David Bisaha is a scholar and practitioner who studies performance design, theatrical space and architecture, and the history of theatrical creativity. He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Theatre at SUNY Binghamton. He specializes in the history of scenic design in the United States, mostly in the first half of the twentieth century, and in the more recent history of immersive and participatory performance. His other research interests include theatre historiography, cognitive sciences and performance, directing theory, and memory studies.
Bisaha’s current book project, American Scenic Design and Freelance Professionalism, is a cultural labor history of scenic designers and designing in the United States. It argues that scenic designers constructed the career of the freelance, professional scenic designer in extra-theatrical locations. By combining archival research into key designers and institutions with the sociology of the professions and a history of theatre labor and economic policy, the project shows how the history of American scenic design intersects with important national issues: the expansion of post-secondary education, the rise of unionism and challenges to its vision for American labor, and the emergence of knowledge work careers and the creative class.
At Binghamton, Bisaha teaches theater and performance history, dramaturgy, and theater theory in the MA and BA programs. He is the Curator of the Theatre Collection of the Department of Theatre, and is affiliate faculty and a steering committee member of the Material and Visual Worlds Transdisciplinary Area of Excellence (TAE).
Bisaha has presented research at national and international theatre and performance conferences, including those convened by the American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR), the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE), and the Mid-America Theatre Conference (MATC). He is currently serving as the ATHE Conference Planner for the American Theater and Drama Society (ATDS).
- PhD, MA, University of Pittsburgh
- BA, The College of William and Mary