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Dr. Natalie Alvarez

Natalie Alvarez's headshot

Natalie Alvarez, PhD


Professor and Associate Dean, Scholarly, Research, and Creative Activities


  • PhD Theatre Studies, University of Toronto
  • MA English, University of British Columbia
  • BA English, Simon Fraser University


Extension: 543587

Natalie Alvarez is Associate Dean of Scholarly, Research and Creative Activities and Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies in the School of Performance with research specializations in performance studies, contemporary political performance and rights emergencies in the Americas, immersive performance in the public sphere, Latinx diasporic performance, art activism, and scenario-based pedagogy. She is author of Immersions in Cultural Difference: Tourism, War, Performance (external link)  (U of Michigan Press, 2018) winner of the Ann Saddlemyer Book Prize by the Canadian Association for Theatre Research (CATR); co-editor with Keren Zaiontz and Claudette Lauzon of Sustainable Tools for Precarious Times: Performance Actions in the Americas  (external link) (Palgrave Macmillan 2019), winner of the Excellence in Editing award by the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE); and editor of Essays on Latina/o Canadian Theatre and Performance and Fronteras Vivientes: Eight Latina/o Canadian Plays (Playwrights Canada Press, 2013) winners of the 2014 and 2015 Patrick O’Neil Book Prize by CATR. Her most recent book, Theatre & War, is currently in press with Bloomsbury and due for release in January 2023. Her work has been published widely in international journals and essay collections. 

Natalie is the Principal Investigator of a four-year SSHRC Insight Grant, “Scenario Training to Improve Interactions Between Police and Individuals in Mental Health Crisis: Impacts and Efficacy”, which uses performance as a nexus for multidisciplinary research across the humanities and social sciences. With co-investigators Dr. Yasmine Kandil (University of Victoria) and Dr. Jennifer Lavoie (Wilfrid Laurier), the project brings together a national team of theatre practitioners, simulation training experts, individuals with lived experience of mental illness and peer support workers, Indigenous cultural safety experts, mental health clinicians, and forensic psychologists to co-design and measure the efficacy of problem-based scenario training in de-escalation and mental health crisis response. The community co-designed program is now being developed in both live action and VR formats for police services across the province of Ontario.

Performance studies, contemporary political performance and rights emergencies in the Americas, Latinx-Canadian theatre and performance, immersive performance in the public sphere, art activism, scenario-based pedagogy, and performance and critical theory.

Scenario Training to Improve Interactions Between Police and Individuals in Mental Health Crisis: Impacts and Efficacy

Year: 2017-2021

Role: Principal Investigator

Funded by: Insight Grant, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada


A Scenario-Based Training Curriculum and Evaluation Framework for Training Police to Respond to People in Mental Health Crisis

Year: 2019-2020

Role: Co-Investigator

Funded by: Ministry of the Solicitor General



Alvarez, Natalie. Theatre & War. Bloomsbury (in press). 

Alvarez, Natalie, Claudette Lauzon, and Keren Zaiontz, eds. Sustainable Tools for Precarious Times: Performance Actions in the Americas. Palgrave Macmillan, 2019. 

Alvarez, Natalie. Immersions in Cultural Difference: Tourism, War, Performance. University of Michigan Press, 2018.

Alvarez, Natalie, ed. Fronteras Vivientes: Eight Latina/o Canadian Plays. Playwrights Canada Press, 2013.

Alvarez, Natalie, ed.  Latina/o Canadian Theatre and Performance. Playwrights Canada Press, 2013.

Book chapters and articles (selected):

Alvarez, Natalie and Jimena Ortuzar. “Staging War at the Home Depot: Yoshua Okón’s Octopus and the Shadow Economy of Migrant Labour.” Theatre and Migration, eds. Yana Meerzon and Steve Wilmer. Palgrave Macmillan (forthcoming). 

Alvarez, Natalie. “Stop. Rewind. Replay. Performance, Police Training, and Mental Health Crisis Response.” Performance Research 25.8 (Aug. 2021): 69-71. 

Alvarez, Natalie and Jimena Ortuzar. “Quiara Hudes’s Water by the Spoonful and the Dramaturgy of Free Jazz.” Critical Perspectives on Contemporary Plays by Women, eds. Lesley Ferris and Penelope Farfan. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2021. 146-154. 

Alvarez, Natalie interviewed by Kim Solga. “Living the Interdiscipline: conceiving, developing, managing, and learning from a large-scale, multidisciplinary, scenario-based project supporting police de-escalation training in Ontario." Theatre and Performance in the Neoliberal University. Routledge, 2021. 137-47.

Alvarez, Natalie. “RUTAS | ROUTES: A Festival Commons of Hemispheric Interculturalidad.” Cambridge Companion to Festivals, ed. Ric Knowles. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020. 239-253. 

Alvarez, Natalie and Keren Zaiontz. “Performative Conduct for Precarious Times.” Sustainable Tools for Precarious Times: Performance Actions and Rights Emergencies in the Americas. Palgrave Macmillan, 2019. 41-65.

Alvarez, Natalie. “Roots, Routes, RUTAS.” Theatre Research in Canada, special issue on international festivals.  40.1 & 2 (2019): 27-41.

Alvarez, Natalie and Keren Zaiontz. “Feminist Performance Forensics: Installation, Testimony, Evidence.” Contemporary Theatre Review: Contemporary Feminist Theatre and Performance. 28.3 (2018): 285-298. 

Alvarez, Natalie. “Latina Performance North and Transnational Acciones Against Feminicide in the Americas.” (Re)Positioning the Latina/o Americas: Theatrical Histories and Cartographies of Power. Eds. Jimmy Noriega and Analola Santana. Southern Illinois University Press, 2018. 249-263.

Alvarez, Natalie. “Presumptive Intimacies and the Politics of Touch: ‘Strategic Culture’ in Simulations of War.” Performance Studies in Canada. Eds. Laura Levin and Marlis Schweitzer. McGill-Queens University Press, 2017. 161-183.

Alvarez, Natalie. “Foul Play: Soccer’s ‘Infamous Thespians’ and the Cultural Politics of Diving.” TDR: the Journal of Performance Studies 60:1(Spring 2016): 10-24. 

Alvarez, Natalie. “Affect Management and Militarism in Alberta’s Mock Afghan Villages: Training the ‘Strategic Corporal.’” Theatres of Affect. Ed. Erin Hurley. Playwrights Canada Press, 2014. 14-37.