I have a Ph.D. in Theatre and Performance Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park, an M.F.A. in Dramaturgy from Brandeis University and a B.A. in Theatre from Illinois Wesleyan University. My research interests focus on US theatre history and historiography, particularly the Federal Theatre Project and the relationship between theatre and its surrounding community. I’ve also written on labor and economics–two powerful forces in the theatre! And I’ve also been exploring critical university studies, pedagogy, and graduate education. Currently, I’m working on a book that examines how performances of history influence cultural memory.
My recent article, “‘An Object Lesson in Americanism’: Performing Cultural Amnesia in Mosinee’s Communist Invasion,” published in Theatre Survey (September 2019) is a great example of my current research project in action. I presented more of this research as a keynote at the international, trans-disciplinary conference, “Federal Theatre Project: Context & Issues” in Toulouse, France, in October of 2019, and have an essay in a forthcoming collection that emerged from these conference discussions.
I have presented my research at more than 50 regional, national, and international conferences over the past fourteen years, received the Robert A. Schanke Research Award (2010) and the Outstanding Educator Award (College of Fine Arts, Florida State University, 2016), and been published in the Journal of American Drama and Theatre, Theatre Survey, Theatre Topics, Theatre Symposium, Theatre Journal, and Theatre History Studies, as well as various essay collections. I wrote Staging the People: Community and Identity in the Federal Theatre Project (Palgrave, 2011) and co-edited Working in the Wings: New Perspectives on Theatre History and Labor (Southern Illinois University Press, 2015), and am co-author for the second edition of Explore Theatre, an introductory textbook in Pearson’s “Revel” platform, which integrates interactive online learning practices with interactive content (Pearson, 2020).
My service to the field includes extensive experience conference planning for major organizations, editing, and leading. Currently, I serve on the editorial board for the Journal of American Drama and Theatre, the executive board for ATHE’s Theatre History focus group, the conference planning committee for ASTR, and as co-editor for Palgrave’s Studies in Theatre and Performance Series.
My work on dramaturgy and outreach extends to a number of professional and university productions, including the Chicago premiere of The Cripple of Inishmaan (Northlight Theatre), Master Class (Northlight Theatre), and the University of Maryland productions of Romeo and Juliet and Assassins.
I pioneered a hybrid version of Introduction to Theatre for Non-Majors at FSU and recreated the course in a fully online format (winner of the 2016 Excellence in Online Course Design & Excellence in Online Teaching Awards, with distinction). I currently teach graduate and undergraduate courses in Dramaturgy, US Theatre, Historiography, Pedagogy, Writing Revision, Playwriting, and Women in Theatre.
For more on my scholarship, teaching, service to the university and the profession, and creative work, please explore the different sections of my website or download my C.V. You can also check out my ORCiD account for links to work, or follow me on Twitter or Instagram @ProfBethOsborne.