Cleary's primary research and production interests are in North American
theater and political performance, women playwrights and performers, playwriting and

Her article on Naomi Wallace's In the Heart of America appeared in the Spring 2002
Journal of American Drama and Theatre. 

Cleary has directed Wallace's Slaughter City and The Retreating World, both at
Macalester, and she is writing a book about Wallace's work. 

Cleary has directed readings of new works by Jerome and McKnight Fellows at the
Minneapolis Playwrights' Center. Cleary's own recent plays, Findings Uncertain:
A Play about Adoption in Three Pieces, and Break: A Short Play about Women and Work, have
received readings at the Playwrights'Center in Minneapolis. 

She is currently researching African American performance under the 1930s Federal Theater
Project and is co-authoring a book on the Buffalo Historical Marionettes of the WPA. She
has written on political performance from the 1960s and feminist dance performance
dealing with incarceration. 

Cleary has worked with and studied the internationally known Peter Schummann and The
Bread and Puppet Theater of Vermont. 

EDUCATION: BA Middlebury College; M.A., PhD University of California, Berkeley. 

Cleary has been teaching at Macalester since 1993. 

Journal Articles


Maggie 'Maggie's brain', Theatre Journal (2007)


Ngema The 'Zulu', Theatre Journal (2000)

Plays and Playwriting

Break (2003)

Dialectical Soup (2002)

Contributions to Books


The Buffalo Historical Marionettes (with P. Rachleff), Encyclopedia of New York State (2002)

Directing and Dramaturgy

3 Figure$; Director/Lead Collaborator (with Emily Zimmer), Naked Stages Performance Series (2013)