1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

Kelli Shermeyer


BA in English Literature, University of Delaware

I am primarily interested in places of transgression and rebellion in drama and multimodal texts. I look at horror and violence in these texts as forms of subversion and discuss their political and social implications at the time of their (re)production. I am both a theater scholar and a theater practitioner. Therefore, I have an interdisciplinary approach to dramatic texts and my work takes into account the practical concerns of theater-making: the complex matrix of physical space, economics, talent and aesthetic that affect the way a play text is read and produced. I view the dramatic canon as a collection of texts in a constant state of flux, so I work on drama from classical to present day (with special interests Anglo-Irish plays written in the 16th and 20th centuries). The uniting principle behind my work is the interplay between literature and politics, and how a text, especially one with a performative quality, can be used as a form of social rebellion.
As part of my scholarship, I am also working on a new Digital Humanities project that aims at creating a new kind of dramatic text that marries the text of the play with the language of staging. I also spend time volunteering at Live Arts (in Charlottesville) as a producer and director.


Critical Theory, Drama

Conference Presentations

  •  “Suicide in the Age of Zombies and Destruction: Re-coding Trauma in Whitehead’s Zone One”,  Presented at the 2014 International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts, Orlando FL 2012
  • “Director v. Author: Who Owns The Changeling?”, Presented at the 2013 Blackfriars Conference, Staunton VA 2012
  • “‘Deeper and Sweeter’: The Merits of the Asylum Subplot in Middleton and Rowley’s The Changeling”, Presented at 26st Annual UVa-Wise Medieval Renaissance Conference, Wise VA 2012
  • “Milton and the Muse: Gender Ambiguity and the Male Gaze in Paradise Lost”, Presented at 1st Annual English Capstone Symposium, Newark DE 2012
  • “Predestination and Self Determination in the Prose Merlin”, Presented at the 46th Annual Medieval Congress, Kalamazoo, MI 2011

Departmental Service

  • Abstract Committee Chair, 2015 Graduate Student Conference, Department of English, University of Virginia, Charlottesville VA Fall 2014-Spring 2015
  • Renaissance Area Representative, Graduate English Student’s Association, University of Virginia, Fall 2014- Spring 2015