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News & Press: ATHE News

2020 Nominations Announced

Friday, May 1, 2020  
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The ATHE Nominations Committee recently presented its slate of nominations for the 2020 election cycle to the Governing Council. The slate was approved. Voting will begin on May 11, 2020 and conclude June 15, 2020.

This year, ATHE members will elect people to fill the following positions:

Candidate biographies and statements follow.


Secretary

Megan Geigner (Northwestern University)

Biography

Megan Geigner researches how performance creates ethnic, racial, and civic identity in parades, world’s fairs, commemorations, and traditional theatre. Her research appears in Modern Drama, New England Theatre Journal, New Theatre Quarterly, Theatre History Studies, and Theatre Journal and in the books Performing the Progressive Era and Cambridge History of Chicago Literature (forthcoming). She is co-editor of the forthcoming collection Makeshift Chicago Stages: A Century of Performance. She has served on the all-conference planning committee for ATHE for the last two years, and she is the Focus Group Representative for Theatre History Focus Group. For the last twelve years, she has worked as a dramaturg at several theatres in Chicago, and she is an artistic associate with TimeLine Theatre. From 2016-19, she was the director of the United States Naval Academy theatre program. She is an Assistant Professor of Instruction in the Cook Family Writing Program at Northwestern University.

Statement

ATHE has been a defining part of my academic career since presenting on a debut panel as a master’s student in 2003 to helping to plan the conference during COVID-19 in 2020. I feel fortunate to call many ATHE members friends, and I relish the time we have spent together over the last fifteen plus years at conferences. It would be an honor to serve the organization that has been responsible for much of my growth as a scholar, artist, and teacher.

Having been a focus group leader and a member of the all-conference planning committee in a transition moment for ATHE, I understand the importance of documentation and transparency. By serving as secretary, I will record the work that ATHE does to make the conference and our field more accessible, equitable, and inclusive, and I will make it a priority to amplify underrepresented voices. The secretary has the privilege of seeing and hearing how the organization works, and as someone looking forward to serving ATHE for many years, it would be a learning experience for me to engage with the people who make ATHE a place where our community defines, changes, and advances theatre in higher education.


Laura RikardLaura Rikard (University of South Carolina Upstate)

Biography

Laura Rikard is an Assistant Professor of Theatre at the University of South Carolina Upstate and Co-Founder and Head Faculty of Theatrical Intimacy Education. Her focus is on performance, her scholarship is in acting pedagogy and developing best practices for staging intimacy. She teaches various levels of acting, stage movement, voice for the actor, directing, and introduction to theatre courses. She has been recognized for her academic directing with a KCACTF Merit Award. She has also served on faculty at Brown University, the University of Miami, and Stephen F. Austin State University. She was awarded two SEEDS Grants at the University of Miami for incorporating interdisciplinary theatrical pedagogies across campus. She has published with Fight Master Magazine and contributed to the first book on staging intimacy, Staging Sex: Best Practices, Tools and Techniques for Theatrical Intimacy by Chelsea Pace. She is a member of ATHE, NAAT, SDC, AEA, SAG-AFTRA, ATME, SAFD, and VASTA.

Statement

I have been a member of ATHE for many years. I have had the honor to serve twice on the nominations committees for both ATHE and ATME. I have participated in the ATHE Leadership Conference and wish to now serve ATHE in the role of Secretary. I want to give back to ATHE for connecting me to mentors, research partners, and lifelong colleagues and friends.  ATHE has been an organization where I have found family. I feel my experience having worked in various educational institutions (i.e. Research Ones, large and small BA/Liberal Arts Programs, selective conservatory programs, the IVY League) combined with my professional experience gives me a perspective that will help me represent and serve ATHE’s variety of members. I feel my organizational skills, attention to detail, along with my leadership and committee experience are strong attributes that will help me execute the duties of Secretary. Thank you for nominating me for this position. If I am elected I will do my best to support all of us in this new and changing era.

