Scott Magelssen holds a PhD in Theatre History, Theory, and Dramatic Literature from the University of Minnesota, and teaches Theatre History and Performance Studies. His work treats the ways tourism, businesses, and the military use live simulation and performance to create and reinforce meaning for participants. His book Simming: Participatory Performance and the Making of Meaning, will be published this year by University of Michigan Press. He is the author of Living History Museums (2007), and co-editor of Enacting History (2011), Theatre Historiography: Critical Interventions (2010), and Querying Difference in Theatre History (2007).
Scott is the President of Mid-America Theatre Conference, outgoing editor of Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, and Associate Editor of Southern Illinois University Press’s Theater in the Americas book series. He hosts the website theater-historiography.org with Henry Bial, and serves on the editorial boards for Theatre Topics, Theatre History Studies, and Theatre/Practice.
Scott recently took some time to answer a few questions. To hear more, be sure to join us for Scott's lecture on October 15 and help us extend an enthusiastic welcome to the UW School of Drama.
1. What makes you excited about joining the UW and School of Drama?
Ever since I started getting into academic theatre, nearly twenty years ago now, I have admired the UW School of Drama and the rigor and excellence of its programs. The School's faculty and graduate students have always had a high-profile presence at academic conferences with their exciting and innovative research in theatre history and theory. To now be able to join the community and count these fine scholars as my colleagues and students is an amazing thing.
2. Can you tell us about a surprising discovery or experience you’ve had as a result of your research and/or teaching?
What my most recent project has taught me is how many "non-theatre" people use theatre and performance in their every day lives, from performative simulations in job training and research, to the armed services and civil defense volunteers using theatre to prepare for future contingencies, to museums using theatre to remember the past.
3. What one thing about Seattle and/or the UW has made the biggest impression?
Apart from the striking beauty of the Pacific Northwest, and the friendliness of the people around here, I've been really struck by how environmentally conscientious Seattle and the UW are, from earth-friendly packaging, to compost pick-up, to the greening of urban spaces. When I got to the airport, the cab that drove me into town was a Prius!
4. When not teaching, writing or researching, what could one find you doing?
I've enjoyed exploring Seattle and the Puget Sound area with my family: visiting museums, exploring the bike trails and parks, and taking advantage of the rich cultural (and culinary) offerings!