Nicole Hodges Persley

Nicole Hodges Persley
  • Professor of American Studies and African & African American Studies
  • Artistic Director of the KC Melting Pot Theatre


Dr. Nicole Hodges Persley is an award winning professor and director. She is a Professor of American Studies and African American Studies who specializes areas of Hip-hop Studies, Acting and Directing and African American performance in theater, film and television. An artist-scholar, Hodges Persley creates intentional bridges between the entertainment industry and academia. She is the author of Sampling and Remixing Blackness in Hip Hop Performance which explores the influence of Hip-Hop and African American culture on theater in the United States and England (University of Michigan Press, Spring 2021) and Breaking It Down: Auditioning for Artists of the Global Majority, a step-by-step audition guide for actors of color, co-written with Monica Ndounou of Dartmouth University (Applause Books/Roman & Littlefield, Fall 2021)  

Other projects currently in production include a book and documentary film on Fredi Washington entitled Not Tragic: Fredi Washington and The Radical Performance of Blackness and a digital humanities project, The Black Performance Project, is a digital interactive archive of Black popular performance in the African Diaspora from the early 20th century through the present. Her articles and book chapters on Hip-Hop culture, African and African American theater, Black popular culture, and sampling have appeared in American TheatreTheatre JournalTheatre Topics, Palimpsest, and Stage Director and Choreographers Journal as well as anthologies published by Oxford, Cambridge and Bloomsbury.

Hodges Persley is the Artistic Director of the KC Melting Pot Theatre, the premier African American theater company located in Kansas City. She is a critically acclaimed director with credits in theatre and film including sold-out productions of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, Angelina W. Grimke’s Rachel, Amiri Baraka’s Dutchman, Dominique Morriseau’s Sunset Baby and Lewis J Morrow’s Ain’t No Such Thing as Midnight Black. Her short film Epiphany (2020), written by Lewis J. Morrow, premiered at The Free State Festival in June 2020 and is currently on the film festival circuit.   She has co-created two streaming series Ville and Blurry, with collaborator Lewis J. Morrow, that are currently in pre-production to be shot in Kansas City in Fall 2020.  Dr. Hodges Persley is a member of SAG/AFTRA, AEA Eligible, Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, Stage Managers Association and the National Theatre Conference.

Social Media: @nikstagedoc (Instagram and Twitter)