Dr. Melissa C. Thompson identifies herself as an artist and a scholar, and she doesn’t quite understand why the two shouldn’t live happily ever after. She has worked with a diverse group of internationally-renowned artists--from Tim Miller of the “NEA Four” to Richard Gough and Mike Pearson of Cardiff Laboratory Theatre and the Centre for Performance Research--and her own work is inspired by embarrassing matters of the heart, the remembrance of trivial events, and depictions of physical vulnerability. She has a particular interest in autobiography without interpretation—the “this is what happened” rather than the “this is what it means”—and the location of stories within the body. Thompson received her Ph.D. in theatre and drama from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she focused on performance studies, gender studies, and cultural criticism, and her scholarship explores the dynamics of female fat in contemporary performance art, photography, and culture.
Before founding the experimental physical theatre company“The Sacred Heart Archive”, she performed with various contemporary performance art institutions, including the Centre for Performance Research in Aberystwynth, Wales. Her company is a multi-disciplinary arts project that uses physical performance, traditional songs, iconic images, found objects, folk tales and collaborative design to explore and re-envision personal and cultural memories.