On December 3rd the TRI’s Curator of Theatre, Dr. Beth Kattelman, gave a presentation at Indiana University’s Mathers Museum of World Cultures entitled, Scene at the Museum: Performing Exhibits and Exhibiting Performance. The talk explored the synergy between exhibits and performance, focusing in particular on how puppets are especially potent in their ability to evoke the stories of a specific time and place.


Kattelman at Mathers

Kattelman at Mathers


Dr. Kattelman was invited to deliver the presentation by Dr. Jennifer Goodlander, Assistant Professor of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance at Indiana U. Dr. Goodlander is currently teaching a class on Museums and Performance, and her students are in the process of curating an exhibit entitled Still/Moving: Puppets and Indonesia which opens on December 12, 2014.

Pamela Howard: Stage Designer

Pamela Howard: Stage Designer

Pamela Howard: Stage Designer


Sud Costa Occidentale: A Story in Images

Sud Costa Occidentale: A Story in Images

Thompson Library Exhibition Space, September 1 through 10th during library hours.

Curated by Beth Kattelman and Francesca Spedalieri, with additional help from Shelby Brewster and Justin Luna


Exhibit photo 1

Exhibit photo 2


This exhibition features photographs, prints and posters chronicling the work of Sicilian theatre artist Emma Dante and her company Sud Costa Occidentale. The photographs were taken by Giuseppe Distefano, a professional photographer who has documented Dante’s work for years.

Photos of Compagnia Sud Costa Occidentale by Guiseppi Distefano

 Photos of Compagnia Sud Costa Occidentale by Giuseppe Distefano

 Photos of Compagnia Sud Costa Occidentale by Guiseppi Distefano_2

 Photos of Compagnia Sud Costa Occidentale by Giuseppe Distefano



The exhibition also features prints of original drawings created by Maria Cristina Costa, a freelance illustrator who has collaborated with Dante on several projects including two children’s books: Anastasia, Drusilla, and Cinderella; and The Highs and Lows of Snow White.

Illustration for Anastasia, Drusilla, and Cinderella by Maria Cristina Costa

 Illustration for Anastasia, Drusilla, and Cinderella by Maria Cristina Costa

Illustration for The Highs and Lows of Snow White, by Maria Cristina Costa

  Illustration for The Highs and Lows of Snow White, by Maria Cristina Costa


The prints of Distefano’s photographs and Costa’s illustrations are now a part of the permanent collection of the Theatre Research Institute and are available to interested researchers.

This exhibition is presented as part of The Ohio State University’s Emma Dante Project, an event that will bring the theatre company to the United States for the first time. As part of the project, the company will perform their most recent work Operetta Burlesca (Operetta Burlesque) on September 3, 4 and 5 at OSU’s Thurber Theatre. An interdisciplinary symposium and the screening of a new documentary on Dante’s work will also be presented as part of the project. For more information: https://theatre.osu.edu/events/operetta-burlesque and http://theatre.osu.edu/events/blurring-boundaries-without-burning-bridges.

“Lovely Hula Hands”

2014 IMLS Fellow Keahiahi Long Visits Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute

2014 Dance Heritage Coalition IMLS Fellow Keahiahi Long (right) and former DHC Fellow Rachael Riggs Leyva (left)

2014 Dance Heritage Coalition IMLS Fellow Keahiahi Long (right) and former DHC Fellow Rachael Riggs Leyva (left)

2014 Dance Heritage Coalition IMLS Fellow Keahiahi Long (right) and former DHC Fellow Rachael Riggs Leyva (left) explore a Labanotation score of “Lovely Hula Hands” in the Carl Wolz Papers of the Dance Notation Bureau Collection, finding interesting changes from the time the dance style was observed and notated to the way it is now practiced. 


The First Actresses:1660-1930s

Elsie Janis

Elsie Janis

Friday, May 23 and
Saturday, May 24, 2014

Finally, women. Reflect on the whole history of women: do they not have to be first of all and above all else  actresses?   Friedrich Nietzsche. The Gay Science, 1881

Arriving centuries late to the theatre profession, women have met with hostility, censorship, bans, and working conditions often well below those available to their male counterparts, not least of which was economic security much lower than that of actors. This symposium focuses on the actress with a view to promoting, identifying and encouraging research and scholarly directions on the work and lives of actresses from the 17th through the early 20th centuries.

In addition to keynote speaker Sharon Marcus (The Orlando Harriman Professor at Columbia University), the symposium will present two performances and an exhibition.

Addressing the centuries long prohibition on women acting, The First Actress by Christopher St. John (Christabel Marshall) features one of the women purported to be the ‘first actress’ to take the role of Desdemona in Othello in 1661. This short play from 1911 Britain is a touchstone for the symposium as it addresses a range of issues: the prejudice against the women performing, their ‘natural’ inadequacies as artists in the public realm, and women’s agency in demanding access to both the public stage and the right to vote. The second performance, a premiere of a solo work, looks at the life of the celebrated Columbus, Ohio artist with an international reputation Elsie Janis (1889-1956). This piece is commissioned for this symposium and will be created by Victoria Matsos, from the Theatre Research Institute’s Elsie Janis Collection. Finally we will mount an exhibition on the actress drawn from multiple collections of the Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute.

