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Cobina Gillitt

Assistant Professor of Theatre and Performance

Cobina has been teaching at Purchase since 2014. Professionally, she works as a dramaturg, a translator of Indonesian plays, and is a member of Teater Mandiri based in Jakarta, Indonesia.

More About Me

I have been a member of Jakarta-based Teater Mandiri since 1988. For over 30 years, I have been performing and holding workshops with this leading theatre group in Indonesia and internationally, as well as serving as its company manager. Most recently, I played the role of Mrs. Co in JPRUTT in May, 2018 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

I am an active member of the PEN Translation Committee and Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA). I have also served on the Board of Directors of PSi (Performance Studies International), Pentacle (an artist management support service and dance education organization) and was a member of the Theatre Arts Selection Committee for Fulbright for three years (2014, 2015, and 2016).

Research Interests

Dramaturgy and translation, Asian theatre and performance theory, interculturalism and the performance of culture, as well as American and European 20th-21st century avant-garde theatre theory, history, and practice.

Representative Courses

  • THP 2020 Introduction to Theatre and Performance Studies
  • THP 2885 Theatre Histories I
  • THP 3000 Dramaturgy
  • THP 3155 The Theatrical Avant-Garde: East-West Connections
  • THP 3170 Theatricality and Interculturalism
  • THP 3250 Theories of Drama and Performance
  • THP 3260 Theatre and Asia
  • THP 3725 Adapting Literature for Performance
  • THP 3890 Junior Seminar


Several of my translations of Indonesian plays into English can be found in anthologies, some of which I have edited and for which I have written the introductions, including:

  • Gillitt, Cobina, “Bedfellows” (Kawan Tidur)” by Hanna Fransisca in New Indonesian Plays ed. Cheryl Robson, Aurora Metro Books, 2019:144-169.
    • My recent translation of Bedfellows by Hanna Fransisca was read at the International Indonesian Dramatic Reading Festival in London, 2019.
  • Gillitt, Cobina OH by Putu Wijaya in 100 DRAPEN by Putu Wijaya Jakarta: Pentas Grafika, 2018: 695-709
  • Gillitt, Cobina et al., eds. The Islands of Imagination I: Modern Indonesian Plays University of Hawaii Press, 2015.
    • Includes my “Introduction” and translations of Ought by Putu Wijaya and Make Note by Rita Matu Mona
    • Published in conjunction with the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair where Indonesia was the guest country.
  • Gillitt, Cobina, ed. The Lontar Anthology of Indonesian Drama, Volume 3: New Directions, 1965–1998 University of Hawaii Press, 2017/Lontar Foundation, 2010.
    • Includes my “Introduction” and translations of Ought by Putu Wijaya, Noah’s Ark II by Aspar Paturusi, Puti Bungsu: The Last-Born Woman by Wisran Hadi (trans. with Kirstin Pauka and Eddy Pursubaryanto), and Via Negativa by Noorca Marendra Massardi (trans. with Evan Winet).
  • An excerpt of my translation of Shaytan by Putu Wijaya is in the January 2017 issue of the online journal AsymptoteClick on the play title to read the translated scene. The original Indonesian version is also available at the link.

Other publications include:

  • Gillitt, Cobina, “Founders of the Field: Rachel Cooper” Asian Theatre Journal Volume 34, Number 1, Spring 2017: 169-187.
  • Gillitt, Cobina “A Legacy of Theatricality: Antonin Artaud’s Encounter with Balinese Gamelan” in Performing Indonesia. eds. Andrew McGraw and Sumarsam New Series, Vol. 5 Freer Occasional Papers Series, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC., 2016. Click on title above to read online.
  • Gillitt, Cobina, “Afterword by the Dramaturg” Dirty Paki Lingerie by Aizzah Fatima. New York: NoPassport Press, 2015: 58-61.
  • Gillitt, Cobina “How the Fish Swims in Dirty Water: Antigone in Indonesia” in Antigone on the Contemporary World Stage eds. Helene Foley and Erin Mee. Oxford University Press, 2011: 156-167.
  • Gillitt, Cobina, “Founders of the Field: Richard Schechner” Asian Theatre Journal vol. 30, no. 2 (Fall) 2013: 276-294.
  • Gillitt, Cobina, “Indonesian Theatre and its Double: Putu Wijaya Paints a Theatre of Mental Terror” Performance of the Senses eds. Sally Banes and André Lepecki. New York and London: Routledge. 2006: 191-199.

Plus several other articles in the Asian Theatre Journal, The Drama Review, and Theatre Survey, as well as numerous contributions in encyclopedias including The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Stage Actors and Acting, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre and Performance, Columbia Encyclopedia of Modern Drama, among others, primarily about Indonesian theatre practitioners, performance genres, plays, and theatre companies.

  • You can hear me speak about contemporary Indonesian Theatre and my experience as a member of Jakarta-based Teater Mandiri in Theatre History Podcast #64: Learning about Modern Indonesian Theatre with Dr. Cobina Gillitt. July, 2018. A HowlRound Theatre History PodcastClick on link to hear.

Exhibitions / Performances

Representative dramaturgical work includes: 

  • Bedfellows by Hanna Fransisca, reading directed by Rosamund Hutt First Date: New Indonesian Plays Ovalhouse, part of the International Indonesian Dramatic Reading Festival and in conjunction with the 2019 London Book Fair, where Indonesia was the guest country, London (2019)
  • Time Bomb by N. Riantiarno, directed Ed Sylvanus Iskandar, The Inaugural Columbia University School of the Arts International Play Reading Festival (2018)
  • The Golem: A Horror Opera co-conceived with Elizabeth Swados, with music, lyrics  and direction by Elizabeth Swados, Stageworks, NYU (2015)
  • My Heart is in The East by Jessica Litwak, directed by Sabrina Peck, La Mama ETC (2015)
  • Dirty Paki Lingerie by Aizzah Fatima, directed by Erica Gould, The Flea (2013)
  • Clive by Jonathan Marc Sherman, directed by Ethan Hawke, The New Group (2013)
  • Company book by George Furth, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, directed by Kenneth Noel Mitchell, New Studio on Broadway, NYU (2013)
  • Spring Awakening book and lyrics by Steven Sater, music by Duncan Shiek, directed by Kenneth Noel Mitchell, Stageworks, NYU (2013)
  • Myself is in Pieces by Kate Maracle, reading directed by Erica Gould, Peter J. Sharpe Theatre, New York (2013)