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Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences

Diane Paulus

2017 Lecture on Theatre as a Civic Space

Diane Paulus

Chestnut Hill, MA (December 21, 2016) -- The Boston College Theatre Department is thrilled to announce that Tony Winner Diane Paulus will give a lecture on Wednesday, May 3rd at 7:00pm in Devlin Hall, room 008.

An award-winning director of theater and opera, Diane Paulus is the Artistic Director of the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) at Harvard University, a role she has maintained since 2008. Director of the groundbreaking Tony-nominated musical, Waitress (2016)— the first Broadway show to have an all-female creative team— Paulus’ name has become synonymous with A.R.T.’s mission to “expand the boundaries of theater,” with her innovative directing choices.

While renowned for her vibrant re-imaginings of Pippin (2013), Porgy and Bess (2012), and Hair (2009)— all of which won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical— Paulus isn’t one to shy away from new works. She closed A.R.T.’s 15-16 Season with the world premiere production of In the Body of the World, written and performed by Eve Ensler. In 2014, also at A.R.T., she directed Witness Uganda, a musical inspired by the true story of American aid workers in Eastern Africa. She has also staged cutting-edge, immersive pieces for Club OBERON, A.R.T.’s second stage, with the world premiere production of Prometheus Bound (2011) lauded as a Greek tragedy set to rock music, and the long-running smash hit, The Donkey Show (2009-present), a disco-club theatrical experience inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, conceived by Paulus and her husband, playwright Randy Weiner.

Paulus’ lecture, entitled The Arts & Engaged Citizenship: Theater as a Civic Space, will focus on the arts as a force for social, political, and personal change. She asks, “How does what we’re doing in the theater fit into the issues of our time, the necessity of what it means to be alive? How does what we’re doing engage people as citizens more fully in the world we live in?”

Paulus challenges actors, audiences, and producers alike to re-think what they know as the “normal” theater-going experience. “Diane Paulus is at the forefront of the future of theater in America,” says BC Theatre Department Chair, Crystal Tiala. “Her work breaks away from traditional models of theater, making a fresh and exciting experience for the audience.” In her 2014 TEDx talk Paulus encouraged listeners to “think about theater not just as two hours of traffic on a stage, but also what happens before, during, and after [the show] because that is all a part of the audience’s experience...it is as important as the actual theater event itself.”

As an opera director, Paulus’ A.R.T. credits include the world premiere of Crossing (2015), inspired by the diary Walt Whitman kept as a nurse during the Civil War, composed by the astonishing Matthew Aucoin (b.1990); and the U.S. premiere of Death and the Powers: The Robots’ Opera (2010), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Music. She has also directed several productions with the Chicago Opera Theater, which include The Magic Flute (2011), Don Giovanni (2008), Le Nozze Di Figaro (2005), and Cosi Fan Tutte (2002), among others.

In 2014 Paulus was on Variety’s New York Impact List, and was also named to the 2014 TIME 100, TIME Magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, which honors “people who are using their ideas, their visions, and their actions to transform the world...” In 2013 she won a Tony Award, a Drama Desk Award, and an Outer Critics Circle Award for her direction of the musical, Pippin. In 2012 she received the Drama League’s Founders Award for Excellence in Directing, which honors the best practitioners on and off-Broadway. An alumna of Harvard University (B.A., ‘88) and Columbia University (M.F.A, ‘97SOA), in 2009 she was honored by both schools with Harvard’s Women’s Leadership Award, and Columbia’s I.A.L. Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts.

The May 3rd lecture will be followed by a Q&A with Paulus’ fellow Columbia graduate and this year’s Monan Professor in Theatre Arts, playwright Sheri Wilner. The lecture is free and open to the public, with no RSVP required.