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Treasurer

Jon RossiniJon D. Rossini (University of California - Davis)

Biography

Jon D. Rossini is Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance at UC Davis and the author of Contemporary Latina/o Theater: Wrighting Ethnicity (Southern Illinois University Press, 2008) and more than twenty-five articles and book chapters. He has received a UC MEXUS faculty grant, a Davis Humanities Institute Fellowship, and a PBK Northern California Association Teaching Excellence Award. His creative activity includes dramaturgy and writing for performance. He has collaborated with choreographer David Grenke on several dance theater pieces including In the Space Provided and Low Flying Planes. At UC Davis he has served as Chair of Theatre and Dance and Vice Chair of the Academic Senate as well as Conference Planner and Representative for what is now the Latinx, Indigenous and the Americas Focus Group. He currently serves as ATHE’s Treasurer.

Statement

As current Treasurer I feel I have a strong grasp of the finances of the organization and the useful perspective of transitioning from a management company to an executive director structure for the organization. I have worked to increase transparency and understanding of the current budget, as well as draw attention to and try to mitigate the fiscal challenges posed by decreases in membership and conference registration. I worked closely with the VP of Membership and Marketing on the sliding scale membership plan and with the Executive Director on more accurate and precise budgeting. While recognizing the current fiscal challenges exacerbated by COVID-19, including the risk of decreased membership and conference revenue, I believe these challenges will help ATHE reaffirm our core values and position the organization to consider its specific institutional focus in relationship to higher education, something unique among professional theatre organizations. I will continue to maintain transparency and work to find ways to increase revenues and decrease costs so that we can return to the position of having sufficient resources to invest in important new initiatives, many still to be imagined, of the organization and its members.


Miguel SueroMiguel Suero (Independent Artist)

Biography

Miguel is an actor, teacher, and nonprofit executive whose work focuses on identity, culture, literacy and leadership development. A longstanding leader in international development and theatre in higher education, he has managed international partnerships for the City University of New York, and designed study abroad curricula for Hunter College in China, Japan, India, Spain, Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica and Mexico. He is a proud alumnus of the Nation Urban Fellows, where he directed diversity, equity, and inclusion programs for the UPS Foundation in New Orleans. He has led research on Dominican carnival performance, as well as the equity and diversity landscape in the United States. He resides in New York City.

Miguel has graduate degrees from CUNY’s Baruch College and Hunter College.

A proud member of the Latinx community, Miguel is invested in building bridges of cultural understanding and developing artists/scholars/leaders from the US, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

Statement

Miguel’s work for theatre in higher education spans over a decade, having joined ATHE and ATME back in 2008. After many years of performing, teaching, directing, and managing academic programs for the City University of New York, he formally pursued a graduate degree in the fiscal management of public institutions, foundations, and nonprofits.

As the nomination for ATHE’s executive board approaches in 2020, Miguel would like to offer his service and financial expertise to the organization as elected Treasurer. He is proud to share with other executive leaders in the committee a fiscally responsible management style for the maintenance of the association’s expense accounts and investments. He is grateful for the nomination, and looks forward to the election process.

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Vice President-Elect for Conference 2022

James PeckJames Peck (Muhlenberg College)

Biography

James Peck is Professor of Theatre at Muhlenberg College. He has directed over sixty productions of plays, musicals, and operas in university and professional settings. He has published articles in leading journals such as Theatre Journal, Theatre Survey, and Theatre Topics, as well as multiple book chapters. He served as Editor of Theatre Topics and Book Review Editor of Theatre Journal. Currently, he is Series Editor of the eight volume book series Great North American Stage Directors under contract with Methuen Drama. For that series, he is editing and contributing to Volume 8, about Jesusa Rodríguez, Peter Sellars, and Reza Abdoh. He holds an M.F.A. in Theatre (Directing) from UCSD and a Ph. D. in Performance Studies from NYU. Prior ATHE service includes Focus Group Representative for Theatre History, Mentor for The Leadership Institute, and Vice President for Professional Development.

