Summer Spotlight on Theatre Arts Graduate Students

The department is delighted to welcome two new PhD students this year. Victoria LaFave joins us after completing her MA in English from Auburn University. Liz Kurtzman joins us after finishing her MA in English at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Continuing Students

Marisa Andrews worked as an Archival Assistant / Grad Intern with Penguin Random House’s “Mr. Rogers: A Visual History” as well as background on Spectrum’s “Man Hunt: Lone Wolf” and Netflix’s upcoming series “I Am Not Okay With This”, both out next year. She also will start a two-year term as a student member of the Dietrich Arts & Sciences Graduate School Council this year.

Nic Barilar spent his summer researching and writing his dissertation and revising his essay for the edited collection Beckett Beyond “the Normal.” At ATHE, he presented his paper, “Bringing James Joyce Back to Dublin: From Censorship to Performance” and was elected the graduate student rep for the Theatre History focus group. He also gave a pre-show talk for Throughline Theatre’s production of André.

Shelby Brewster participated in the Humanities Without Walls Pre-Doctoral Career Diversity Summer Workshop for three weeks in Chicago. She worked as a Public Humanities Fellow at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. At ATHE, she presented two papers "Toward Humanity-as-Species: Cross-hatched History in Bruce Norris’s The Low Road and "Witnessing Extinction: Remembrance Day for Lost Species." She also was awarded the ATDS Graduate Student Research Award for her dissertation research.

Courtney Colligan spent several weeks in London and Stratford researching her dissertation on the Donmar Shakespeare Trilogy. She presented a paper at ATHE and continues to work on preparations for the Archive Theatre Project’s next production.

Sean Cook trained with the Michael Chekhov Association for two weeks. He participated as a performer in week one where he learned the basics of the technique. His instructors for week one included; Joanna Merlin, Bethany Caputo, Craig Mathers, and Ragnar Friedank. The second week was dedicated to participants interested in teaching the technique. During the second week he trained with Ted Pugh, Dawn Arnold, and Sol Garre. He also participated in the SITI Company's weeklong workshop at Boise State University. The instructors for that session were Barney O'Hanlan and Stephen Duff Webber. He trained in both the Suzuki method and Viewpoints.

Vicki Hoskins accepted a job as a Visiting Assistant Professor at the College of Saint Rose. She also presented part of her dissertation on Playbill at the Association for Theatre in Higher Education annual conference in Orlando (ATHE).

Amanda Olmstead worked as the Associate Choreographer on “Bright Star” with Front Porch Theatricals and presented a piece related to her dissertation at ATHE on a panel she coordinated called “Come and Meet Those Dancing Feet: Evolution and Meanings of Dance in Musical Theatre.” She also shadowed choreographer Stephanie Klemons at the CLO on “Rock of Ages” as part of her dissertation research.

Emma Squire attended Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh’s Work Forces Workshop, received a scholarship from and attended the Summer Yiddish Seminar in Warsaw, Poland, and did archival and field research in Vilnius, Lithuania 

Chris Staley had a busy summer that mostly centered around Suzuki Method research. In June he spent a month with SITI Company on his third summer intensive at Skidmore. He left in July for Toga Mura in the Japanese Alps to train again with the Suzuki Company of Toga for three weeks. He traveled to key sites in Japan such as the Kabuki-za and Minamiza theatres ; Hiroshima to see one of the oldest surviving Noh stages; and to Osaka’s 400 year old theatre district. He had a private lesson in Noh acting with a master teacher in Tokyo and then returned to Toga Mura to see the opening week of the Theatre Olympics. His first publication — of a chapter contribution on empathy and theatre — was released in June; also in June, his abstract was accepted to contribute to a new compendium on Theatre and the Macabre upcoming next year.