Courtney Bailey Parker is a St. Louis based actor, playwright, and professor who is passionate about creating meaningful, culturally conscious work for the stage. Her artistic priorities are international and cross-cultural collaboration, responsible storytelling, and the consistently vulnerable work of blurring the lines between writer and performer. Her most recent play, Immersion Play, premiered in New York City at The Connelly Theater with She NYC Arts, an Off-Broadway theatre festival celebrating women writers (Dir. Sandy Doria).
She earned her PhD in English Literature from Baylor University in 2016, with a focus on Renaissance Drama, the plays of William Shakespeare, and performance studies. She also holds an MA in English from Baylor and a BA in English from Mercer University. Courtney is an alum of the renowned SITI Company Summer Intensive (2018), where she trained in Viewpoints and Suzuki Method with SITI Company members. The 2018 intensive culminated with a workshop performance of THE BACCHAE, led by SITI’s Anne Bogart. A proud member of the St. Louis theatre community, Courtney has been privileged to work with companies like the New Jewish Theatre (District Merchants), SATE Ensemble Theatre (Doctor Faustus; Of Mice and Men), Mustard Seed Theatre (The Last Days of Judas Iscariot), and Theatre Nuevo (Fefu and her Friends). In an interview for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, local actor-director Jacqueline Thompson describes Courtney as “a rising star and someone to watch.”
Currently, Courtney is an Assistant Professor of English and Theatre Studies in Greenville University’s Center for Visual Culture and Media Studies (CVCMS), where she teaches courses in theatre history, Shakespeare, British literature, writing, and dramatic literature. At GU, she was awarded the Archer Award for Distinguished Faculty Scholarship in 2018. As part of her work as a researcher of early modern literature and performance studies, her first book, Spectrums of Shakespearean Crossdressing: The Art of Performing Women, is forthcoming with Routledge Press. The book considers the wide spectrum of theatrical crossdressing for women’s roles in Shakespearean drama, from passing to drag. Her academic and popular writing has also appeared in HowlRound, Cahiers Elisabethains, ANQ, Praxis, Literature and Belief, Christianity Today, and Mississippi Quarterly.