Denis Butkus

Denis Butkus
Visiting Assistant Arts Professor of Theater Art

Denis Butkus is a Visiting Assistant Arts Professor of Theater Art at NYU Shanghai. He is an Associate Artist of Theater Mitu, a permanent ensemble of anti-disciplinary collaborators committed to expanding the definition of theater through methodical experimentation with the form. He is a co-creator of the company’s productions House (or how to lose an orchard in 90 minuets or less), Remnant, Juárez: A Documentary Mythology, Hamlet/UR – Hamlet, and A Dream Play.

As a performer, director, and writer his work has been presented internationally in Abu Dhabi, UAE; Beirut, Lebanon; Cairo, Egypt; Juárez, Mexico; Santiago, Chile; Torun, Poland; Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina; and Vienna, Austria. Throughout the United States at MASS MoCA, Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans, Los Angeles Theater Center, Ignite Arts/Cara Mia Theatre, Z Space, North American Cultural Laboratory, The Ensemble Theatre Company of Santa Barbara, The Long Wharf Theatre, The Intiman Theater, Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble, Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, and The Sacramento Theatre Company. In New York City at The Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lincoln Center Theater, Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, Theatre for a New Audience, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Rising Phoenix Repertory, New York Theater Workshop, The Drama League, The Mint Theater Company, Irish Repertory Theater, The Summer Play Festival, P.S. 122, HERE Arts Center, The Flea Theater, Ars Nova, The Public Theater, Cherry Lane Theatre, Red Bull, and Keen Company. On film, his work has been presented at The Belgrade International Film Festival, The Chelsea Film Festival, The Sarajevo Film Festival, The Savannah Film and Video Festival, and the Rome Film Festival.

His writing and research focuses on Anti-Disciplinary Creation Practices, Film and New Media in Performance, and Documentary and Verbatim Theatre involving artists and collaborators in Africa (Egypt, Djibouti), The Middle East (The UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Jordan, Palestine/Israel, Lebanon, and Turkey), South and East Asia (India, Nepal, Thailand, and Japan), and throughout the United States. He has taught courses at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and has led workshops and master classes at New York University Abu Dhabi, Cairo University, Duoc UC, Primary Stages’ Einhorn School of Performing Arts, MCC Theater’s Youth Company, and with Theater Mitu as part of the company’s Artist Intensives in New York City, Japan, and India. Denis was awarded the Newington-Cropsey Fellowship for his graduate research on Shakespeare.


  • MA
    New York University Gallatin School
  • BFA
    The Juilliard School of Drama

Research Interests

  • Anti-Disciplinary Creation Practices
  • Film and New Media in Performance
  • Documentary and Verbatim Theatre 

Courses Taught

  • Theory and Practice of Acting
  • Performance Art