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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.

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 I have edited and for which I have written the introductions, including:

  • The Islands of Imagination I: Modern Indonesian Plays (University of Hawaii Press, 2015)
  • The Lontar Anthology of Indonesian Drama, Volume 3: New Directions, 1965–1998 (University of Hawaii Press, 2017/Lontar Foundation, 2010)
  • An excerpt of my translation of Shaytan by Putu Wijaya is in the January 2017 issue of the online journal AsymptoteClick on title to read.
  • My recent translation of Bedfellows by Hanna Fransisca was read at the International Indonesian Dramatic Reading Festival in London, 2019

Other publications include:

  • A Legacy of Theatricality: Antonin Artaud’s Encounter with Balinese Gamelan” in Performing Indonesia (Smithsonian Institution, 2016) Click on title to read.
  • “How the Fish Swims in Dirty Water: Antigone in Indonesia” in Antigone on the Contemporary World Stage (Oxford University Press, 2011)
  • Several 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.
  • You can hear me speak about Indonesian Theatre and my experience as a member of Jakarta-based Teater Mandiri in a HowlRound Theatre History Podcast. Click on link to hear.

Presentations / Conferences

Recent conference papers include:

  • “Regulating Morality in Indonesia: a View from the Theatre” The 19th Northeastern Conference (NEC) on Indonesia: “On Rising Fear, Anxiety, and Producing the ‘Other’ in Indonesia” Yale University, April, 2019
  • FATIMAH:  Indonesian Theatre as Education and Entertainment” Fatimah’s World: The Hadhrami in Indonesia: A Festival of Diversity University of Indonesia, Depok, Indonesia, April 2018
  • “Cultural Traps and Mishaps: Translating Local Cultures on Stage” Association for Asian Performance Annual Conference, Las Vegas, August 2017
  • “Defining the Field: What is Asian Theatre Studies?” Association for Asian Performance Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada, July 2015
  • “Contemporary Asian Theatre in Globalization” (Plenary) International Conference on Theatre ISBI Bandung, Indonesia, November, 2014
  • “The Role of the Dramaturg: Problematic Necessity?” Re-Imagining Dramaturgy. The Snapple Theatre, New York, NY October 2014

Exhibitions / Performances

Past dramaturgical work includes: 

  • Time Bomb by N. Riantiarno, directed Ed Sylvanus Iskandar (2018)
  • The Golem: A Horror Opera co-conceived with Elizabeth Swados, with music, lyrics  and direction by Elizabeth Swados (2015)
  • My Heart is in The East by Jessica Litwak, directed by Sabrina Peck (2015)
  • Dirty Paki Lingerie by Aizzah Fatima, directed by Erica Gould (2013)
  • Clive by Jonathan Marc Sherman, directed by Ethan Hawke (2013)