Michael Cadden

2023 Oscar Wilde Memorial Lecture

Michael Cadden served as Chair of the Peter B. Lewis Center for the Arts, home of the Programs in Creative Writing, Dance, Theater, Music Theater, Visual Arts, and the Princeton Atelier, from 2011-2019.

In 1995, he curated the groundbreaking exhibition, “Oscar Wilde: A Writer for the Nineties.” According to contemporary reviews,

“The exhibition located Wilde in the tumultuous world of late-Victorian England. It was a world loudly predicting its own death, a degenerate, decadent fin du monde; but it also proclaimed its power to be reborn as the modern . . . The Wilde of this exhibit is the Wilde of his personal drama . . . a Wilde inseparable from the larger cultural life of his age . . .”

Lawrence N. Danson, The Princeton University Library Chronicle, Vol. 57, No. 2 (WINTER 1996)

Michael Cadden is in his thirty-fifth year of teaching at Princeton; for nineteen of those years, he served as Director of the Program in Theater (which was for many of those years the Program in Theater and Dance). He began his career at the Yale School of Drama, as a dramaturg at the Yale Rep under Lloyd Richards and as a lecturer in the dramaturgy, directing, and acting programs at the Drama School. Since 1981, he’s taught summer programs for high school teachers of English at Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English, at its campuses in Vermont, Oxford, Santa Fe, Asheville, and Juneau.  His areas of interest include Modern and Contemporary Theater, Dramaturgy, Comedy, the history of theatrical directing, Shakespeare in Performance, Australian literature and theater, and Ancient Greek Drama in Performance. This summer, he will lead his third Global Seminar on “Re: Staging the Greeks,” centered in Athens and Epidauros. In 1993, Michael was honored to receive Princeton’s President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching. In 2003, he helped inaugurate the Roger S. Berlind Theater on the back lawn of the McCarter. In the Fall of 2017, he was among those who gleefully cut the ribbon to open the new Lewis Arts complex, an extraordinary milestone in Princeton’s plan to put the creative and performing arts at the heart of the Princeton experience.