Ryder Thornton is a third year PhD student who is researching tragic innovation and philosophical synthesis in the plays of Eugene O’Neill. Secondary research interests include: theories of tragedy and the development of modern tragedy, the carnivalesque in medieval drama and medieval legacies in modern theatre. Working as a theatre artist for over 15 years, he has directed over 40 productions in the US, Eastern Europe and The Middle East. He has directed and assisted directors at New City Stage Company, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, The Wilma Theater, Walking Fish Theater, EgoPo Productions, Pennsylvania Academy of Vocal Arts, Temple Theaters, NYU, The Pearl Theatre Company, Classic Stage Company, Inad Theatre Company, White Heron Theatre Company and many others. He also co-founded Kaibutsu, a site-specific company in Philadelphia for which he performed, wrote and directed projects commissioned by The Philadelphia Live Arts Festival. He has been teaching acting and theatre studies classes at the college level for more than five years. He was a Fulbright Scholar in Budapest where he studied political allegories in Hungarian fiction. There he also staged performances at The Merlin Theatre, The Vidam Theatre and for The Budapest Baroque Orchestra. He graduated with distinction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and earned his M.F.A. in directing from Temple University. He received additional training from The American Conservatory Theater and SITI Company. He is also a playwright whose work has been produced in Budapest, Philadelphia and Chicago. He is a member of The Stage Directors and Choreographer's Society, the Dramatist Guild as well as an alumnus of Directors Lab West.