Bertha C. Ferdman

Picture of Bertie    Ferdman

Associate Professor
Speech, Communications and Theatre Arts


Office: S-628L

Office Hours:

Phone: +1 (212) 220-8000;ext=5340

Ferdman (she/her) was born and raised in Puerto Rico to Argentinian parents and now calls Brooklyn home. She is professor of Theatre at Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY and is consortium faculty member of the Theatre Program at The Graduate Center.

Her research interests are in contemporary performance and curating practices, in particular immersive, participatory, site based performance, and urban dramaturgies. She is interested in live art practices that engage spectators in challenging preconceived notions of what theatre is and can be, as well as in interdisciplinary performance historiographies.
Her book, Off Sites: Contemporary Performance beyond Site-Specific (SIU Press, 2018), won the honorable mention for ATHE’s best book award. Off Sites rethinks current definitions of site-specific performance, a genre of theatre that adopts spaces outside of traditional theatre buildings and uses the experience of space, place, and situation as an integral component to the structure and content of a theatrical work. Contextualizing site-specific practices in both visual and performing arts discourses, the book traces the evolution of the term from an experimental staging practice to an engaged situational event.

She is co-editor of two books: Curating Dramaturgies (with Peter Eckersall, Routledge, 2021) and Methuen’s Drama Companion to Performance Art (with Jovana Stokic, Bloomsbury Press, 2020).

Bertie’s essays have appeared in PAJ, Theater, Performance Research, Theatre Journal, Theatre Survey, TDR, HowlRound, and TCG. She is co-editor of a special issue of Theater titled Performance Curators, as well as editor of a special section of PAJ on Urban Dramaturgies.

She has presented her research in various conferences, festivals, and universities including American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR), International Federation of Theatre Research (IFTR), Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE), Festival Internacional de Artes Escdnicas de Bahia (FIAC), University of Montreal, School of Visual Arts (SVA), and Martin E. Segal Theatre at The Graduate Center.

She has held numerous fellowships to support her research, among them: ASTR Research Fellowship Award; CUNY Collaborative Research Opportunity Grant; BMCC Faculty Fellowship; PSC-CUNY grants; CUNY Writing Fellowship; The Mellon School of Performance Research at Harvard University led by Martin Puchner; The Center for Place, Culture, and Politics at The Graduate Center led by David Harvey; a Magnet Fellowship, as well as a Chateaubriand Fellowship.

Before coming to BMCC, she curated many international events and exchanges at the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center including two Site-Specific Performance Symposia with Frank Hentschker and Gulgun Kayim; the U.S. premiere of Rodrigo Garcia Accidens; Staging Presence with Marianne Weems and Nick Kaye; and Urban Performance with Maud Le Floch and the late Neil Smith. She was a co-curator of mars2bklyn, a performance and arts exchange platform between Marseille and Brooklyn. For over six years, she was Artistic co-Director of Ex.Pgirl, a physical theatre company with whom she created Ablution, Waving Hello, 10 Plates, and Paris Syndrome, commissioned by HERE Arts Center. Ex.Pgirl won the Franklin Furnace award, were two-time HERE artists in residence, and received grants from NYSCA, DCA, and LMCC, among others.

Bertie is a graduate of Yale University, holds a Masters in Performance Studies from New York University Tisch School of the Arts, and earned her PhD from The Graduate Center, CUNY. She is a graduate of the Lecoq School of Physical Theatre in Paris.


Theatre (except Technical & Design), Performance Studies


  • B.A. Yale University, Theatre Studies,1996
  • Lecoq School of Physical Theatre, ,1997
  • M.A. New York University, Performance Studies,1999
  • Ph.D. The Graduate Center, CUNY, Theatre Studies,2010

Courses Taught

Research and Projects



Edited Journals:

Honors, Awards and Affiliations

  • MAGNET Dissertation Award
  • Franklin Furnace Award for Performance Art
  • DCA
  • BMCC Faculty Award

Additional Information