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Sarah Bay-Cheng

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Office of the Dean, Theatre

Sarah Bay-Cheng



Ph.D. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor | A.B. Wellesley College


Dr. Sarah Bay-Cheng [pronounced Bay-JUNG, “j” as in jump; rhymes with “sung”] is Dean and Professor of Theatre & Performance Studies in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design. Her research and writing focuses on the intersections between theatre and media including histories of film, social media, and technology in performance. She is the author or editor of 4 books, including Performance and Media: Taxonomies for a Changing Field, 2015 and Mapping Intermediality in Performance, 2010 as well as more than 100 academic essays, lectures and reviews. She also writes and gives talks on performance and media in popular culture, including film, social media, and sports. Prior to becoming Dean at York, Bay-Cheng served as Chair of Theater and Dance at Bowdoin College in Maine and as the Founding Director for the Techne Institute for the Arts and Emerging Technologies at the University at Buffalo, New York.

She was a founding co-host for On TAP: A Theatre and Performance Studies podcast and still drops in on the conversation from time to time. Bay-Cheng frequently lectures internationally and in 2015 was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Media and Cultural Studies at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. She currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Canadian Association of Fine Arts Deans and on the boards for the International Council of Fine Arts Deans, Factory Theatre, and, among others.

Bay-Cheng is grateful for her liberal arts education at Wellesley College -- A.B. with honours, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 1996 -- and doctoral study at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor -- Ph.D., 2001.


Select Publications


Essays & Articles

  • S. Bay-Cheng, “Digital Performance and Its Discontents (or, Problems of Presence in Pandemic Performance),” Theatre Research International Special Issue: Presence, Politics, Resistance Tendencies in (Post-)Pandemic Performance and Theatre, eds. Heidi Lucja Liedke, Monika Pietrzak-Franger, Heidi Liedke. 48.1 (Winter 2023): 1-15.
  • S. Bay-Cheng, “Modernist Afterlives in Performance: The Afterlife of Modernist Acting” Modernism/modernity Print+ Vol. 4, Cycle 3 (October 10, 2019).
  • S. Bay-Cheng, “The Algorithms of Democracy,” 100 Years of Now, Journal for Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Goethe Institute (1 January 2017): der-demokratie/.
  • S. Bay-Cheng, “Pixelated Memories: Performance, Media, and Digital Technology” Contemporary Theatre Review 27.3 (fall 2017): 324-339.
  • S. Bay-Cheng, “Unseen: Performance Criticism in an Age of Digital Recordings,” Theatre 46.2 (2016): 77-85.
  • S. Bay-Cheng, “Postmedia Performance,” Interventions - Contemporary Theatre Review (May 2016). Reprinted and translated in POESIA PROGRAMABILIDADE PERFORMANCE: Projetos, processos e práticas em meios digitais (POETRY PROGRAMABILITY PERFORMANCE: Projects, processes and practices in digital media), eds. Sandra Guerreiro Dias and Bruno Ministro (2020).
  • S. Bay-Cheng, “Digital Historiography and Performance” Theatre Journal 68.4 (December 2016): 507-527.
  • S. Bay-Cheng, “‘When This You See’: The (Anti) Radical Time of Mobile Self-Surveillance” Performance Research: A Journal of the Performing Arts 19.3 (summer 2014): 48-55.
  • S. Bay-Cheng, “Theatre is Media: Some Principles for a Digital Historiography of Performance,” Theatre 42.2 (2012): 27-41.
  • S. Bay-Cheng, A. S. Holzapfel. “The Living Theatre: A Brief History of a Bodily Metaphor” Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism 25.1 (fall 2010): 1-19.
  • J. Anstey, A.P. Seyed, S. Bay-Cheng, J. Bono, D. Pape, S. Shapiro. “Agent Takes the Stage,” International Journal of Art and Technology 2.4 (2009): 277-296.
  • J. Anstey, S. Bay-Cheng, D. Pape, S. Shapiro. “Human Trials: An Experiment in Intermedia Performance,” Computers in Entertainment 5.3 (November 2007): 1-17.