Philadelphia Theatre Research Symposium

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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. For more information, please contact Dr. David Cregan, O.S.A.

Join us on May 1, 2014 for the eighth annual Philadelphia Theatre Research Symposium as we welcome keynote speaker Emily Mann, Playwright, Director, and Artistic Director of McCarter Theatre Center. This year’s conference will highlight the work of new scholars who celebrate the contributions of women to American theatre as artists, scholars, and leaders.

The Philadelphia Theatre Research Symposium is free and open to the public. The conference will take place from 12 pm to 5 pm on Thursday, May 1, 2014 in Bartley Hall: Room 1011 followed by an evening of performances at 7:30 pm in Vasey Theatre.

The 2014 Philadelphia Theatre Research Symposium

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
When: Conference: Thursday, May 1, 2014, 12:00pm-5:00pm in Bartley Hall: Room 1011, followed by Evening of Performances at 7:30 in Vasey Theatre

Villanova University
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085
Map and Directions


11:30 am - 12:30 pm   Welcome

12:00 - 1:15 pm          Panel #1 (TBA)

1:15 - 1:30 pm            Break

1:30 - 2:15 pm            Emerging Scholars Panel (TBA)        

2:30 - 3:00 pm            Break   

3:00 - 4:00 pm            Emily Mann: Discussion with Students

4:00 - 4:30 pm            Break

5:00 - 7:00 pm            Dinner Break

7:00 - 7:30 pm            House Open for Evening of Performances                                                                         (Vasey Theatre)  (Performances TBA)

7:30 pm                     Evening of Performances 

(Updated 3/4/2014)

Emily Mann

Emily Mann (Artistic Director/Resident Playwright)

Multi-award-winning Director and Playwright Emily Mann is in her 24th season as Artistic Director of McCarter Theatre where she has overseen over 125 productions. Under Ms. Mann’s leadership, McCarter was honored with the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theater in 1994 and celebrated the 2013 Best Play Tony Award win for Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike by Christopher Durang – a play commissioned, developed and premiered at McCarter. 

Most recently at McCarter, Ms. Mann directed David Auburn’s Proof, Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance, and the world premieres of The Convert by Danai Gurira (also at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago and CTG in Los Angeles; six Ovation Awards, including Best Director of a Play and nominated for thirteen; also nominated for three Jeff Awards including Best Production), Phaedra Backwards by Marina Carr, Sarah Treem’s The How and the Why, and Edward Albee’s Me, Myself & I (also at Playwrights Horizons). 

Among the plays she directed at McCarter are: Nilo Cruz’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Anna in the Tropics (also on Broadway), the world premiere of Christopher Durang’s Miss Witherspoon (also off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons), All Over (also off-Broadway at The Roundabout; 2003 Obie Award for Directing), Three Sisters, A Doll House, The Glass Menagerie, and Mrs. Warren’s Profession.  In spring 2012, Emily directed A Streetcar Named Desire on Broadway with Blair Underwood, Wood Harris, Nicole Ari Parker, and Daphne Rubin-Vega. Emily’s plays include Execution of Justice (Guggenheim Fellowship; Helen Hayes and Joseph Jefferson Awards; Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations); Still Life (six Obie Awards); Greensboro (A Requiem); Meshugah; and Annulla, An Autobiography.

Ms. Mann wrote and directed Having Our Say, adapted from the book by Sarah L. Delany and A. Elizabeth Delany with Amy Hill Hearth (Tony nominations for Best Play, Best Direction of a Play, and Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play along with Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations; NAACP and Joseph Jefferson Awards; Peabody and Christopher Awards for her screenplay). A collection of her plays, Testimonies: Four Plays, has been published by TCG. Her latest play, Mrs. Packard, was the recipient of the 2007 Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays Award and was published by TCG in spring 2009.

Her adaptations include: three Chekhov plays (Uncle Vanya, The Cherry Orchard, and a free adaptation of The Seagull: A Seagull in the Hamptons) and The House of Bernarda Alba (recently staged in London at the Almeida).  A winner of the Dramatists Guild Hull-Warriner Award and the Edward Albee Last Frontier Directing Award, Emily is a member of the Dramatists Guild and serves on its council.  She is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from Princeton University and was named the 2011 Person of the Year from the National Theatre Conference.

Past Conferences

Three Days of Rain

2012-2013                                                                                                   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