Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute

Invited Lecturers

Headshot of Nushin Arbabzadah

2019-2020 Nushin Arbabzadah: October 3, 2019. Arbabzadah is an Afghan playwright, scholar, and journalist based in Los Angeles. She received a M. Phil from Cambridge University where she was a Willam H. Gates Scholar in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies. She also holds an MA in German and Spanish from University of Hamburg. She has written for various news outlets including The Guardian, The Huffington Post and the New York Times. She has also worked for the BBC, and the British Council in London, Switzerland and Brussels. She has published numerous plays and books. Her play, Afghan Women Don’t Cry, received a staged reading in London in 2018. Her lecture was part of On the Front Lines, a series of events centered on Afghanistan, organized by Arts and Humanities Distinguished Professor Lesley Ferris and sponsored by a Global Arts + Humanities Discovery Theme Creation Grant. Co-sponsored by The Department of History, the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, the Middle East Studies Center, the Wexner Center for the Arts, and the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Service and the Lawrence and Lee Theatre Institute at the University Library.

Headshot of Ted Lange

2018-2019 Ted Lange: September 5, 2018. A prolific actor of stage and screen, Lange may be best known for his work on the television series The Loveboat. He is also a skilled director, author, and educator. A graduate of London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, Lange made his Broadway acting debut in the musical hit Hair. His theatrical acting career spans over fifty plays including South Coast Repertory’s Piano Lesson, Sunshine Boys, Biloxi Blues, and a national tour of Driving Miss Daisy. Lange is also a prolific playwright. His play, The Cause, My Soul, the prequel to Othello, was presented at the Odyssey Theatre and at the North Carolina Black Theatre Festival winning the NAACP Theatre Awards’ Best Play of 2017. He also received the  Renaissance Man Theatre Award from the NAACP in Los Angeles and the Heroes and Legends (HAL) Lifetime Achievement Award. Lange also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in recognition of his ‘Contribution to the History of Television’ for his work on The Loveboat


Headshot of Jonathan Barlow Lee

2015-2016 Jonathan Barlow Lee: October 24, 2016. Roy Bowen Theatre. Jonathan Barlow Lee, son of playwright Robert E. Lee, and production manager for the Mark Taper Forum for the past 28 years, shared personal anecdotes about growing up while the plays of Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee were being created, and discussed and shared designs, plans and renderings of the premiere productions of Auntie Mame and several other Lawrence and Lee plays. He has been the production manager for more than 150 plays at Center Theatre Group’s Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, including the first full production of both Parts 1 and 2 of Angels in America, Deaf West’s Big River (performed in American Sign Language), and the world premiere productions of many plays from August Wilson’s “Century Cycle.”

headshot of Symona Rybakova

2015-2016 Simona Rybakova: September 9, 2016, Roy Bowen Theatre. Dr. Simona Rybáková is a textile and costume designer and Czech theatre artist. Rybáková studied at the College of Applied Art and Design, and then pursued her schooling at Studio of Textile Design of the Academy of Art and Design in Prague. Between 1997 and 2009, she was the Czech Republic’s representative on the executive board of the International Organization of Scenographers, Theatre Artists and Technicians (OISTAT), and since 1997 she has been a member of the same organization’s commission on stage design. In 2007, she became a member of the European Film Academy.

Pamela Howard standing next to an easel with a large pad of paper on which is written "Drawing Theatre, a nice way of working, like an explorer in the jungle."

2014-2015 Pamela Howard: September 11, Roy Bowen Theatre.  Pamela Howard is a director, scenographer, visual theatre artist, and educator.  She has worked in the UK, Europe and USA since 1960, and has realized over 250 productions.  She has worked at all the major national and regional theatres, including the creation of several large scale site-specific works.  Since 2000 she has been developing her work as Director/Scenographer specializing in contemporary opera and music theatre, with a particular interest in site specific and sustainable theatre.  Pamela’s lecture, “Drawing Theatre,” drew an audience from across campus and the community.



headshot of Chris Jones

2013-2014 Chris Jones: September 11, Roy Bowen Theatre.  Chris Jones (Ph.D. 1989), Chicago Tribune Chief Theatre Critic, returned to give the annual Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute lecture entitled “The Last Critic Standing.”  In the age of Yelp!, Amazon, and Trip Advisor, amateur critics appear to have kicked those crusty old professionals to the curb.  Drawing from food criticism, movie criticism, and theatre criticism, and taking a detour into American Idol, Jones looked at how technology and aggregation has buffeted a venerable profession and pondered the role of critics in the new world order, asking, “Do we really need critics anymore?”

