Christine Mary Dunford has a doctorate degree in performance studies (Northwestern University), a master’s degree in anthropology (University of Illinois at Chicago), and a bachelor’s degree in theatre (Northwestern University).
As a theatre artist, Dr. Dunford has been an ensemble member with the Tony Award winning Lookingglass Theatre Company since 1989, and has acted in, written/adapted and/or directed nearly three dozen Lookingglass productions. Most recently, in the spring of 2013, she directed her own adaptation of the New York Times best-selling novel, Still Alice, by Lisa Genova, for Lookingglass as part of the company’s 25th anniversary season. She is currently writing a new play/adaptation commissioned by Lookingglass through the Glassworks new work development program.
As a teaching artist, Dr. Dunford co-founded the Lookingglass Education and Community program and has taught with the program since its inception. She is also a founding teaching artist with the Chicago Arts Partners in Education (CAPE) program. Over the years Dr. Dunford has taught at Northwestern, DePaul and Roosevelt universities. Teaching areas include adaptation, analysis and performance of literature, performance of non-fiction, performance ethnography, performance of urban space, acting, and ensemble creation of new work.
In addition to creating theatre and teaching, Dr. Dunford is an applied urban anthropologist, and an anthropology research associate with The Field Museum where she has conducted original research with the Environment, Culture and Conservation (ECCo) program (formerly the Center for Cultural Understanding and Change) about how residents in Chicago’s diverse communities understand and make connections to issues of conservation and climate change. In addition, from 2008 to 2012 Dr. Dunford used anthropological methods to conduct collaborative, formative evaluations of a number of new city-wide community engagement programs sponsored by The Field Museum, Northwestern University, and/or the City of Chicago Department of Environment. She has also worked as an independent consultant to conduct qualitative evaluations of a number of new programs that involve multiple partners like large universities and community organizations.
In 2009, Dr. Dunford combined her interest in teaching, research, and performance and co-founded The Memory Ensemble, a project of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine’s Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center (CNADC) and Lookingglass. The Memory Ensemble is a research/intervention program that uses improvisational performance activities to improve quality of life for people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
Dr. Dunford’s research interests include performance of environmental discourses, the production and construction of space and place, connections between performance and memory, and the radical potential of performance ethnography.