The Jerome Lawrence & Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute

News about our collections and the impacts they make upon the community


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Jarka Burian collection which include recordings of Svoboda and Burian‘s discussions, Burian‘s published materials and unpublished notes on Svoboda‘s work, as well as photographic materials.

Posted in News, People |



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.

Posted in Margo Jones Award, News, People, Theatre |

“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


Posted in Dance, Events, News, People |

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 He has also conceived and developed the on-line interdisciplinary co-learning platform  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.

Posted in Exhibits, News, People, Theatre |

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

Posted in Events, News, People, Theatre |

Chris Jones named as the Director of the O’Neill’s National Critics Institute (NCI).


Chris Jones






Theatre Research Institute donor and Department of Theatre alumnus Chris Jones, who was on campus in the fall to deliver the Lawrence and Lee Lecture (, was just named as the Director of the O’Neill’s National Critics Institute (NCI).  Many congratulations to both Chris and to the O’Neill.

See this article for more details:

Posted in News |

Theatre Research Institute Fellowship Lecture

Using “Found Stories” as Inspiration

Thursday, January 30, 4 p.m.

Thurber Theatre

Drake Performance and Event Center

TRI fellowship candidate Bianca Sams

Bianca Sams


Bianca Sams, Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute Fellow, will speak on her current project, researching and writing the play JUST PORGY. The play focuses on the behind the scenes struggles of the actors and creative teams dealing with issues of racism and segregation both on and off stage. Sams is currently a Masters’ Degree in Playwriting Candidate at Ohio University. She has been a finalist for both the Lorraine Hansberry and Rosa Parks Award of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.

      “As an artist I utilize ‘found stories’ to springboard into the creative writing process. I spend an extensive amount of time researching and using ideas I find in the pages of history books and newspapers to create plays that are well-crafted and socially resonant.”

Bianca Sams

Posted in Events, News, People, Theatre |

Theatre Magic: Technology, Innovation, and Effect

New Exhibit




January 15-May 11, 2014

Thompson Library Gallery

1858 Neil Avenue

Columbus, OH 43210


This exhibition explores the unsung heroes of theatre—the innovators, designers, and technicians—whose “magic” has wowed audiences since the beginnings of show business. Visitors will uncover the secrets behind special effects, explore the workings of a toy theatre and a 17th-century theatre through virtual reality, experience what a magic lantern “pose show” might have looked like, and try their hand at theatrical lighting design. The exhibition will feature manuscripts, photographs, original designs, set models, props, and costumes from the special collections of the Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute.

Posted in Exhibits, News, Theatre |


TRI’s newest research fellowship candidate:

TRI fellowship candidate Bianca Sams

TRI fellowship candidate Bianca Sams



Bianca Sams is an Actor/Writer/Producer hailing from the San Francisco Bay Area. She is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School, where she earned the distinction of being Tisch’s first ever Triple Major (Acting, Dramatic Writing, Africana Studies). At NYU she studied acting through the Strasberg Film Institute and Royal Academy Dramatic Arts (RADA) London, England. Her work has been seen at Karamu House, Cleveland Public Theater, Old Vic Theater London and Public Theater in New York. She has performed as an actor at Cleveland Public Theater, Florida Studio Theater, Old Vic London, Public Theater NY, and can be seen on film in RENT directed by Chris Columbus. She is a full member of the Old Vic New Voices Network New York under Artistic Director Kevin Spacey. She has produced several ten minute play festivals in New York and Los Angeles, and is moving into full length off broadway theater. She is currently pursuing her MFA in Playwrighting at Ohio University with Charles Smith and Erik Ramsey.


Awards and honors include the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Awards Lorraine Hansberry (2nd place) and Rosa Parks Award (2nd place) (2013), Kennedy Center/Eugene O’Neill New Play Conference fellow(2013), Jane Chambers Student Playwright Award/Athe (2nd Place) (2013), Ohio University Student Enhancement Award (2013), TRI Research Fellowship at Ohio State University (2013). For more information and samples of her work please go to or check out her food blog at



Posted in News, People, TRI Fellowship |



Theatre Research Methods 6701 class

Theatre Research Methods 6701 class

Now that they have survived their first semester of graduate school, the students of the Theatre Research Methods 6701 class were asked to pass along some “words of wisdom” to those who might come after. Here’s what they had to say:

To you, future graduate student, I would like to pass down a few words of wisdom that I have learned during my first semester at OSU:

1st – Don’t give up. Never give up on yourself or your project or your research. The knowledge is out there somewhere and you can find it if you look hard enough.

2nd – Talk to your professors. They are fountains of knowledge and if they don’t know the answer, chances are, they know someone who does. Seriously, they have awesome connections.

3rd – Have your files in at least three different places. I recommend Google Drive/Dropbox be one of them.

Finally, ask questions. Ask as many questions as you can; you can never ask too many questions.

For me, what matters most in one’s first semester at a new university is the issue of expectation. In other words, how one’s ideal university materializes. Here at OSU, not only did my expectations turn out to be fulfilled, but exceeded them and sparked my interests even more. It doesn’t matter how difficult it may seem for an international student, you will survive the first semester when there are friends and caring staff present to help you.

The students were given an item to discover for which they were to try and discover the provenance.

The students were given an item for which they were to try and discover the provenance.


In researching, remember to take breaks. Particularly with visual research. Fresh eyes are extremely helpful when finding research images or even when you think you will never figure out which production your research item is from. [The students were given an item to discover for which they were to try and discover the provenance.] On that note – be persistent with your research. There is never a stopping point because you never know how your writing or designs will benefit and grow from continuous research.

The one thing I cannot stress enough is time management. There are times in the semester when everything might be due at the same time. Try not to get bogged down with all the work. Maybe work out a schedule of when you are going to work on which assignment so you aren’t finishing everything right before it’s due. Time management is your friend!

Be persistent with your research

Be persistent with your research


These are the most important things I’ve learned, discovered, and realized in my first semester at OSU:

1. Ask questions! If you don’t know, someone else will, and will be willing to provide an answer.

2. When researching, it’s o.k. to look at outside sources! Other universities and their libraries can be really helpful too.

3. Save your work in more than one place! Nothing’s worse than losing all your research three weeks before a paper’s due.

4. Let other people read your work! They might see things you didn’t or be able to clarify your argument.

5. Take some time for yourself! Make sure to take a break from reading/writing/researching every once in a while.


From the instructor:

I’d like to thank the students of 6701 for their willingness to share these insights. I hope you learned some useful things in our class. I certainly learned a great deal from you!

  • Dr. Beth Kattelman, Theatre Research Methods



Posted in News |