: Eco-Theatre
ENGL 552 Stage and Screen: Scripting Dramatic Action
ENGL 552 The Art of the Short Play
ENGL 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, Eco-Theatre, Theatre for Social Change, New Play Development, Dramatic Literature, Poetry, Comedy, Historical Drama, Women’s Literature, Performance Studies, Directing and Leadership, Young Adult 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 learning and grounding in history, theory, and literature. I stress critical and creative thinking, problem-solving, effective communication, and the study of performance as both theoretical lens and embodied practice. I am passionate about developing new plays and playwrights, as well as producing 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, regional, national, and global communities.

Recent Poetry Publications

It Rains in My Sun Room. Finishing Line Press, forthcoming 2020.
When I Stopped Counting: Poems. Finishing Line Press, 2016.
“Tiny Portraits of Men.” Pirene’s Fountain, forthcoming 2020.
“To a Young Mother” and “Sentry.” Telepoem Booth: Missed Calls and Other Poetry, forthcoming 2020.
“I am trying to remember when you remembered me.” When I Stopped Counting: Poems. Finishing Line Press, 2016.
British Journal of Psychiatry, forthcoming 2020.
"Get the Story." Footnote, forthcoming 2020. Charter Oak Award for Best Historical Finalist.
“The Poet Parents.” Plainsongs, 2020.
“Report Card.” Poets Reading the News, 2019.
“The Poet Ponders Porridge.” The Wild Word, 2019.
“Future Stores.” The Wild Word, 2019.
"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

Sarah's Poem. Philadelphia Women’s Theatre Festival, 2019.
Grounds for Play. Some Scripts Literary Magazine, 2019.
Paid Off. In 45’s 24. Theatre Unbound, 2019.
Family. The Factory Theatre, 2019.
Family. Lakewood Playhouse, 2019.
Family. Phoenix Theatre, 2019.
Family. Focal Theatre Lab/The EcoTheatre Lab, 2019.
Take Cover. Focal Theatre Lab/The EcoTheatre Lab, 2019.
Here Today. Minnesota Shorts Festival, semi-finalist, 2019.
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

Artistic Director: The EcoTheatre Lab, The One Day Plays, Tomorrow’s Theatre Tonight.

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

Director: Code Red: Faith, Sophocles' Oedipus the King, Sam Shepard's A Lie of the Mind, Sara Israel's (touch.), Elizabeth Diggs’ Dumping Ground, David Mamet's The Water Engine, Julia Flood's The Great Alphabet Adventure, 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, Agatha Christie's Towards Zero, as well as many theatre actions and play readings.

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, photographer, and arts advocate. I currently serve on the Board of Directors for Humanities Iowa and as the Iowa regional coordinator for Statera Mentorship.