Who I am
I am a theatre archaeologist. What does that mean? Much as archaeologists reconstruct the story of a society from the artifacts they excavate, I build theatrical stories from the artifacts I uncover in my life. These might be a rug that lay in front of my grandfather’s fireplace, the process of LASIK eye surgery, or the artwork of Keith Haring. In my science communication work, the artifacts are the scientists I am collaborating with, their research, and my own emotional connection to their work. From these I try to create visceral performance pieces that capture, think creatively, and communicate aspects of the scientists' research.
Currently I am the Theatre Specialist and Director of the Abbey Players at Saint Anselm College as well as a Senior Faculty Fellow in the Center for Communicating Science at Virginia Tech. In my work with the Center, I've taught workshops to scientists across the country on how to use theatrical skills to more effectively communicate their research. Additionally I've collaborated with a number of scientists on projects that use performance to communicate scientific research. A recent story in Yale Climate Connections highlighted my work on these Science Collaborations.
This piece was built in collaboration with Dr. Scott Sayres, a chemist at Arizona State University. It reflects on how Scott and I each think about place and direction on both minute and massive scales.
"Laser" was originally produced as part of the Science Exposed show directed by Liz Lerman at Arizona State University in conjunction with the ASU Biodesign Institute. Since then, I have also presented it as part of my Keynote Address at the Virginia Tech Research Symposium, at the CESTEMER Conference in New York, and at the Moss Arts Center.
These are two clips from the original performance.
In this transdisciplinary project I helmed a collaboration between the Center for Communicating Science and the Coastal@VT research consortium at Virginia Tech. We paired theatre makers with geographers, engineers, biologists, and more to create evocative performances that captured aspects of the scientists research. The resulting pieces were initially presented at the Advancing the Human Condition Symposium in 2018. It was in this show that my piece Flooding the Beach first premiered.
Flooding the Beach was a collaboration with Peter Sforza, the Director of the Center for Geospatial Information Technology at Virginia Tech. Since it's premiere, it has also been presented as part of my Keynote Address at the Virginia Tech Research Symposium and at the Moss Arts Center.
Feel free to take a moment and listen and/or watch.
This was a project I was part of at Arizona State University, directed by Liz Lerman. It was in this show that "Laser" and Pisa Drop both premiered. This video was put together to explain more of the project.
Science Communication Workshops
With the Center for Communicating Science at Virginia Tech, I have taught workshops to the following groups on how to use theatrical tools to communicate their relationship more effectively:
- Nature Conservancy – NatureNet Science Fellows Program - October 2019
- Veterinary Medicine Program - September 2019
- Collaboration Incubator - August 2019
- German Fulbright Program - August 2019
- Office of Undergraduate Research - May – July 2019
- Masters of Public Health - April 2019
- Preparing the Future Professoriate - September 2018
- APEX Global Challenge - August 2018
- Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry - May 2018