Kari Barclay

(they/them, he/him)

  • Visiting Assistant Professor of Theater

Areas of Study


  • PhD, theater and performance studies, Stanford University, 2021
  • BA, theater studies and political science, Duke University 2016


Kari Barclay is a writer, director, and researcher working at the intersection of performance and politics. They have created productions regionally and in New York at venues including the San Francisco Mime Troupe, MirrorBox Theater, and Manbites Dog. Their original play CAN I HOLD YOU? was the first full-length piece about asexuality performed in the U.S. and enjoyed a sold-out run in San Francisco and workshop in New York. Their newest play STONEWALLIN’ is the winner of the Southern Queer Playwriting Festival and is under a yearlong development process in Richmond, VA.

Kari’s research interests include theater history, queer and trans performance, gender and sexuality studies, applied theater, and asexuality studies. Their book project, Directing Desire, examines the rise of intimacy directing, consent-based approaches to staging sex and sexuality in contemporary theater. Kari has trained with Claire Warden, Tonia Sina, Adam Noble, Chelsea Pace, Laura Rikard, and other artists who choreograph intimacy for Broadway and HBO alike. They integrate this work in theory and practice to advance racial and gender equity in the entertainment industry.

Kari earned their PhD in theater and performance studies at Stanford University in 2021. Their writing has been published in The Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, Arab Stages, and Theatre Bay Area.

Spring 2023

Individual or Group Projects — THEA 225
Global Theater Histories: Early Modern to Contemporary — THEA 253
Staging Consent and Intimacy in Theater — THEA 271
Staging Consent and Intimacy in Theater — THEA 271OC
Rehearsal and Performance-Full — THEA 281F
Rehearsal and Performance-Half — THEA 281H
Senior Project-Full — THEA 425F
Senior Project-Half — THEA 425H

Fall 2023

Live Performance, Live Technology — FYSP 112
Individual or Group Projects — THEA 225
Foundations of Theater — THEA 252
Senior Project-Full — THEA 425F
Senior Project-Half — THEA 425H


Kari Barclay Article Published in "Theatre Topics"

May 3, 2023

Assistant Professor of Theater Kari Barclay's newest article on asexuality in theater was recently published in March 2023's Theatre Topics. The article builds on their play, Can I Hold You?, which Kari wrote in 2018 and was one of the first plays to explore asexual identity.