Statement

The ATHE Conference is unique. Of the recurring events of Theatre in Higher Education, ATHE gathers the broadest array of people working in the field to share ideas, practices, and stories. Though participants are united by a professional endeavor, they arrive with divergent needs arising from the communities, institutions, and professional roles in which they spend the better part of the year. The Conference makes visible fissures within Theatre and Performances Studies, but cuts across those differences to facilitate new coalitions, alliances, projects, and friendships. ATHE's Conference is a beautiful, generative mess - a sprawling, multi-modal performance event that processes the year past and shapes the year to come.

I am interested in the role of VP for Conference to nourish the productive hurly-burly of ATHE’s yearly gathering. As I write this, we are weathering a time of crisis. COVID-19, awful in and of itself, is also revealing long-standing structural crises limiting access to such human rights as health care, work, and housing. ATHE is best poised to address the urgent claims of this hard moment by embracing the glorious heterogeneity of its membership. We can meet in our breadth to nurture new configurations of thought, relationship, and action.


Jen-Scott MobleyJen-Scott Mobley (East Carolina University)

Biography

Jennifer-Scott Mobley is an Assistant Professor at East Carolina University in the School of Theatre Arts and Dance. She has been a member of ATHE since 2004 and has served as President and Focus Group Rep for the Women and Theatre Program as well as conference and pre-conference planner for WTP. She was Co-Program Chair of for the American Society of Theatre Research Conference: Extra/Ordinary Bodies: Interrogating the Aesthetics of Difference; in Atlanta GA. Among other publications, she is co-editor of Performing Dream Homes: Theater and the Spatial Politics of the Domestic Sphere (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019) as well as Lesbian and Queer Plays from the Jane Chambers Prize (NoPassport Press, 2019), and the forthcoming Cross Cultural Feminism: Plays from the Jane Chambers Prize (NoPassport Press, 2020). She has also served as co-coordinator of the Jane Chambers Playwriting Award sponsored by WTP and ATHE since 2015.

Statement

ATHE has provided me an academic home and a network of colleagues who have enriched me not only through shared participation in conference activities but also through working side by side with them in service roles. As travel funding becomes tighter for many and the job market increasingly inhospitable, the need for advocacy for our field remains essential. As we “work in the trenches” with higher course loads and fewer resources, we may feel isolated from one another and removed from the greater mission of our community. ATHE is the antidote for this. Through ATHE we come together, make connections, share work, collaborate and advocate for our field. How we come together continues to evolve as ATHE addresses the rapidly changing fiscal landscape. I have been on the GC of ATHE, the EC and Working Conditions Task Force of ASTR, and am aware of the challenges we face. Forming a conference committee which will be in touch with the needs of our members is key, and with their feedback, I will be committed to bringing conference programming that meets the needs of the current membership.

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Vice President for Membership & Marketing

Jane BarnetteJane Barnette (University of Kansas)

Biography

Jane Barnette is an Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Kansas. A member of ATHE since 1995, Barnette has participated in the Pedagogy Subcommittee, and has been a Conference Planner and Focus Group Representative for the Theory & Criticism Focus Group, among other roles. Her book, Adapturgy: The Dramaturg’s Art and Theatrical Adaptation, explores the challenges and possibilities of dramaturgically-informed adaptations for the stage. Barnette’s research includes Chicago-based touring theatre practice at the turn of the twentieth century, American pageantry, and depictions of “witch” characters onstage as well as in popular culture. She is the co-editor (with Chrystyna Dail) of the special section on witchy performances for an upcoming issue of Theatre History Studies.

Statement

As someone who has seen this organization transform over the last twenty-five years, I am invested in continuing the expansion of ATHE to include and accommodate what was once considered the margins of our evolving field. Building on the recent initiatives to offer a sliding scale dues structure and to consider the different needs of and demands on contingent faculty as well as graduate students, as VP for Membership and Marketing I will gather insight from adjacent field’s organizations (such as TCG, MLA, and ASA) regarding their best practices for increasing and diversifying membership. Specifically, I would like to use this platform to encourage ATHE to continue to question our assumptions of ability and inclusivity, both at the annual conference and in our field more generally. Initiatives might include offering a conference sensory room for members who need to decompress from overstimulation, working with directors of graduate study to encourage student membership, and expanding our online and live-streaming membership services overall.


