Mid-America Theatre conference honors Florida State professor

Elizabeth Osborne (photo: David Rowell, FSU
School of Theatre

The Mid-America Theatre Conference (MATC) has bestowed its distinguished Robert A. Schanke Research Award for 2010 on Elizabeth Osborne, an assistant professor of Theatre Studies at The Florida State University.

Each year at its annual meeting, held this year in March in Cleveland, Ohio, the MATC presents the competitive, peer-reviewed Schanke Research Award in recognition of excellence in the researching and writing of theater history by a not-yet-tenured professor.

The award is named for the regional organization’s founding member and Fellow.

Along with a cash prize, Osborne will see her winning paper — “Storytelling, Chiggers, and the Bible Belt: The Georgia Experiment as the Public Face of the Federal Theatre Project” — published in the spring 2011 edition of the MATC journal Theatre History Studies.

“Since joining our faculty in 2006, Professor Osborne has been a consistent and valued contributor to the School of Theatre through her high level of work in the classroom,” said FSU School of Theatre Director Cameron Jackson. “Her scholarship and service is of the highest caliber, so it comes as no surprise to us that her national reputation is taking shape and she is being recognized with awards such as this. They are finding out what we have known for some time now, and we are happy to share.”

Armed with a doctorate in Theatre and Performance Studies from the University of Maryland-College Park and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Dramaturgy from Brandeis University, Osborne’s ongoing research is focused on early 20th-century American theater, particularly the Federal Theatre Project; the relationship between theater and its surrounding community; and the intersections of theater, math and science.

In the classroom, Osborne teaches American Theatre History and Literature, Dramaturgy and Play Analysis. In addition, she has transformed the FSU School of Theatre’s largest class, Introduction to Theatre for Non-Majors, into a “hybrid” course that she teaches through a combination of online instruction, podcasts, and small, face-to-face break-out sessions in order to accommodate up to 1,000 students annually.

Osborne has worked in dramaturgy and outreach on numerous professional and university productions, including the Chicago premier of “The Cripple of Inishmaan”; Northlight Theatre’s “Master Class”; and the University of Maryland productions of “Romeo and Juliet” and “Assassins.” She also taught theater and drama to children at The Institute of Reading Development and Creative Kids/Interact Story, and created study and outreach guides for New Repertory Theatre, Northlight Theatre and Brandeis University.

Learn more about the Mid-America Theatre Conference and its Robert A. Schanke Research Award at www.wiu.edu/matc.

For additional information on Florida State’s School of Theatre — part of the university’s College of Visual Arts, Theatre and Dance — go to theatre.fsu.edu.