Elliot Leffler is a scholar, director, performer, and facilitator of applied theatre projects. In his research and in the creative projects he leads, Elliot primarily explores how theatre can be used as a catalyst for intercultural and interfaith dialogue. He has led theatre projects with white, black, and coloured South Africans, with Jews and Palestinians in Israel, with Kurdish and Arab Iraqis, with urban US high school students, and with racially-diverse houses of worship. These creative and scholarly projects frequently take Elliot away from traditional theatre spaces: he has worked in summer camps, prisons, rural villages, and urban high schools. However, he has also worked closely with many prominent theatre companies, including Sojourn Theatre and Portland Playhouse (Portland), Theatre J (Washington, DC), Magnet Theatre (Cape Town, South Africa), and Lifeline Theatre (Chicago).
Elliot joined the faculty of Reed College in 2014 after completing his PhD in Theatre at the University of Minnesota. He also holds an MA in Applied Theatre from the University of Cape Town, and a BA in Theatre from Northwestern University. He frequently presents at national and international conferences, and has published in The Drama Review, Research in Drama Education, and Theatre Topics. His chapter, "Bursting the Bubble of Play: Making Space for Intercultural Dialogue," recently appeared in Megan Lewis’s and Anton Krueger’s book, Magnet Theatre: Three Decades of Making Space. He has won several awards, including a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship and a Dorot Fellowship. His teaching interests include acting, directing, devising, improvisation, theatre history (with an emphasis on 20th century South African theatre), performance of religion, and Theatre of the Oppressed.