Les Gray

Les Gray
Postdoctorate Fellow, University of Missouri Department of Theatre

Bachelor of Arts in Theatre, UNC Charlotte (2012)
Master of Arts in Theatre Arts, University of Oregon (2015)
PhD in Theatre and Performance Studies, University of Maryland (2019)

Hometown: Advance, NC

Leslie Gray is sometimes surprised to find herself in a PhD program. "When I transferred to UNC Charlotte, I had no intention of going to grad school and had less-than-ambitious goals for my life and career," she says. But she found encouragement and direction from the faculty. "The professors in the Department of Theatre supported my growth intellectually and interpersonally in ways that allowed me to find my own path rather than embracing someone else’s. I was exposed to key scholars and mentors that shaped my ways of thinking about the world of the theatre and what it means to be a responsible cultural producer."

Recently completing a master degree, Leslie is now pursuing her doctorate in Theatre and Performance Studies at University of Maryland, College Park, where her research interests include performances of blackness and domestic space. She is also a TA. Leslie got her first taste of teaching at UNC Charlotte, assisting Dr. Jeanmarie Higgins. 

"She gave me the opportunity to present information I was passionate about to my peers. At one point, we were discussing tropes and there was a moment when a student gave an example that I had never considered, but was also the exact entry point that the class needed to get on board with me in the lecture. After that moment, the discussion was extremely fruitful and insightful. The opportunity allowed me to realize what a dynamic and fascinating place the classroom can be when you meet students where they are and hold the space for them to truly engage."

Leslie says that the Department of Theatre is a place where students can "come as they are."

"The department has wonderful professors and instructors that will support and guide you in any part of your journey and encourage you to push the boundaries of theatre as an art and a discipline."