Eero LaineEero Laine (University of Buffalo)

Biography

Eero teaches and directs in the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Before joining UB, Eero taught as an adjunct at a number of institutions in New York City. Eero’s scholarship considers labor and popular culture and is rooted in collaborative methodologies drawn from theatre and performance practice. He served as Member at Large and then as Treasurer for ATHE’s Performance Studies Focus Group and was a member of the ATHE/ASTR committee on adjunct labor as well as the ASTR Working Conditions Task Force. He is finishing his term as Secretary for Performance Studies international and was a founding member of PSi’s Future Advisory Board, an international group of emerging scholars and artists committed to diversifying and connecting our fields. He is the editor of the Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism and a co-editor of the cultural studies journal Lateral.

Statement

As Vice President for Membership and Marketing, my focus would be on expanding and diversifying ATHE’s membership. ATHE is the intellectual and artistic home for many theatre educators and there are even more who might benefit from the rich conversations and programming facilitated by an organization like ours. Many of us are acutely feeling the loss of theatre and performance in our daily lives due to social distancing, even as we extend our networks and rediscover new ways of communicating with colleagues, friends, and students. We are all encountering the crisis in distinct ways and with different affordances and it feels as if our work towards a more equitable future is beginning anew each day. As an organization committed to serving a diverse membership, who work at a variety of institutions and arts organizations, ATHE is well positioned to advocate for our members and communities during this unprecedented time for theatre, dance, and performance. Through the office of Membership and Marketing, I am interested in developing existing infrastructures and imaging new ways to enable collaboration across institutions and borders, amplifying the excellent work of our colleagues, and sharing opportunities for collective work and action.

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Vice President for Research & Publications

Christin EssinChristin Essin (Vanderbilt University)

Biography

Christin Essin is an Associate Professor of Theatre History and Chancellor’s Faculty Fellow at Vanderbilt University. She has published numerous essays on theatre design artistry, technology, and backstage labor in a number of publications, including ATHE’s Theatre Journal and Theatre Topics. Her first book Stage Designers in Early Twentieth Century America (2012) won a Golden Pen award from the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT). Her next book, Working Backstage: A Cultural History and Ethnography of Technical Theatre Labor, is under contract with the University of Michigan Press. She previously served ATHE as the Vice President for Membership and Marketing and as Focus Group Representative for Theory and Criticism. Essin served two terms on the editorial board of Theatre Topics, two terms on USITT’s publications committee, and continues to serve as the Associate Editor of History for TD&T.

Statement

ATHE’s Research and Publications Committee plays a robust role in advancing the association’s mission, credentials, and prominence in higher education in addition to promoting its members’ scholarship. I am excited by the prospect of chairing a committee that continues this important work by supporting our journals, connecting our members to editors and publishers, and finding new paths to promote the research and publications that often begin as dialogues staged at our conferences. I’m interested in creating sustainable, ongoing digital documents that not only track members’ accomplishments but also identify them as potential mentors for emerging professionals. As a labor scholar, I want to bring more visibility to the craft of research and the resources needed for its successful achievement; to connect members in ways that extend and expand on that craft and maximize those (often limited) resources.


Scott MagelssenScott Magelssen (University of Washington)

Biography

Scott Magelssen is Donald E. Petersen Fellow in the School of Drama at the University of Washington, where he teaches Theatre and Performance Studies and is Co-Director of Undergraduate Studies. He currently serves as Secretary of the American Society for Theatre Research and edits Southern Illinois University Press’s Theater in the Americas series. His book Simming: Participatory Performance and the Making of Meaning (University of Michigan Press, 2014) treats the ways tourism, businesses, and the military use live simulation and performance to create and reinforce meaning for participants. His current book project, “Performing Flight: Barnstormers, the Cold War, and Space Tourism,” to be published by the University of Michigan Press this year, explores the ways performance and human flight have shaped one another in public perception and consciousness.

