Q&A with Suhaila Meera, Assistant Professor of Theatre
Suhaila Meera is an Assistant Professor of Theatre. In addition to her work as a director and dramaturg, Meera has researched statelessness and the performance of childhood, which examines theatrical and cinematic portraits of young people navigating borders in South Asia and the Middle East.
When and how did you develop an interest in your field?
I’ve loved performing for as long as I can remember. For a long time, I thought of theater as solely extracurricular; I studied history in undergrad, and was planning to go to law school. But I kept taking night acting classes, and finally decided to pursue a PhD in theater and performance. My specific research agenda—child actors and the contemporary refugee situation—really began when I saw Zara Rasti play Little Amal in Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson’s playThe Jungle. Suddenly, all of the headlines and front-page images of child refugees detained at borders and crossing the Mediterranean came into stark relief. I realized that who is seen as a child (and by whom) and who is imagined as belonging to the nation-state (and by whom) were, in many ways, questions of performance.
What excites you most about joining the L&C community?
I’m really excited to join such a warm, welcoming, and joyful community of scholars, makers, and learners. The theater faculty have been doing such exciting work both at Lewis & Clark and beyond, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to deepen my directorial practice and learn from my colleagues. I keep hearing amazing things about how curious L&C students are, and how open they are to new ideas and experiences—a dream for any new professor!
What kind of hobbies or special activities do you enjoy outside of work?
A few of my many loves: contemporary fiction, Bollywood movies, yoga, and vintage shopping.