The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

A glimpse into Christiana Harkulich’s theatrical world

Sia DeyKoontz
Christiana Harkulich teaches a class Tuesday, April 9, 2024, in the Doudua Fine Arts Center. Harkulich is a dramaturge and instructor for theater, film studies and women and gender studies.

From controlling the spotlight to building her own production company, Christiana Harkulich is a jack-of-all-trades in the theater department. 

Harkulich became an instructor of theater generalist at Eastern in 2020. However, she has spent her whole life dedicated to the arts.  

“I have loved theater for as long as I can remember,” she said. “I consider myself a theater historian, a director, a dramaturg, a producer, and because of that, I know a lot about a lot of different things, which is how I ended up teaching these generalist classes.” 

Harkulich teaches classes at Eastern such as contemporary world theater and experiencing the arts using the lenses of drag, gender and body image.  

While in graduate school, Harkulich was a light designer but eventually decided to branch out into different paths in the arts.  

She apprenticed at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, the oldest continually operating theatre in the United States.  

In 2006, Harkulich decided to become an entrepreneur and founded To The Wall Productions in Philadelphia.  

“A lot of theater people learn a lot of entrepreneur skills, because the way the industry works, if you want to be an actor or designer or director, you’re not just going to work for one company for your whole life,” Harkulich stated. “You’re going to work for many companies. So, you end up being a solo entrepreneur, and your product is yourself and the art you make.” 

Harkulich’s company produced gender bending pieces such as her production of Richard B. Sheridan’s musical “The Rival,” which was produced as a drag comedy and named one of the top productions of that year.  

However, in 2009, the financial crisis in Philadelphia devastated her company, along with many others and led to her company closing.  

Before coming to Eastern, Harkulich taught at Miami University in Ohio as a visiting assistant professor. But, in 2020 Harkulich’s career was once again impacted by an economic crisis, as COVID-19 caused her to lose her job.  

Harkulich said she was immediately attracted to Eastern due to the affordable theater degrees.  

“One of my favorite things about here is that I feel ethical telling people to go on and pursue your dream,” she said, “Study the thing that excites you because it’s not like you’re going into a lot of debt to do it here. Explore your curiosity. If it lights you up inside, why would you deny yourself that?”  

Harkulich has never stopped exploring her curiosity. She has published many research papers and manuscripts on a wide range of topics including Indigenous performance, decolonization, drag performance and even professional wrestling.  

Harkulich said that her research projects allow her “to do and explore a lot of different aspects of the world around us and stay current in art.”  

More details on Harkulich’s extensive work in the arts can be found on her website 


Audra Gullquist can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]. 

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About the Contributor
Audra Gullquist
Audra Gullquist, Assistant News Editor
Audra Gullquist is a junior journalism major. She previously served as editor-in-chief at The Navigator.

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