Carla Melo

Photo of Carla Melo.
Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream
Telephone number
Building HW 419
Theatre and Performance Studies


Carla Melo (Ph.D., UCLA) is a researcher, director and performer invested in creating and thinking critically about the intersections of performance, social engagement and activism. Both her scholarly and artistic research explore theatre and performance practices that place corporeality, public space, and the tensions between memory and history, center-stage. Through a decolonial and hemispheric lens, she has paid particular attention to performances from across the Americas, with a focus on Latin American, Afro-diasporic, immigrant and indigenous populations.

Her solo and ensemble-based works have been seen in Brazil, U.S. and Canada and her research has been published in volumes and journals such as Canadian Theatre Review, The Drama Review, Latin American Theatre Review, Latin American Cultural StudiesTheatre Journal and the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics’ E-misferica, among others. Most recently, she has published on her own intercultural urban performance work in the Routledge Companion to Butoh Performance (2018) and has contributed to Sustainable Tools for Precarious Times: Performance Actions in the Americas (Palgrave, 2019). She is currently working on a monograph titled Rites to Re-Exist: Performance and Collective Memory in Contemporary Brazil.

Prior to joining UTSC, Carla served as Assistant Professor at Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute, working primarily in the “Theatre and Performance of the Americas” program (2007-2013). Since moving to Canada in 2014, she has taught at York, Brock, Ryerson and McMaster universities, joined the independent theatre scene in Toronto and founded her own company: CorpOLuz Theatre.


Ph.D., Theater and Performance Studies. University of California, Los Angeles, August 2007
Dissertation: Squatting Dystopia: Performative ‘Invasions’ of Real and Imagined Spaces in Contemporary Brazil
M.A. with Special Recognition, Theater Arts. California State University, Los Angeles, 2001
B.F.A. with Honors, Fine Arts - focus on Performance Art. Otis College of Art, 1997


Canadian Association for Theatre Research;
Aluna Theatre – Board of Directors;
Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics;
Latin American Studies Association;
Brazilian Studies Association

Teaching Interests

Theatre, Performance and Activism; Devising; Acting; Performance Analysis; Theatre and Collective Memory; Theatre and Performance in the Americas;

Research Interests

Theatre/Performance and Activism in the Americas, Performance and Public Space, Politics of Memory, Decolonial Studies, Collective Creation/Devising

Awards and Grants

Selected List:
Toronto Arts Council Grant: Theatre Projects (2022/2019/2017);
Experiential Education Fund; University of Toronto Scarborough (November 2020);
Teaching Equipment Grant; Centre for Teaching & Learning, University of Toronto Scarborough (Nov. 2020);
Canadian Council of the Arts: Concept and Realization (September 2020);
Ontario Arts Council Grant: Theatre Projects (2020/2019/2017);
Ontario Arts Council Grant: Theatre Creators Reserve (Spring 2015)


Recent Publications

Melo, Carla. “The Political is Personal: Performing Surreal Bodies of Evidence in Necropolitical Brazil.” Spectacular Uprisings: Gender, Sexuality, and Art in Latin America and the Caribbean, edited by Brenda Werth and Katherine Zien, University of Michigan Press. (Forthcoming)

Melo, Carla. “Your Trash is my Sustenance: Recycling the Image of 'Waste Pickers’.” Sustainable Tools for Precarious Times: Performance Actions in the Americas, edited by Natalie Alvarez and Keren Zaiontz, Palgrave & Macmillian, 2019, pp. 151-172.
Edited book
Print ISBN 978-3-030-11556-2
eBook ISBN 978-3-030-11557-9

Melo, Carla. "When the Revolt of the Flesh Becomes Political Protest: The Nomadic Tactics of Butoh-Inspired Interventions." Routledge Companion To Butoh Performance, edited by Rosemary Candelario and Bruce Baird, Routledge, 2018, pp. 381-387.
Edited book
Hardback ISBN 9781138691094 
Paperback ISBN 9780367517908
eBook ISBN 9781315536132 

"We Are All Still Here: Re-Existing Upon the Fragile Shore." The Hour of All Things and Other Plays, by Caridad Svich, edited by Patrick Duggan, Intellect UK, 2017, pp. 119-126.
Edited book: Plays and critical essays
Hardcover ISBN 978178320848
eBook ISBN 9781783208500



Siranoush (Director/co-creator). Written and performed by Lara Arabian. Presented as a work-in-progress in October 2019, at Caminos Festival, produced by Aluna Theatre and Native Earth Performing Arts. Daniel Spectrum. Full performance to premiere at the RUTAS International Performance Festival, in Toronto. Sept.-October 2022.

Photo by Robert Brodey

CurARTEras: Ligue já!

CurARTEras: Ligue já! (Co-creator/performer, with Isis Barra Costa) Multilingual online performance art piece (English, Spanish, Portuguese): at the performance series “Onda Latina: Las Cybernautas” produced by Paloma Martinez-Cruz at Ohio State University. October 2020.

Photo by Carla Melo

Our Lady of Delicias.

Our Lady of Delicias. (Actor) Written by David Fancy and directed by Monica Dufault. Essential Collective Theatre. Presented at FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, St. Catharines. March 2018.

Photo by Cortney Peters

Blood Weddings (Actor) by Garcia Lorca. Directed by Soheil Parsa. A Modern Times Stage Company and Aluna Theatre co-production. Buddies in Bad Times, Toronto. March 2017.

Death of the King.

Death of the King. (Assistant Director) Written by Bahram Beyzaie. Directed by Soheil Parsa. Modern Times Stage Company, The Theatre Centre, Toronto. March 2016.

Photo by Jeremy Mimnagh

Upon the Fragile Shore.

Upon the Fragile Shore. (Director) Written by Caridad Svich75 min. CorpOLuz Theatre Production, SummerWorks Performance Festival, The Theatre Centre, Toronto. August 2015. 

Photo by Shane Miersch