Manuel Simons
Adjunct Lecturer, Introduction to Acting, Acting Workshop, History of Western Theater, Performance Techniques: Solo Performance, Performance Techniques: Theater for Social Change

Manuel Simons (Brooklyn College)


PhD Candidate (expected 2018), Interdisciplinary Research (Education and Theater), Fordham University
MA, Educational Theatre in Colleges and Communities, New York University
BFA, Acting, New York University

Artist, scholar, and educator Manuel Simons draws on more than 25 years of combined experience in arts pedagogy, practice, and research to engage students and audiences in transformative experiences in the theater and the classroom.

Manuel has taught graduate, undergraduate, and K-12 students acting, playwriting, and theater craft, including courses in acting technique, scene and monologue study, theater for social change, applied theater, solo performance, and theater history. He has applied the arts in education to teach English Language Arts (reading, literature, creative writing, composition, and rhetoric) and Social Studies (history, civics, human rights, and Holocaust education) and conducted professional development workshops for educators in universities and public schools in New York City, London, and Buenos Aires. He has also directed the education programs of Theatre Askew and The American Place Theatre.

Acting credits include national tours of Driving Miss Daisy, The Stone Guest (based on Moliere’s Don Juan), and Murder at Café Noir. His New York theater credits include Suzan-Lori Parks’ El Silencio Grande at The Public Theater, Oedipus Rex at La MaMa, Not in My Name with The Living Theatre, and Shakespearean roles as diverse as Hamlet, Richard III, and Malvolio. On screen, he played Watergate villain Jeb Magruder in Spike Lee’s She Hate Me, and appeared on Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU, and Sex and the City. Manuel is a member of Actors Equity Association (AEA) and Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA).

Directing credits include William Shakespeare's Haunted House at The Public Theater, Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye for The American Place Theatre, and Unlikely Cowboys at The Provincetown Playhouse. As a playwright, Manuel penned Harry's Life, The Make-Up Artist, and Unlikely Cowboys, and performed his solo play Queer at festivals across the U.S. and in the U.K. As a producer, Manuel's credits include Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and July 4th Fireworks Spectacular, the Emmy-nominated TV series In the Life, and live theatricals for Disney, Marvel, and MGM.

Research interests focus on the efficacy of theater, pedagogy, and performance to facilitate community-led processes of social inquiry, action, and change. These pursuits encompass theater practices and productions through which communities assess their own needs and challenges and consider perspectives, pose alternatives, rehearse solutions, and open up new perspectives—whether in conventional theater houses, educational settings, or nontheatrical sites such as community centers, prisons, healthcare settings, therapeutic environments, parks, or streets. Manuel has presented papers and workshops at national and international conferences, including those of the American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE), Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE), and Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed (PTO).

Manuel holds a BFA in Acting and MA in Educational Theatre in Colleges and Communities both from New York University and researches theater in education as a PhD student at Fordham University.