Creating, devising, and imagining forms through live, digital and mixed theatrics
Heather Barfield has an extensive background in theater history, criticism, theory, and practice. She received her Ph.D. in Performance as Public Practice from the University of Texas at Austin. She also holds a M.A. in Performance Studies from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and a B.A. in Anthropology from UT Austin. Throughout her career, she has worked as performer, scholar, director, producer, writer, archivist, and arts administrator in the Austin, Texas theater and cultural communities. Barfield is a 30-year company member of VORTEX Repertory Theatre and has served as Associate Artistic and Development Director.
In Fall 2019, Dr. Barfield conducted theatre research in France as a U.S. Scholar Fulbright award recipient. She created community-devised performances and workshop projects titled “Performing Migrant Stories” in collaboration with Aix-Marseille Université, IREMAM , Compagnie La Scène Manassa, Agir in Aix-en-Provence, and OICEM in Marseille.
Barfield’s theatrical credits include the creation and direction of VORTEX’s Wake for the Dark Poet (B. Iden Payne Award for Outstanding Production of a Drama) and her direction of Machinal for VORTEX’s Summer Youth Theatre (B. Iden Payne Award for Outstanding Production of Theatre for Youth). She has performed locally in critically acclaimed shows including VORTEX’s Dark Goddess, Rude Mech’s Dionysus in ’69, and Rubber Repertory’s The Casket of Passing Fancy.
She was an arts writer for The Austin Chronicle and a contributing member of the Austin Critics’ Table.
Her artistic work often incorporates intermodal forms of storytelling through digital and analog methods. In her critically-praised production, Privacy Settings: A Promethean Tale (2016), Barfield and her cast of devised-theater makers explored the complex topics of whistle-blowers, digital privacy, and civil liberties alongside audience-immersive interactions.
She is currently Professor (Adjunct) of performance and theatre history/criticism at Austin Community College, Drama Department. She was selected as a participant of the Global Gender and Women’s Studies Faculty Learning Community for 2020-2021. This unique partnership between Austin Community College and The University of Texas at Austin will enable her to explore how to globalize her curriculum. She is one of ten ACC faculty members who was given this honor.
Barfield also served as CFO/COO for arts services organization Austin Creative Alliance from 2003-2017. She managed the financial, administrative and budgetary aspects of ACA and ninety sponsored project organizations and collaborated with staff on grant writing, marketing, event planning, and production. She was granted an ACA Honors award for her service to the organization in 2017.
She continues to devise, write, produce and direct video and performance installation works as an artist-citizen-scholar. Barfield recognizes that a healthy and just social ecosystem depends upon vibrant, eclectic, diverse, reflexive, and innovative arts.
© 2020 by Heather L. Barfield
Cover photo taken by Heather L. Barfield, all rights reserved