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Shelby Brewster - Doctoral Student



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Education

MA, Theatre, The Ohio State University

BFA, Theatre Performance, Marshall University

BA, History, Marshall University

Biography

Shelby Brewster is a director, dramaturg, actor, teacher, and scholar originally from Colorado Springs, Colorado. She was a 2015-2016 Provost’s Humanities Predoctoral Fellow at Pitt. Her master's thesis, “Resisting the Body Invasion: Critical Art Ensemble, Tactical Media, and the Audience,” investigates the work of Critical Art Ensemble, a semi-anonymous collective of five tactical media practitioners. From 1998-2004, CAE created seven performances addressing biotechnology issues, including reproductive technologies, genetic testing, and genetically modified organisms. Drawing largely on CAE’s own writings and remaining performance documentation, this thesis explores the specific performance strategies employed by CAE, as well as contextualizes CAE’s work in the theatrical legacy of the avant-garde and in its own historical moment, marked by debate surrounding the possibilities of biotechnologies.

Shelby has presented papers at the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) and the American Society of Theatre Research (ASTR). She was selected to present at the 2014, ATHE Theatre History Focus Group Debut Panel, and in 2015, she organized and co-chaired a graduate student-specific panel at ATHE on archival research, offering multiple perspectives and provocations on working with the archive. In 2016, she was selected as a Graduate Student Fellow for the American Theatre and Drama Society Preconference, where she presented “Scientific Literacy and Authority in the Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan Science and Technology Project.”

She has served as the elected Graduate Student Representative for the ATHE Theatre History Focus Group for 2015-16, and is currently a member of the Nominating Committee. At the 2016 ATHE conference, she was elected to a two-year term as the Co-Chair of the Graduate Student Sub-Committee.

Shelby also maintains an active artistic practice. At Pitt, she directed Aglaonike’s Tiger, a new play by Claudia Barnett, in the fall of 2016. She directed a production of Spring Awakening (music by Duncan Sheik, book and lyrics by Steven Sater), produced by Machinery of Night Co. at The Ohio State University in May 2015. She has also directed several new works and one-act productions. Shelby works as an editor with Plays Inverse Press, a New York-based independent publisher of unconventional performance texts. As a stage manager, she has worked with the Lunar Stratagem (Huntington, WV) on three new works, and played at the Berkshire Fringe Festival (Great Barrington, MA) and English Theatre Berlin (Berlin, Germany). 

Conferences

“Now, Gentlemen, Time Me:” A Cognitive Approach to Nineteenth Century Surgical Performance.” Transfusions and Transductions: Science and Performance as Permeable Disciplines Working Group. American Society for Theatre Research. Minneapolis, MN. November 2016.

“Scientific Literacy and Authority in the Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan Project.” American Theatre and Drama Society Graduate Student Fellows Preconference. Association for Theatre in Higher Education. Chicago, IL. August 2016.

“Searching for Annie.” Remembering Through the Archive: A Graduate Student Theatre History Discussion. Association for Theatre in Higher Education. Montreal, Quebec, Canada. July 2015.

“The Reclamation of Indigenous Female Subjectivity in Annie Mae’s Movement and Princess Pocahontas and the Blue Spots.” Indigenous Research in the Americas Working Group. American Society for Theatre Research. Baltimore, MD. November 2014.

“’The Apollo Belvedere of the Stage:’ Annie Hindle’s Forgotten Performance of Masculinity.” Theatre History Focus Group Debut Panel. Association for Theatre in Higher Education. Scottsdale, AZ. July 2014.

"Surviving the Scandal: The Genesis of Catherine Norton Sinclair's Theatrical Career." The First Actresses: 1660s-1930s Symposium. The Ohio State University. Columbus, OH. May 2014.

"Mr. or Miss?: Annie Hindle's Powerful Performance of Masculinity." Position: The Power and Politics of Witnessing. Graduate Theatre Syndicate Symposium. The Ohio State University. Columbus, OH. February 2014.