Ayanna Thompson is a Regents Professor of English at Arizona State University, and the Director of the Arizona Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies (ACMRS). In 2021, she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Thompson is the author of Blackface (Bloomsbury, 2021), Shakespeare in the Theatre: Peter Sellars (Arden Bloomsbury, 2018), Teaching Shakespeare with Purpose: A Student-Centred Approach, co-authored with Laura Turchi (Arden Bloomsbury, 2016), Passing Strange: Shakespeare, Race, and Contemporary America (Oxford University Press, 2011), and Performing Race and Torture on the Early Modern Stage (Routledge, 2008). She wrote the new introduction for the revised Arden3 Othello (Arden, 2016), and is the editor of The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare and Race (Cambridge University Press, 2021), Weyward Macbeth: Intersections of Race and Performance (Palgrave, 2010), and Colorblind Shakespeare: New Perspectives on Race and Performance (Routledge, 2006). She is currently collaborating with Curtis Perry on the Arden4 edition of Titus Andronicus.
Thompson serves as a Shakespeare Scholar in Residence at The Public Theater in New York, and currently serves on the boards of the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the National Parks Arts Foundation, and Play On Shakespeare. She is a past-President of the Shakespeare Association of America.