Photo of Struan Leslie

2011-2012 Struan Leslie: October 18, 2011. Thompson Library, Campus Reading Room.  Struan Leslie, head of movement at the Royal Shakespeare Company, delivered the 2011-2012 annual Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute Lecture.  Struan has performed, directed, and devised work in theatre, opera, dance, and live art.  His practice draws on a wide range of applications, experimentations, and explorations of movement including choreography, architecture, music, and fine art.  His work has been presented extensively in the repertoires of theatre companies throughout Europe and in the U.S., including the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, English and Welsh National Opera, Geneva Opera, Berkeley Rep, and American Repertory Theatre.  Struan choreographed the BBC’s highly acclaimed television series Casanova.  Struan also spent a morning exploring Theatre Research Institute dance and movement holdings in anticipation of future uses.  

Headshot of Yanci Bukovec

2010-2011 Yanci Bukovec: March 31, 2011. Thompson Library, Campus Reading Room.  The 2010-2011 Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute Lecture featured voice, speech, and master of movement Yanci Bukovec.  Yanci delighted the department with conversation, philosophy, and memories of mime training and touring with Marcel Marceau.  He also taught master classes to voice and movement students, and gave a demonstration/performance.



headshot of Beverly Emmons

2007-2008 Beverly Emmons: October, 2007. Thurber Theatre.  Seven-time Tony nominee Beverly Emmons was the Annual Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theater Research Institute lecturer. Emmons has designed for many Broadway, Off-Broadway, regional theatres, dance concerts and opera in the US and abroad. She is currently a professor at Columbia University.

2005-2006 Alan Munro: October, Drake Performance Center. As the invited lecturer for the Lawrence & Lee Theatre Research Institute’s Annual Lecture Series, Alan Munro (Ph.D. 1996) presented his paper, “The Theatre Of Research, Or The Research Of Theatre: Explorations in the dynamics of research in the arts in South Africa.”

2006-2007 Chris Jones: May, Drake Performance Center.  Alumnus Chris Jones (Ph.D. 1989) gave the Annual Lawrence and Lee TRI Lecture this year entitled “Every Night in the Dark: A Critic Debunks the Pervasive Myths Surrounding Contemporary American Theatre.” Chris is the principle theatre critic for the Chicago Tribune and teaches at DePaul University.

Headshot of Toni-Leslie James

2003-2004 Toni-Leslie James: April 29, 2004. Roy Bowen Theatre. OSU alum (BA 1979) and Tony Award-nominated costume designer Toni-Leslie James returned to give the Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute Lecture, coming fresh from triumphing as designer on the Whoopi! television series.  Toni-Leslie spoke to a combined audience of students, faculty, staff, and the community, followed by a portfolio review session with graduate and undergraduate design students.  During the rest of her stay, she visited classes and toured “When the Spirit Moves: African American Dance in History and Art,” an exhibit at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Complex’s Elijah Pierce Gallery that featured some of her designs.   

2001-2002 Laurie Stone: April 11, 2002. Wexner Film/Video Theatre. Widely published author, theatre critic and writer Laurie Stone gave her talk, “Comedy and Solo Performance: What the Comic Voice Can Get Away With,” as part of the OSU Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute’s 50th anniversary celebration. A longtime writer for the Village Voice, Stone has been a theatre critic for The Nation, critic-at-large on National Public Radio’s Fresh Air, and a regular writer for Ms.New York Woman, and Viva. She is the author of the novel Starting with Serge, the memoir collection Close to the Bone, and Laughing in the Dark, a collection of her writing on comic performance. Laurie taught a journalism class during the spring and was the Thurber Journalist in Residence.

2002-2003 Brenda Laurel: May 16, 2003. Wexner Film/Video Theatre. Ohio State Department of Theatre alum Brenda Laurel returned to discuss her career as a "techno diva." Author of Computers as Theatre and Utopian Entrepreneur, Laurel is one of the world's leading theorists and visionaries of computer technology and interface design.   

Black and white photo of Brian Rotman Tony Kushner and Lesley Ferris sit on stage behind microphones. Rotman's is asking Kushner a question

1999-2000. Tony Kushner: April 20, 1999. Thurber Theatre. With “In Conversation with...Tony Kushner,” Tony Kushner, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Angels in America, inaugurated the annual Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute Lecture Series. In conjunction with the lecture, the Department of Theatre presented the first locally produced production of Kushner’s Angels In America: Part One, Millennium Approaches on May 19-23 and 25-28.