Santa Clara University

Theatre and Dance department

Michael ZampelliMichael Zampelli, S.J.

Father Michael Zampelli, SJ, the Paul L. Locatelli, SJ University Professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance, is currently serving as Rector of the Santa Clara Jesuit Community.

An Associate Professor, Michael has been on the faculty at Santa Clara since 1998 teaching courses in performance studies, gender/sexuality in performance, theatre history and literature.  His major research interests include the early modern Italian professional theatre, particularly the work of actor/dramatist Giovan Battista Andreini (1576-1654); religious criticism of the theatre; the dynamics of Jesuit performance; and the spiritual functions of theatre, especially in the work of the 10 Hrotsvit of Gandersheim.  His scholarly work has appeared in journals such as Theatre Survey, Text and Presentation, and Religion and Theatre.  He has also contributed essays on pre- and early modern performance to several book volumes, including From Rome to Eternity: Catholicism and the Arts in Italy, 1550-1650 (Brill); The Jesuits II: Cultures, Sciences, and the Arts, 1540-1773 (University of Toronto Press), Hrotsvit of Gandersheim: Contexts, Identities, Affinities, and Performances (University of Toronto Press), Catholic Theatre and Drama: Critical Essays (McFarland and Company), and A Companion to Hrotsvit of Gandersheim (fl 960) (Brill).

In conjunction with his teaching and research, Father Zampelli also directs; he is particularly interested in the process of retrieving historical performances for contemporary audiences.  He has served as stage director (in national and international venues) for four Jesuit-inspired performance pieces: The Judgment of Solomon and The Death of Saul and Jonathan by Marc-Antoine Charpentier; Patientis Christi Memoria by Johannes Bernhard Staudt, and San Ignacio de Loyola by Domenico Zipoli, Martin Schmid, and an anonymous composer.  For SCU’s Main Stage, Michael has co-directed, with Kristin Kusanovich and Greg Schultz, The Saint Plays by Erik Ehn, Metamorphoses by Mary Zimmerman, and The King Stag by Carlo Gozzi.  In 2005 he directed a Fess Parker Studio production of Stop Kiss by Diana Son.

Michael has lectured at the Norton Simon Museum (Pasadena, California) on the theatrical contexts for Guido Cagnacci’s “Martha Rebuking Mary for her Vanity,” and at Northwestern University on early modern Jesuit theatre.  He has delivered “Depth of Thought and Depth of Imagination: Challenging Superficiality” at Marquette University, Loyola University Chicago, the University of San Francisco and Loyola Marymount University.

Father Zampelli’s pastoral work includes very fulfilling ministries to LGBTQ Catholics and to the incarcerated in the Diocese of San Jose.


AB    English       1982 Georgetown University

MA    Humanities 1986 Fordham University

MDiv Theology    1992 Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley

STM  Theology    1993 Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley

PhD   Drama       1998 Tufts University