The symposium with presentations, exhibition, and performances will provide a forum for scholarship to be shared, work by practitioner/researchers to be experienced, and for future directions on the study of the actress to emerge. We seek paper proposals from all disciplines working on issues related to the symposium theme and from graduate students, independent scholars, and faculty.

The First Actresses: 1660-1930s symposium and accompanying productions are free and open to the public, and are sponsored by The Ohio State University’s Department of Theatre and University Libraries’ Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre  Research Institute, with support from Arts and Humanities Research Grant, and the Women’s Place. For more information, please contact Nena Couch (Head, Thompson Library Special Collections, The Ohio State University Libraries) at couch.1@osu.edu and Lesley Ferris (Arts and Humanities Distinguished Professor of Theatre) at ferris.36@osu.edu.


More Congratulation Are Due to Our 2010 Fulbright Fellowship in Residence, Barbora Příhodová

Barbora PříhodováBarbora Příhodová spent her 2010 Fulbright Fellowship in residence at the Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute doing research on the Czech scenographer Josef Svoboda. Since then TRI has seen Barbora receive her PhD, and now she has been selected for this year’s Mellon Summer School of Theater and Performance at Harvard University. The topic of this year is “Locations of Theater” and her research seems to fit perfectly into the scope of the planned seminars, workshops, and the focus of participating scholars.

It has also been confirmed that Barbora will be teaching History of Scenography at USC in the fall semester.

During her fellowship at TRI, Barbora examined materials in the Jarka Burian collection which include recordings of Svoboda and Burian‘s discussions, Burian‘s published materials and unpublished notes on Svoboda‘s work, as well as photographic materials.



Margo Jones Award honors Howard Shalwitz

Margo Jones Medal

Margo Jones Medal

Margo Jones Award Recipient

Margo Jones Award Recipient

Howard Shalwitz, artistic director of the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, has been named the recipient of the 2014 Margo Jones Award presented by The Ohio State University Libraries and OSU Arts and Humanities. The award honors those who have demonstrated a significant impact, understanding and affirmation of the craft of playwriting, and who have encouraged the living theatre everywhere.

The award will be presented to Shalwitz at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre on April 5. Shalwitz will be introduced by Zelda Fichandler, Chair Emeritus of Tisch School of the Arts. Fichandler won the Margo Jones Award in 1971 for her work as co-founder and producing director of Washington D.C.’s Arena Stage. The award will be presented by Valarie Williams, Associate Dean for Arts and Humanities at The Ohio State University.

Shalwitz has been the visionary force behind Woolly Mammoth for 34 seasons, steering the theatre’s adventurous play selection, guiding the development and production of dozens of new works, and building a renowned acting company. Under his leadership, Woolly Mammoth has grown from an “alternative” theatre to one of the leading centers for provocative new theatre in America.

Howard received the 2011 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Director for Clybourne Park, and has received multiple Helen Hayes nominations as both a director and an actor. In recent seasons, he directed the world premieres of Civilization, Fever/Dream, and Big Death and Little Death, along with She Stoops to Comedy, Measure for Pleasure, and The Faculty Room. Howard has directed for leading New York and regional companies including the New York Theatre Workshop, Playwrights Horizons, Arena Stage, Studio Arena, and Milwaukee Rep.

In 2012, Shalwitz was recognized as Distinguished Finalist for the Zelda Fichandler Award for Outstanding Regional Director.

The Margo Jones Medal commemorates one of the pioneers of the American professional regional theatre movement. Jones (1912-1955) supported and nurtured new plays at the theatre she founded in Dallas in 1947, including Tennessee Williams’s Summer and Smoke and Lawrence and Lee’s Inherit the Wind. The pattern she created for developing new plays is now a standard method for producing new plays in the living American theatre.

Members of the Medal Committee are Deborah Robison for the family of Jerome Lawrence; Janet Waldo Lee, Lucy Lee, and Jonathan Barlow Lee for the family of Robert E. Lee; and Nena Couch, Beth Kattelman, and Mary Tarantino for the Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute.

To see past Margo Jones Award recipients click here.

To see Margo Jones News from the past click here.

“When did the avant-garde become black?” panel discussion


On Sunday, March 23 at 5 p.m., OSU Dance alums and major American choreographers Dianne McIntyre and Bebe Miller will be featured with other dance artists on a live-streamed panel discussion led by Bill T. Jones addressing “When did the avant-garde become black?”

