Philadelphia Theatre Research Symposium

PTRS Philadelphia Theatre Research Symposium Villanova Theatre MA Masters in Theatre conference
Keynote speaker and event title

PTRS Theme 2018

"Community Outreach in the Arts"

Hear from the nation's most distinguished scholars and innovative practitioners as they examine:

- How do we make space for community in the arts, and for arts in the community?

- What are innovative ways to involve audiences in the process of theatre making?

- What are the responsibilities fo an artist when telling the stories of a community?

Schedule of Events


7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

Emerging Scholars Panel & Kickoff Reception

(Bartley 1011)

Casey Berner, M.A. Candidate, Villanova University: Three Men, Six Musicals, One Singular Sensation: The Public Theater’s New Play Development from ‘Hair’ to ‘Hamilton’

Samantha Lazar, Ph.D Candidate, Yale University: Philadelphian Devised Theater and the Cultivation of Community

Yannick Trapman-O’Brien: “The Question Remains”: How performance as research can lead to research as a form of performance




9:00 am - 10:30 am

Workshop Training w/ Michael John Garcés

(Vasey Theatre)


10:40 am - 11:40 am

Documentary Theatre Panel

(Vasey Theatre)

Diana Benea, Ph.D, University of Bucharest/CUNY-The Graduate Center: The Ethical and Political Stakes of Oral History in/as Performance: Ping Chong and Company’s ‘Undesirable Elements’ Series (1992-)

Liz Green, MSW Candidate, Temple University: Therapeutic Interventions in Documentary Theatre: A Case Study of Older Adults in an Oral History Performance Process

Caitlin Kane, Ph.D Candidate, Cornell University: “The Loneliness Project”: Cultivating Intergenerational Connection through Documentary Performance


11:50 am - 1:05 pm

Audience Engagement/Education Outreach Panel

(Vasey Theatre)

Lisa Brenner, Ph.D; Chris Ceraso, MFA; and Kimani Fowlin, MFA, Drew University: Community Based Theatre Partnerships: Drew University and Newark Public Schools

Tara Demmy, MA Candidate; Heather Lemos, MA Candidate; and Megan Schumacher, MA Candidate, Villanova University: Villanova Theatre’s Education Dramaturgy: A Year in Review

Susan Rotkovitz, MFA and Steven Satta, MFA, Towson University: Theatre Artist/Teaching: A Model for Creating Audience Engagement and Relevance in the 21st Century



1:05 pm - 3:05 pm

Brown Bag Lunch Session w/Philadelphia Artists

(Vasey Theatre - breakout sessions to follow)

Suzana Berger, University of Pennsylvania

Thomas Choinacky, Applied Mechanics

Lee Ann Etzold, Wilma Theater

Allison Heishman, Simpatico Theatre

LaNeshe Miller-White, Theatre in the X

Kittson O’Neill, Shakespeare in Clark Park

Erlina Ortiz and Gabriela Sanchez, Power Street Theatre Company


3:15 pm - 4:30 pm

Space and Locality Panel

(Vasey Theatre)

Julia Bumke, MFA: “Opera For All”: Embracing Theatricality to Cultivate 21st Century Opera Audiences

Andrew Starner, Ph.D, University of Pennsylvania: The Right to Remain: Theatre Legitimating Community and Forgiveness

Hank Willenbrink, Ph.D, University of Scranton: Architecture as a Driver for Site-specific and Community-Based Devising Practices: The Case of ‘Proprioception’


4:45 pm - 5:30 pm

Michael John Garcés Keynote Address

(Vasey Theatre)

Closing Reception to follow


About PTRS

The goal of the Philadelphia Theatre Research Symposium is to provide a forum for theatre scholars and practitioners to share their research and enter into a dialogue about current trends in theatrical practice and scholarship. The Philadelphia Theatre Research Symposium is free and open to the public.

For more information, please contact Alexandra King, Graduate Research Scholar and Coordinator of this event.


For Conference Speakers

PTRS Philadelphia Theatre Research Symposium Villanova Theatre MA

Past Conferences

Conference Theme: New Plays and New Play Development

Keynote Speakers: Kwame Kwei-Armah and Gavin Witt, Balitmore Center Stage

Conference Theme: “‘Our Day Will Come’: Reclaiming the Feminine in Irish Theatre.”
Keynote Speaker: Garry Hynes, Director and Artistic Director (Druid Theatre Co and Abbey Theatre)

Conference Theme: Rewriting Histories: Rewriting the Past and the Plays of Sarah Ruhl
Keynote Speaker: Sarah Ruhl, playwright

Conference Theme: Woman in Theatre: Celebrating women's contributions to American theatre as artists, scholars, and leaders
Keynote Speaker: Emily Mann, Playwright, Director, and Artistic Director of McCarter Theatre

Conference Theme: Ethnicity, Identity, and Hybridity; The work of the Pan Asian Repertory Theatre, Asian and Asian-American Playwrights
Keynote Speaker: Tisa Chang, Producing Artistic Director of the Pan Asian Repertory Theater

Conference Theme: The Work of Elizabeth LeCompte, The Wooster Group, The Avant Garde, Textual Intervention, and Experimental Theatre Collectives
Keynote Speaker: Elizabeth LeCompte

Conference Theme: The Work of Anna Deavere Smith,Critical Cultural Performance, Performance Ethnography and Autoethnography
Keynote Speaker: Anna Deavere Smith

Conference Theme: The Limits of Performance
Keynote Speaker: Richard Schechner

Conference Theme: Production Concept and Performance Analysis
Keynote Speaker: Blanka Zizka, Artistic Director, Wilma Theatre

Conference Theme: Media Criticism and Theatre Practice
Keynote Speaker: Toby Zinman, Theatre Critic, Philadelphia Inquirer


Conference Theme: Theories of Performance and Practice
Keynote Speaker: Dina Amin, Ph.D., Modern Languages/Theatre at Villanova University