Statement

I would be honored to serve as ATHE’s Vice President for Research and Publications. I am deeply committed to the values in ATHE’s mission and vision, in particular “producing new knowledge about theatre and performance-related disciplines” while “promoting access and equity.” As past editor of The Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, and current editor of Southern Illinois University Press’s “Theater in the Americas” series, I have been committed to supporting scholarship that represents the diversity of voices in our field, especially voices that have been historically underrepresented. My experience as past chair of the ATHE-ASTR Joint Subcommittee on NonPrint Publications has shown me how digital scholarship can both add value to our work and expand access within our community. I would continue to advocate for these values as a member of ATHE’s Governing Council.

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Nominations Committee Member

Bethany HughesBethany Hughes (University of Michigan)

Biography

Bethany Hughes (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma) is an Assistant Professor of American Culture and Native American Studies at the University of Michigan. A performance scholar and cultural historian she holds a PhD in Theatre and Drama from Northwestern University and degrees in Drama and Musical Theatre from the University of Oklahoma and Friends University. Hughes’ research interests include redface in American theatre, the performance of federal Indian law, race, musical theatre, the business of producing theatre, and “Indian” themed material culture that invites embodied interaction (e.g. souvenirs, statues, tourist attractions). She teaches classes on Indigenous Performance, Race and Broadway Musicals, Authenticity and Representation, and Native American Studies. She has been a member of ATHE since 2016, served on the Conference Committee for ATHE 2018, the Nominations Committee for 2019 ,and currently serves as the Latinx, Indigenous, and the Americas Focus Group Conference Planner. Her work can be read in Theatre Survey, Theatre Topics, HowlRound.com, and Theatre Journal (forthcoming).

Statement

In my time as a member of ATHE I have found it to be a warm and encouraging environment full of people eager to connect, to enrich, and to support one another across and because of the many differences we embody and represent. Attention is paid and space is created for voices often marginalized, solidarity is built and activated across the many needs of our community, and leadership is intentionally thoughtful, compassionate, and forward looking. As a member of the Conference Committee I learned some of the many aspects that go into our annual conference as well as took on a few responsibilities myself. As a member of the Nominations Committee I worked to connect skilled leaders to positions where those skills were needed. And as the LIA FG Conference Planner I work to insure my chosen ATHE home is having its needs met.

In this moment, as uncertainty and strain has brought a new invitation to build together and across the kinds of institutions and practices we most hope to see functioning in our society, I look forward to serving ATHE by furthering the strength of its leadership. As a Representative to the Nominations Committee I will be committed to ensuring representation of diverse communities and diverse experiences. We are not having identical experiences during this pandemic and we will not all have identical needs once it is past. I hope to help create a nominations experience that seeks to represent and care for all of our members in a way that is thoughtful, proactive, and transparent.


Jonathan ShandellJonathan Shandell (Acadia University)

Biography

Jonathan Shandell is Associate Professor of Theater Arts and co-Director of the Theater Arts Program at Arcadia University (Glenside, PA). He has been an active ATHE member for almost twenty years. He has proudly served as Conference Planner, Focus Group Representative/President and Secretary for the Black Theatre Association (BTA), a mentor in the "Pay It Forward" Mentorship Program, a member of the Information Technology Committee, and a regular coordinator of panel sessions for annual conferences. He is an historian of African American theater of the mid-20th Century. Publications include the monograph The American Negro Theatre and the Long Civil Rights Era (University of Iowa Press, 2018) and Experiments in Democracy: Interracial and Cross-Cultural Exchange in American Theater, 1912-1954 (co-edited with Cheryl Black, Southern Illinois University Press, 2016).

Statement

Being a part of ATHE for almost 20 years has been the single most important influence on my professional development as a scholar, a teacher, and a dramaturg. I owe so much to the organization that I am proud to call my professional home, and I am excited about this opportunity to contribute. Like so many of us, I value activity in ATHE and participation in annual conferences as irreplaceable opportunities to network, to connect, to collaborate, and to absorb wisdom, inspiration, and insight from colleagues across the country and around the world. I look forward, if chosen, to serving on the Nominating Committee as a way of helping sustain the organization's vibrancy as a professional home for theater educators.



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