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UW Drama Shines at the American Society for Theatre Research Conference

Submitted by Courtney D Clark on December 11, 2023 - 11:09am

The University of Washington's School of Drama proudly showcased its vibrant community of faculty, students, and alumni at the recent American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR) annual conference held in Providence, Rhode Island, in November. The event served as a platform for several UW Drama members to share their scholarly contributions and engage in meaningful discussions within the Theatre History and Performance Studies field.

Among those representing UW Drama were esteemed faculty members Jasmine Mahmoud, Scott Magelssen, and Stefka Mihaylova, who brought their expertise and research to the forefront of the conference.

The conference also saw the active involvement of UW Drama's promising Ph.D. students, including Rachael Herren, Maeve Riley, Mona Merhi, Amanda Marie Rogus, and Eric Villiers. These dedicated students showcased their commitment to advancing theatre research and scholarship on a broader stage.

Notably, the conference marked a special recognition for two outstanding undergraduate students, Jamie Stout and Fal Iyoab, who became inaugural members of the American Society for Theatre Research's new Undergraduate Student Working Group. This distinction highlights UW Drama's commitment to fostering emerging talent and providing unique opportunities for undergraduate students to engage with the broader theatre research community.

Fal Iyoab and Jamie Stout presented at the ASTR Undergraduate Student Working Group, sharing their insightful research. Jamie's work, titled "Stay Fresh, Stay Cute, and Stay Aware": TikTok as a Site of Informal Education from the Performance of Young, Black, Femme Content Creators, explores the educational aspects of TikTok content creation. Fal's project, "Familiar Strangers: Black Artists' Haptic and Embodied (Re)turn to Family Photos," delves into the embodied experiences of black artists revisiting family photographs. Additionally, Jamie and Fal had a unique encounter with Lena Waithe at the Carrie Mae Weems exhibit at Brown University during the conference.

In a touching tribute on the Saturday evening of the conference, November 11, the UW School of Drama co-hosted a reception alongside The Ohio State University to honor the late Dr. Tom Postlewait, who played a pivotal role in shaping the careers of numerous students. The reception served as a poignant reminder of the interconnectedness of the theatre community and the lasting impact educators like Dr. Postlewait have on their students.

Furthermore, Jasmine Jamillah Mahmoud received an honorable mention for the ASTR Sally Banes Publication Prize for her work "Walking, Dancing, and the Brace: On Black Performance in Seattle Emerging from the Pandemics" published in Movement Research Performance Journal #56 (Summer 2022).

UW Drama upholds a legacy of scholarly excellence, fostering a dynamic environment where faculty, students, and alumni contribute meaningfully to the rich tapestry of theatre research and practice.