For more details and to register, go to




Dr. Frank Mohler and his work


Dr. Frank Mohler

Frank and Claudia Mohler visit Theatre Magic:
Technology, Innovation, and Effect



One of the objects in Theatre Magic: Technology, Innovation, and Effect, currently in the Thompson Gallery, combines the oldest and newest technologies on exhibit.  The model built by Dr. Frank Mohler from designs in the Theatre Research Institute microfilm of Palatina MS 3708 probably illustrates the stage house of the Teatro San Salvatore in Venice and a production of La Divisione del Mondo which premiered at the Teatro San Salvatore on February 4, 1675 with music by Giovanni Lengrenzi and the libretto by Giulio Corradi. The scenery was probably designed by the Mauro brothers. The music has been lost, but the libretto and the scenery and machinery sketches have survived in the Biblioteca Palatina in Parma.  Over sixty years after its premiere Luigi Riccoboni wrote of La Divisione del Mondo:

As to the Decorations and the Machinery it may be safely affirmed, that no Theatre in Europe comes up to the Magnificence of the Venetian Opera; some of them will be handed down to our most distant Posterity. For instance, the opera entitled La Divisione del Mondo, which the Marquis Guido Rangoni exhibited in the Year 1675 at his own expense at the Teatro San Salvatore.

Internationally acknowledged as an expert in Renaissance and Baroque theatre architecture and machinery, Dr. Mohler has constructed working models of 17th-century theatres both in physical and virtual forms.  The model in this exhibition has working machinery including:

Mechanized wing change
Mechanized border change
Brailed curtain
Downstage traps & elevators
Wave traps
Wave machines
Mid-stage elevator
Hinged upper stage
Traveling borders to allow a machine to move downstage
Tracks to allow a machine to move downstage
Flying performer

However, because of the fragile nature of the model, exhibition visitors cannot manipulate the machinery themselves, so exhibit consultant Marlon Barrios Solano layered Augmented Reality, a 21st-century technology, onto the 17th-century technologies to give them life and movement.  The expression augmented reality, often abbreviated to AR, refers to a simple combination of real and virtual (computer-generated) worlds. Given a real subject, captured on video or camera, the technology ‘augments’ (= adds to) that real-world image or object with extra layers of digital Mobile AR refers to the use of portable smart phones or tablets to detect and see digital information overlays in real-time about the environment and its objects. The real word is augmented with digital media.

THEATRE MAGIC: TECHNOLOGY, INNOVATION, AND EFFECT continues through May 11, 2014 in the Thompson Library Gallery.

Dr. Mohler is Emeritus Professor, Scenic and Lighting Designer at Appalachian State University.  He received the B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees from The Ohio State University where he built a number of historical theatres from microfilm  records of historical theatrical documents held in the Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute.  Following graduation, he taught and designed at Denison University, the University of South Carolina and the University of Virginia.  Over his career he has created over 250 set or lighting designs; he also provided the conceptual design for the Appalachian’s Valborg Theatre. He has published and lectured on Renaissance and Baroque theatre architecture and machinery, as well as given conference presentations, including at Cesky Krumlov, the beautiful Baroque Czech Baroque theatre that retains its original machinery. Dr. Mohler has moved from building physical models of theatre to making virtual ones, and created and maintains the Development of Scenic Spectacle web site.

Marlon Barrios Solano is a Venezuelan artist, researcher, consultant, educator, curator, on-line producer, video broadcaster and vlogger based between in USA and Germany.  He is the creator/producer/curator of dance-techTV, a collaborative internet video channel dedicated to innovation and experimental performing arts and its social network dance-tech.net. He has also conceived and developed the on-line interdisciplinary co-learning platform meta-academy.org.  With a hybrid background on cognitive science, dance improvisation and new media arts he researches and explores the uses of network technologies, participatory systems and collaborative practices within cultural production and education environments.  He holds an MFA in Dance and Technology 2004 (real-time digital technology, performance of improvisation and embodied cognition) from The Ohio State University, USA.

TRI Curator, Beth Kattelman, gives a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to mount a theatrical production

Humanities on Topic: How to View a Show
Get a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to mount a theatrical production in this exclusive evening with The House of the Spirits. The production is based on the critically acclaimed novel by Isabel Allende   about a Latin American family’s struggles and secrets.

House of the Spirits

House of the Spirits

Mark Shanda, divisional dean of Arts and Humanities at Ohio State, will share insight into what it takes to mount a theatrical production. Director Beth Kattelman, associate professor and curator of the Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute, will share her view of the show.

Admission includes a ticket to the performance (a $20 value).

Space is limited; sign up now!

Thursday,   Feb. 27, 2014
Pre-show talk: 6:30 p.m.
Performance: 7:30 p.m.
Drake Performance and Event Center
1849 Cannon Drive
Columbus, OH 43210
Directions and parking

$25 admission includes the pre-show talk, a ticket to the performance and heavy hors d’oeuvres.

Please call (800) 762-5646.

Presented by
: Ohio State University Alumni Association and Humanities Institute

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