Chandra Owenby Hopkins

Dean of Converse College for Women

Dr. Chandra Owenby Hopkins is the Dean of the Converse College for Women at Converse University. She is also an Associate Professor of Theatre, a theatre historian, and a director.

She is a proud graduate of Brenau University’s Women’s College where she majored in Theatre, minored in English, and was actively involved in the Gainesville Theatre Alliance. After Brenau, she went on to receive her M.F.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University and her Ph.D. in Theatre and Performance Studies from the University of Kansas.

Her teaching and research have been recognized by the Cato Award for Faculty Excellence, the Robert A. Schanke Theatre Research Award, and a national grant from the AARP Foundation and the Council of Independent Colleges. As a theatre historian, Dr. Hopkins has published journal articles and reviews in Theatre Journal, Theatre History Studies, and Theatre Survey.

Currently, she is working on her first book, titled Southern Stages: Memory and Space in U.S. Performance, with the University of Iowa Press. Having taught at both large public universities and private colleges, Chandra is passionate about her work leading the Converse College for Women where she advances the personal and professional growth of all students through a focus on leadership, service, and mentorship.

A dedicated advocate for women’s leadership and community partnerships across the upstate region of South Carolina, Chandra leads the annual Women’s Leadership Speaker Series and the Converse Women’s Leadership Conference, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Spartanburg Philharmonic and Spartanburg Community Schools.

Scholarly & Research Activity

An award-winning teacher and scholar, she has received the Cato Award for Faculty Excellence from Converse College and the Robert A. Schanke Theatre Research Award from the Mid-America Theatre Conference. Her work has also been recognized by a grant from the AARP and the Council of Independent Colleges to develop and direct a devised production, Growing Old: Food and Oral History in Performance, with college and older adult community participants which explored social isolation and food insecurity. Her research explores the intersections between theatrical performance and collective memory ranging from musical theatre to the cultural histories of the American south. She has published articles and reviews in Theatre History Studies, Theatre Annual, Theatre Survey, Theatre Journal, and a chapter in Palgrave’s Performing Objects and Theatrical Things.


  • Ph.D. in Theatre and Performance Studies - the University of Kansas
  • MFA - Virginia Commonwealth University
  • BA in Theatre - Brenau University